Representing fourteen different institutions and a variety of fields, including microbiology, oceanography, geochemistry, ecology, computational modeling, and engineering, this year's cohort of MMI investigators will use their awards to explore how microscopic organisms at the base of the ocean's food webs interact with each other and their environment. According to the foundation, the research will provide new insights and lead to new questions about the ocean's ecosystems and pressing issues such as climate change.
Since launching MMI in 2004, the Moore Foundation has helped accelerate the rate of discovery in the field of microbial oceanography through its support of DNA sequencing, new sensor technologies, and other activities. "The [initiative] supports exciting research directions that will lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of how microbes interact with one another," said Bonnie Bassler, professor and Howard Hughes investigator in molecular biology at Princeton University and a member of the foundation's science advisory board. "The new MMI investigators are creative scientists proposing risky experiments. Their research areas represent the horizon in twenty-first century microbiology."
"Together, these scientists will challenge the way we think about our oceans," said Vicki Chandler, chief program officer at the Moore Foundation. "Marine microbes make up over 90 percent of the biomass in the ocean, and we know they are critically linked to ocean health and productivity. But even with the advances of the last eight years in understanding who these microbes are, we know little about what they do and how they interact. With these awards, we're helping support and connect scientists from across different disciplines to identify and fill these gaps in existing knowledge."
For a complete list of 2012 investigators, visit the Moore Foundation Web site.