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Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education

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Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE)  (University of Hawaii)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) was designed to facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of the diverse assemblages of microorganisms in the sea, ranging from the genetic basis of marine microbial biogeochemistry including the metabolic regulation and environmental controls of gene expression, to the processes that underpin the fluxes of carbon, related bioelements and energy in the marine environment. Stated holistically, C-MORE‘s primary mission is: Linking Genomes to Biomes.

C-MORE’s researchers believe that the time is right to address several major, long-standing questions in microbial oceanography. Recent advances in the application of molecular techniques have provided an unprecedented view of the structure, diversity and possible function of sea microbes. By combining these and other novel approaches with more well-established techniques in microbiology, oceanography and ecology, it may be possible to develop a meaningful predictive understanding of the ocean with respect to energy transduction, carbon sequestration, bioelement cycling and the probable response of marine ecosystems to global environmental variability and climate change. The strength of C-MORE resides in the synergy created by bringing together experts who traditionally have not worked together and this, in turn, will facilitate the creation and dissemination of new knowledge on the role of marine microbes in global habitability.

Education & Outreach

C-MORE will design and conduct novel research, broker partnerships, increase diversity of human resources, implement education and outreach programs, and utilize comprehensive information about microbial life in the sea. The Center will bring together teams of scientists, educators and community members who otherwise do not have an opportunity to communicate, collaborate or design creative solutions to long-term ecosystem scale problems. C-MORE’s education programs will focus on pre-college curriculum enhancements, in-service teacher training and formal undergraduate/graduate and post-doctoral programs to prepare the next generation of microbial oceanographers. The Center will establish and maintain creative outreach programs to help diffuse the new knowledge gained into society at large including policymakers.

C-MORE’s Kids’ Korner is where kids learn about the tiniest creatures imaginable. Visitors are encouraged to discover their microbe personality, win a prize while testing their Microbial Oceanography IQ, challenge themselves with the word search game, and connect with Whyville, a virtual community where kids play games to learn about microbes. Ocean FEST (Families Exploring Science Together) puts science in the hands of Hawaii’s students and their families. For K-12 teachers, C-MORE offers the Science Teachers Aboard Research Ships (STARS) experience. Teachers can also apply for a Grant for Education in Microbial Science (GEMS), borrow a C-MORE Science kit, or play Oceanography Jeopardy. For undergraduate students, the C-MORE Scholars Program is offered during Fall and Spring Semesters, and graduate and post-doctoral scholars can apply for C-MORE EDventure grants.

Throughout its programs, C-MORE strives to increase the number of underrepresented minorities, including Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, pursuing careers in the ocean and earth sciences, and related disciplines.

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  • Distribution of one group (called UCYN-A) of unicellular nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria. Credit: David M. Karl, C-MORE/University of Hawaii
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