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Announcing the 2020 Winner of the Undergraduate FlowCam Student Equipment Grant: Maine Maritime Academy

MMA_LeAnn Whitney (left) and Kerry Whittaker (right) on the waterfront at MMA

We are very happy to announce the recipient of this year’s Aquatic FlowCam Research Equipment and Travel grant for undergraduate institutions. This grant provides students and professors with access to a FlowCam at their lab for the fall semester, as well as financial support to present their work involving the FlowCam at a North American conference (remotely, if needed).

This is the first year we have offered this program since 2016, and the very first time we are offering a category exclusively for undergraduate institutions. We received an astonishing 26 applications across both categories and were amazed by the quality of research put forward by each applicant.

The undergraduate award goes to a team of professors from the Corning School of Ocean Studies at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA): Kerry Whittaker, LeAnn Whitney, and Steve Baer (Kerry and LeAnn pictured here). Whittaker and Whitney will be incorporating the FlowCam into their introductory ocean studies course this fall. This is a highly hands-on and immersive introduction to marine science and oceanography for first-year MMA students, where the team will guide students through scientific research practices and introduce concepts of oceanographic data analysis and interpretation. Students will collect data from Penobscot Bay and use the FlowCam to identify and enumerate the most common phytoplankton, protists, and zooplankton under 100um in diameter, including harmful algae species and shellfish larvae. Use of the FlowCam will expose students to high-throughput ecological data and analysis of marine plankton early in their college careers, contributing to their foundational ocean studies education experience and helping prepare them for a diverse array of future careers.

Please join us in congratulating Maine Maritime Academy!

We wish we could offer a FlowCam to all of our applicants, and we were pleased to read comments like these among the 2020 grant submittals:

"Having this platform used in an undergraduate-only environment would be an excellent benefit for these students, many of whom go onto careers in government or private laboratories that may be using these types of platforms." 

A FlowCam would "improve sample analysis time and quality in two senior thesis projects that have lost significant time...due to campus closures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic." 

If you missed this season’s application period, you can read more about the FlowCam grant program on our website, or subscribe to our blog to receive updates about future grant offerings (just fill out the form on this page).

Topics: Marine Research, News and Events, User Spotlight, Aquatic Research