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Two Undergraduate LaSSO Research Projects Funded

A Louisiana Sea Grant/Louisiana Space Grant (LSG/LaSPACE) collaboration will fund two undergraduate research projects beginning in September. The joint program, called Louisiana Space and Sea Grant Opportunity (LaSSO), is modeled after similar, long-established undergraduate research programs at both LSG and LaSPACE.

LSG will fund a project that is titled:

Photo: Caleb CavnessExploring the Possibility of Using Bdellovibrio and Like Organisms (BALOs) to Reduce Vibrio Coralliilyticus Associated Disease in Marine Environments at Louisiana State University (LSU). The principal investigator is Aixin Hou, professor and Shell Professor in Oceanography/Wetland Studies in the Department of Environmental Sciences. Caleb Cavness, an applied coastal environmental studies major, is the student researcher.

The project will test the hypothesis that predatory BALOs can be used as a biological preventive as well as control measure for Vibrio coralliilyticus in marine environments – particularly on eastern oyster larvae – and determine its efficacy in reducing larval mortality. The results could help build a foundation for developing novel, environmentally friendly measures to control Vibrio infection in marine environments.

The project funded by LaSPACE is:

Does Post-ecdysial Exoskeletal Calcification in the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, Occur in Vitro? at Nicholls State University. Enmin Zou, an instructor in the Biological Sciences Department is the principal investigator. Hailey Domingue, majoring in biology pre-medicine, is the student researcher.

Each nine-month project will receive $4,000 in funding. LaSSO is directed at science and engineering students who are working on projects in research areas deemed a priority by both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The intent of LaSSO is to supplement and enhance the undergraduate academic curriculum by providing science/engineering students with a hands-on, mentored research experience relevant to space, earth, coastal and/or marine sciences.