UGA Marine Scientist Earns Major Research Grant

Mary Ann Moran, a University of Georgia marine scientist, has received a grant of more than $3.1 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to continue her studies, according to a Nov. 3 press release.

This is the second major grant that Moran, a distinguished research professor in the marine sciences department of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has received in four years from the foundation. In 2004, she became the first UGA professor to have support from the foundation when she received $2.6 million.

Both grants are part of the Foundation's Marine Microbiology Initiative aimed at attaining new knowledge about microbial communities in the world's oceans.

Moran's research focuses on marine bacteria that are important in the cycling of carbon and sulfur in the coastal ocean. Her research team uses the genomes of cultured marine bacterioplankton to investigate how bacteria influence sulfur emissions, carbon storage, and energy acquisition in marine surface waters and coastal marshes.

The bacteria also influence the flow of sulfur-containing gases between the ocean and atmosphere. This flow provides a key feedback loop in theories of global climate regulation for which biotic processes are central elements.

"The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is unusual in that it actively encourages research that may be risky but has potentially high payoffs," Moran said. "Being able to pursue challenging lines of research without being continually hampered by financial constraints is almost unheard of in the ecological and Earth sciences."