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USF Researchers Win EPA Grants in Extreme Weather Project

More than $2.2 million awarded to examine impact of heat, droughts and storms.

From the University of South Florida:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing $2,238,053 to the University of South Florida and two other universities across the Southeast for research projects examining the impacts of extreme weather on air and water quality.

In addition to USF, recipients include the Georgia Institute of Technology and Mississippi State University.

The grants are part of EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, which supports human health, ecology, economics, and engineering sciences through grants, centers, and fellowships. These STAR grants will support research to improve air and water quality following severe heat waves, droughts, storms and other natural disasters.

The projects are among just 14 selected nationally to receive nearly $9 million to research and develop tools to prepare air and water quality management systems for extreme weather:

At the USF College of Marine Science, Frank Muller-Karger, a professor of Biological Oceanography and Remote Sensing, was awarded $750,000 to develop tools to predict future water quality degradation associated with extreme weather events and a changing climate. The research team, which includes the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, will create a decision-support system integrating real-time environmental and satellite observations for professionals engaged in coastal planning and development.

At USF’s Department of Integrative Biology, Associate Professor Jason Rohr was awarded $374,936  to develop tools to predict how climatic variability and extremes will affect water quality by altering water-borne disease risk for wildlife and humans. Rohr and his colleagues hypothesize that the faster metabolism and smaller size of parasites than their hosts allow them to adapt quickly to temperature shifts and extremes, providing an advantage to parasites. 

The remaining Southeast U.S. awards include:

  • Georgia Tech ($749,859)
  • Mississippi State University ($363,258)

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