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UGA Skidaway Institute Hawaii research resumes

Monday, March 7, 2022 - 1:57pm
By:
Alan Flurry

After a pandemic-induced delay of nearly two years, scientists at the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography have started their 4-year research project to study how dust in the atmosphere is deposited in the ocean and how that affects chemical and biological processes there. The research team of [department of marine sciences faculty] Clifton Buck, Daniel Ohnemus and Christopher Marsay had originally planned to begin collecting aerosol samples in Hawaii in early 2021, but COVID-19 changed all that.

“One of the primary obstacles was the fact that the state of Hawaii was closed down for much of the pandemic, and they weren’t allowing outside visitors without 14-day quarantines,” Buck said. “So, that curtailed any visits for us for obvious reasons, not the least of which was how expensive it would be to sit in a hotel for two weeks doing nothing.”

In December 2021, Buck and Ohnemus got the project moving again with a trip to Hawaii to meet with their research partners at the University of Hawaii and to inspect the Makai Research Pier on the southeast or windward side of Oahu. In mid-January University of Hawaii scientists installed a set of aerosol filters and began collecting dust samples from the atmosphere.

“We’re excited to keep moving forward, and we expect to start receiving samples for chemical analysis later in the spring,” Buck said.

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Image: Clifton Buck (l) and Daniel Ohnemus in front of their collection equipment on the Makai Research Pier.

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