Grant: $30,900 - National Institutes of Health - Sep. 9, 2009
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Award Description: Our overall goals are to: (1) coordinate investigations of South Pacific organisms as pharmaceutical resources for treating diseases of importance in the Pacific Islands and United States and for novel bioenergy applications (2) support sustainable uses of the biodiversity upon which such bioprospecting depends; and (3) understand the processes degrading coral reef ecosystems and initiate locally-appropriate conservation measures to enhance reef resiliance to both local and global pressures, (4) leverage NIH, University ofthe South Pacific (USP), and other resources to develop the South Pacific Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Drug Discovery (SPCBCDD) into a self-sustaining institution serving the 12 countries that operate USP (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), and (5) develop 'green' culturing of coral reef live rock as an environmentally appropriate and economically viable substiture for the present destructive practices of live rock mining from Fijian reefs. Drug discovery will focus on (1) phylogenetically distinct and chemically rich marine actinomycetes making metabolites that are active in development, and (2) on chemically-rich coral reef macroorganisms that commonly upregulate defensive chemistry in response to attack from natural enemies, simulated attack, or other stresses. Extracts from these organisms will be bioassayed against relevent models including: drug resistant bacteria, fungi, TB, Malaria, psychological disorders, and cancer. Additionally, we will evaluate patterns in tropical reef biodiversity and conduct field experiments to determine the relative impacts of common stresses (e.g., overfishing, nutrification) causing seaweed replacement of corals and precipitating the dramatic loss of biodiversity that is occurring on coral reefs world-wide. Toward this end we will identify the processes and mechanisms involved, elucidate those critical herbivores that control the most aggressive seaweeds, and work with village leaders to develop effective resourse management strategies based on this scientific input. We will also continue developing a web based foundation we have created for funding conservation of Fijian coral reef and mangrove systems. RELEVANCE (See instructions): This project focuses on marine microbes and Fijian coral reef organisms as producers of biologically active secondary metabolites that can be developed as pharmaceuticals to address diseases of peoples of both the U.S. and developing countries, especially in the South Pacific. Additional goals are the conservation of biotic resources on coral reefs and economic development of coastal Fijian villages based on sustainable practices.
Project Description: See award description
Jobs Summary: None (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Sep. 9, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.