Vetlesen Foundation awards grant to URI oceanographers to aquire equipment for use in global change studies

October 02, 2001

The New York City-based G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation has awarded the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) a $162,000 grant to acquire a GEOTEK Multisensor Core Logger (MSCL) to enhance the institution's global change studies program. The instrument will be used to obtain geophysical measurements on sediment and rock cores taken from deep beneath the ocean floor.

The sediment and rock cores that will be measured by the MSCL are primarily obtained through the Ocean Drilling Program and the International Continental Drilling Program, two of the premier international geoscience research programs. The GSO currently has several faculty members participating in these programs, including John King, Kate Moran, Arthur Spivack, Roger Larson, Steven Carey, Steven D'Hondt, Haraldur Sigurdsson, and David C. Smith. King and Moran are internationally recognized experts in the acquisition, use, and development of core logging systems.

"Understanding and using sediment cores as a climate record is an important contributor to the prediction of the Earth's response to man's imposed climate change," said Moran. "To extract the best information from the sediment core record, precise and accurate measurements of property variations must be made."

"Acquisition of this equipment for URI will allow us to continue and expand our knowledge of sediment records to better understand global change processes that may influence our future, said King."

Core and sediment samples provide scientists with a record of the earth's climate history over thousands to millions of years. For example, King has been collecting cores from Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana, whose sedimentary record is 1.1 million years old. Studies of these sediments will allow him and other researchers to further understand the African drought cycle and the linkage of the tropics to higher latitudes.

Moran is involved in the analysis of cores collected from Saanich inlet, just offshore from British Columbia, that contain an annual record of runoff and ocean history over the past 8,000 years. Her analysis will extend the understanding of El Nino variability and occurrence over this long period of time and link it with the western North American climate.

The Vetlesen Foundation provides support for biological, geophysical, and environmental research, as well as public policy research and libraries. The Graduate School of Oceanography is one of a prestigious group of Vetlesen funding recipients in the field of oceanography, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Lamont-Doherty Geographic Observatory.
The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Ocean Technology Center, and the National Sea Grant Library.

University of Rhode Island

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