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Ocean First Education Awards Grants to Five Early-Career Scientists

Marine science curriculum provider supports scientific explorations to bridge the gap between research and education


Boulder, Colo. – WEBWIRE

“By providing financial support and mentorship to these early-career scientists, Ocean First Education can expand its efforts to better understand the importance of our oceans and contribute to improved education and conservation policies,” said Caine Delacy, Ph.D., Ocean First Education’s director of science and research.

Ocean First Education today announced it has awarded grants to five early-career scientists studying a variety of topics involving marine science and ocean education from Peru to Micronesia. The grants further Ocean First Education’s mission to provide innovative and dynamic, digital marine science curricula for middle school through adult learners.
 
“By providing financial support and mentorship to these early-career scientists, Ocean First Education can expand its efforts to better understand the importance of our oceans and contribute to improved education and conservation policies,” said Caine Delacy, Ph.D., Ocean First Education’s director of science and research.
 
Each grantee received up to $10,000 from Ocean First Education to help fund their research efforts and will receive mentor support throughout the duration of their research projects. As a support partner, Ocean First Education is able to incorporate the latest research on marine life and technology to develop the timeliest and most engaging marine science coursework available today, while also helping educate students about the criticality of our ocean.
 
One grant recipient, Austin Gallagher, Ph.D., is conducting a webinar hosted by Ocean First Education on Friday, March 25, during which he will educate participants about the critical role sharks play in the marine ecosystem. He will also share insights into his cutting-edge research efforts that focus on hammerhead sharks in Japan.  Gallagher was recently named as a Forbes 30 Under 30 in the science category and he founded Beneath the Waves, an organization that conducts research on preserving the environmental health of oceans.
 
To register for this free webinar, visit http://bit.ly/1U2Sl1n.
 
The early-career scientists selected by Ocean First Education are working on a range of diverse projects that include sharks, sea birds and coral reefs:
 

  • Gallagher’s project utilizes powerful telemetry technology and new analytical techniques to monitor and understand the social and spatial patterns of hammerhead sharks in Japan.

 

  • Andrew Thaler is studying how to better integrate low-cost robotic platforms, such as drones and remotely operated vehicles, into marine science and conservation programs in the Chesapeake Bay. Through innovative outreach projects, this program will provide educational experiences for K—12 students by introducing tools and technologies to young scientists interested in exploring STEM careers.

 

  • Kerstin Forsberg is working to better understand how socio-economical, biological and fisheries considerations are critical components of conservation and management. The project is looking specifically at sharks and rays in northern Peru, with particular emphasis on commercially-exploited and poorly studied species.

 

  • Rachael Orben seeks to identify critical foraging areas and prey of red-legged kittiwakes, a sea bird species. Field work is taking place on St. George Island in the southeastern Bering Sea, where 70 to 80 percent of red-legged kittiwakes breed. This is the first time this species is being tracked during the pre-breeding stage.  

 

  • Sonia Rowley is studying twilight reefs, which are 50 meters deep. These are among the greatest unexplored realms on the planet. Twilight reefs host a wealth of opportunity for scientific discovery. This project aims to explore the undescribed twilight reefs of Pakin atoll in Micronesia using advanced, electronically-controlled rebreather technology.

 
For more information about the research projects led by these early-career scientists, visit https://www.oceanfirsteducation.com/research/early-career-scientists or visit Ocean First Education’s blog at https://www.oceanfirsteducation.com/blog where the scientists will post updates on their research efforts.
 
About Ocean First Education
Founded in 2008 and based in Boulder, Colorado, Ocean First Education provides innovative and dynamic online marine science curricula for middle school through adult learners. Our team of educators, scientists and researchers are committed to increasing awareness of marine environments and engaging students through interactive experiences. Ocean First Education is grounded in its mission to inspire our students, teachers and community to become stewards of the sea. For more information, visit www.OceanFirstEducation.com.


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 STEM Education
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 ocean research
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