Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Awards Grant for UCSC Ocean Scientist Jonathan Zehr
Jun. 26, 2008
Santa Cruz, CA — The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded a four-year, $3.7 million grant to Jonathan Zehr, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The grant funds Zehr's ongoing research as a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigator in marine science. In May, the foundation also provided $4.8 million in new funding for the marine microbiology research facility (MEGAMER) that Zehr oversees.
Both grants are renewals of earlier ones made as part of the Foundation's Marine Microbiology Initiative, which aims to discover important new knowledge about the distribution, function, and ecological role of marine microbes.
"This is a wonderful opportunity and an exciting time for the marine microbiology field," Zehr said. "With new technologies making it possible to sequence the DNA of microorganisms and communities of microorganisms, we are poised to learn some of the fundamental processes that control the habitability of the oceans and the planet itself."
Zehr's research focuses on microorganisms that "fertilize" the oceans by converting nitrogen gas into a form that other organisms can use (a process called nitrogen fixation). His discoveries in this area have implications for understanding the ecology of the open ocean, the cycling of nutrients, and how the oceans might respond to global warming.
In the MEGAMER facility supported by the other grant, Zehr and his collaborators at UCSC and other institutions are focusing on the development of methods and instruments needed for the collection of real-time data in the ocean via remote processing.
About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation and scientific research around the world and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Foundation’s Marine Microbiology Initiative supports discovery and dissemination of scientific findings and technological developments in the fields of marine microbiology and microbial ecology, which contribute to ocean health and productivity. For more information, visit www.moore.org.