ANACORTES - Western Washington University's Shannon Point Marine Center has received two grants totaling more than $500,000 to buy a new boat and research equipment, according to the university.
The center, which supports WWU's marine science academic programs, received a $162,300 grant to buy a new academic vessel, as well as a $346,000 grant to buy laboratory equipment that can analyze the marine environment at the molecular level.
Both grants are from the National Science Foundation.
The new boat will allow for more field work and will serve as a platform for on-site measurements of water quality, nutrient content and the interaction of organisms in the water. The boat also can be used in studies of algal blooms and ocean acidification.
The equipment grant will pay for a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, which will allow students and faculty to identify natural products in the marine environment with more precision. They'll be able to study the roles of a variety of compounds in marine systems at the molecular level, such as natural products found in seaweeds.