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Graduate Student Secures Funding to Study Coral Resilience in American Samoa

May 31, 2019

Melissa conducting coral research

Melissa Naugle, a graduate student at CSUMB, was recently awarded two competitive grants to fund her thesis research in American Samoa.

Funding from The Explorers Club (Mamont Scholar Grant), the CSUPERB Travel Grant, and the Myers Oceanographic Trust will be utilized to conduct her research on coral thermal tolerance this summer. Melissa's thesis work specifically focuses on investigating how well corals can tolerate rising sea temperatures and land-based pollutants. She plans to simulate future predicted sea temperatures in American Samoa to measure coral response in polluted regions.

In addition to determining coral thresholds, she hopes to gain a clearer picture of the genetic basis of coral thermotolerance under pollution stress and determine whether there is potential for corals to adapt to environmental changes.

Melissa is looking forward to gaining new skills from her summer research and intends to apply them towards her professional goals of pursuing a career in research, policy, or conservation.

I am passionate about coral conservation and using genomics as a conservation tool. This project allows me to perfectly combine these passions and gain experience in genomics methods while also gaining skills including grant writing, mentorship, coordinating field plans and leadership.

Best of luck with your summer research, Melissa!