CORVALLIS - The National Sea Grant College Program has awarded $2.6 million to Oregon Sea Grant for the first year of a three-year grant request by the marine research, outreach and education program based at Oregon State University.

The federal grant, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 1998 Congressional appropriation, will be matched by $1.6 million in state of Oregon funds each year. Federal funding for the full three-year period is expected to top $8 million.

About half of the money is passed on in competitive grants to Oregon researchers studying ocean and coastal issues. The rest goes to support Sea Grant extension and public education efforts.

The latest grant marks a change in Sea Grant's research funding strategy. Where, in past years, grant winners were chosen by the program's national office, this year state programs were permitted to select their own grantees, based on program prioritie s and a stringent peer-review process.

"We're still held strictly accountable for the way the money is spent," said Oregon program director Robert Malouf, "but we have more flexibility to respond to local and regional research needs."

To help identify those needs, Oregon Sea Grant convened a Coastal Issues Forum, sought advice from its own lay advisory panel and talked to literally hundreds of scientists, coastal residents and business and agency representatives.

"The result is a program that we are confident will apply sound science and the most effective outreach tools to address important coastal issues," Malouf said.

Individual grants, ranging from $20,000 to $220,000 over the three-year period, will go to study issues ranging from salmon habitat restoration and groundfish stock assessments to water pollution, seafood quality assurance and the economics of ports an d marinas. The 20 research projects chosen for funding involve 50 scientists and at least two-dozen graduate and undergraduate students.

Several projects, chosen as part of Sea Grant's National Strategic Investments effort, focus research on high-priority national issues. Sea Grant's outreach component will support 18 Extension Sea Grant agents and specialists on the coast and at OSU, i ncluding a new groundfish specialist.

The program also received funding to continue producing and distributing books, pamphlets, research reports, radio programs, videos and other educational material, including its World Wide Web site.

Oregon was one of the first states to sign on with the National Sea Grant College Program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Today, Oregon Sea Grant is among the largest of the 29 state Sea Grant programs. The program recently added mana gement of the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center public wing to its responsibilities.

The 1998-2001 Oregon Sea Grant research projects and principal investigators include:

  • Multifaceted drug and agrichemical discovery from marine algae - William H. Gerwick, OSU College of Pharmacy.
  • A delivery system for DNA vaccines for aquaculture - Jo-Ann C. Leong, OSU Department of Microbiology; J. Mark Christensen, OSU College of Pharmacy.
  • Identification of genetically based protective responses against infection by the Myxosporean parasite Ceratomyxa shasta - Jerri L. Bartholomew, John L. Fryer, OSU Department of Microbiology.
  • Recruitment variability in black rockfish: Potential effects of adult age on offspring survival Steven A. Berkeley, OSU-Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station.
  • Determinants of fishing strategies: An empirical study using trawl logbooks - David B. Sampson, OSU-Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station.
  • Bioeconomic analysis of the pink shrimp industry - Gilbert Sylvia, OSU-Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station; R.W. Hannah, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Development of a HACCP-based quality system for albacore tuna and Pacific whiting - Michael T. Morrissey, OSU Seafood Lab; Gilbert Sylvia, OSU-Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station.
  • Protein recovery by adsorption on chitosan-polyanion networks - J. Antonio Torres, OSU Department of Food Science and Technology.
  • Fish sauce: A value-added product from Pacific whiting and an ultimately solution for by-products - Jae W. Park, OSU Seafood Lab; David S. Lundahl, OSU Department of Food Science and Technology.
  • Strengthening community-of-interest networks to extend education to regional communities of place - Flaxen D. L. Conway, Ginny Goblirsch, Jim Bergeron and Jim Waldvogel, OSU-Extension Sea Grant.
  • Rearing by juvenile salmon in recovering wetlands of the Salmon River estuary (regional project) - Daniel L. Bottom, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Charlees L. Simenstad, University of Washington.
  • Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on immune system function in estuarine fishes - Carl B. Schreck, OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Jo-Ann Leong, OSU Department of Microbiology; Martin S. Fitzpatrick, OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
  • Biotechnological methods to distinguish the sources of fecal pollution in estuarine waters - Katherine G. Field, OSU Department of Microbiology.
  • Development of an orinthine decarboxylase assay as a measure of recent growth in Pacific salmonids - Hiram Li and Richard D. Ewing, OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
  • Library outreach and information services in ocean and coastal law - Jon L. Jacobson and Andrea G. Kauffman, University of Oregon Ocean and Coastal Law Center.

Sea Grant's National Strategic Investment projects include:

  • Expression vectors for genetic immunization of fish - Jo-Ann C. Leong and Carol Kim, OSU Department of Microbiology.
  • National Sea Grant Marina Network: Enhancing the economic and environmental sustainability of the marina industry (Oregon component) - Bruce DeYoung, OSU College of Business; Joseph S. Cone, Oregon Sea Grant.
  • Coastal ecosystem restoration pilot project - Patrick Corcoran, Flaxen Conway and Derek Godwin, Extension Sea Grant.
  • West Coast Ballast Water Initiative: An outreach program to improve ballast management (regional project) - Jodi Cassell, University of California Sea Grant; Cynthia Slade, San Francisco Estuary Project; Jay Rasmussen, Oregon Sea Grant.
  • Biological invasions of cold-water coastal ecosystems: Ballast-mediated introductions in Port Valdez/Prince William Sound in Alaska, John W. Chapman, OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Gayle Hansen, OSU Department of Botany and Plant Patholog y.

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Robert Malouf 541-737-3396