Professors Chester Zarnoch and Timothy Hoellein Receive National Science Foundation Grant
A joint proposal by Weissman Natural Sciences professors Tim Hoellein and Chester Zarnoch will be awarded full funding from the National Science Foundation. Natural Sciences chair John Wahlert says, “This was a first submission – these are usually turned down with lots of recommendations for revision.”
The professors “will study the effect of oysters on nitrogen cycling in Jamaica Bay," Dr. Wahlert explains. “A large wastewater treatment plant releases huge quantities of nitrogen-rich water into the bay. This causes an algal bloom, which can have a toxic effect unless bivalves (oysters, clams, mussels) are present to filter out (eat) the algae. The nitrogen ends up as bivalve feces in the sediment; bacteria convert the nitrates to free nitrogen that goes back into the air and is no longer a pollutant.”
Professor Wahlert went on to say, “I think the strength of the proposal is the combination of Chester's expertise in oyster physiology and Tim's in measuring environmental nitrogen.”
Professor Hoellein expects the funding will pave the way for other funding and create many research opportunities for Weissman students.