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The University of Georgia Marine Institute

The University of Georgia Marine Institute was established in 1953 to serve as a research facility for resident and campus-based faculty and students.  Its original objective was to study the productivity of the nearby coastal waters and marshes, and in the years since its establishment the Marine Institute has compiled an extensive database on salt marsh-estuarine ecology.  Most of the research has dealt with the functional ecology of salt marsh ecosystems, although there has been extensive related research on the geology of barrier islands and adjacent estuarine environments, the biochemistry of bioluminescence and taxonomy.  The ecological research has dealt with several general topics: estuarine hydrography; the detritus food chain; primary productivity; nutrient cycling; energy and carbon flow phenomena; microbial ecology; outwelling of materials and nutrients to the nearshore; utilization of the intertidal marsh by various organisms for refuge, feeding and reproduction; effects of interactions among marsh macrofauna on community and population structure; and the role of fungi in decomposition of organic matter in the marsh.  Much of this research has taken place within the SINERR.  Marine Institute faculty receive funding for their research from the University of Georgia, the Sapelo Island Foundation and a number of federal agencies including National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant and National Estuarine Research Reserve Programs, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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