FAU Harbor Branch Researchers Receive First FAU Research Cores Internal Pilot (RCIP) Grantby Bethany Alex | Monday, Jun 13, 2022
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute recently received the first FAU Research Cores Internal Pilot (RCIP) Grant to support water sample nutrient analysis project with FAU’s Research Cores Water Analysis Lab (WAL) facility. The awarded funding will be used by researchers Megan Davis, Ph.D., research professor; Paul Wills, Ph.D., research professor and associate director for research; and Jordon Beckler, Ph.D., assistant research professor, to further investigate optimal growing conditions for various species of the halophyte ‘salt-loving’ plant, also known as sea vegetables, for the purpose of applying the findings to commercial growth, harvest and sale of sea vegetables for human consumption.
“Sea vegetables are mineral-rich plants and make a great addition to our diets,” said Davis. “When cooking with these sea vegetables, there is no need to add salt since natural salts are available. Our sea vegetable plants flourish on the nutrients provided by the fish in the aquaculture system. This grant opportunity gives the research team the means to measure nutrient levels associated with optimal growth patterns of the plants, a critical step in implementing the most sustainable processes for commercial growth and harvest of sea vegetable species.”
Water sample nutrient analysis researchers were awarded $5,000 and will be using FAU’s WAL facility to measure the water chemical compositions and nutrient concentrations in water samples taken from sea vegetable tanks in the Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture system (IMTA) at Harbor Branch. Water samples will be collected and analyzed before and after sea vegetable reservoir water changes – which is set to occur weekly – and daily during the week-long period. The concentrations observed will provide insight into the microbial processes and nutrient cycling yielding optimal growth of the plants.
The newly established RCIP grant program exists to provide investigators access to FAU Research Core services for research projects that have potential to obtain external and competitive grant programs targeted to the subject matter. The pilot awards are offered to FAU researchers in sums of $500 to $5,000 for use at any of the current FAU Research Core facilities. To learn more, visit www.fau.edu/research-admin/cores/.