As red tide sits off the southwest Florida coast, researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota have learned a 5-year grant to study the algal bloom WILL NOT be renewed.
The 7-million dollar grant—from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences—funded the large project—led by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Other research partners included the University of Miami and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mote’s Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick had hoped recent recommendations—from her scientific peers—to continue funding— would have resulted in a different outcome.
“Unfortunately then it went to the agency to decide, and the director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences felt like we missed the bar just a little bit to merit another 5 years of funding.”
Dr. Kirkpatrick says research dollars are becoming harder and harder to come by. The multi-part study looks at red tide toxins, and how they affect people and animals. Dr. Kirkpatrick says the non-renewal will mean stopping most of the research…although one aspect will continue.
“The Florida Department of Health is going to provide me here at Mote Marine Lab some bridge money to keep the asthmatic group on the beach that have been coming out for the last couple years – keep those studies going, because they understand that it’s critical that we follow the same people over time, and we don’t want to lose that group of folks. But all the lab studies, all the animal studies, are going to be put on hold until we can get this thing refunded.”
Dr. Kirkpatrick says Mote will re-apply for another 5-year grant in October.
Friday, 26 August 2005 01:00