DARIEN — Congressman Jack Kingston, R-Ga., announced last week that the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute on Sapelo Island will receive a grant for more than $100,000. The funding, which comes from the National Science Foundation, will be used to replace the institute’s outdated communications equipment.
The Marine Institute, founded in 1953, has been a center of near shore ecological research on salt-marsh dominated coastal ecosystems since its inception. UGAMI supports ongoing research by resident and visiting researchers in a range of disciplines, and also provides access and facilities for college classes to experience field research on the Georgia coast.
"The work being done by UGA on Sapelo is important to better understand our unique coastal environment," Kingston said. "With these funds, the scientists there can share their findings and educate students across our state and across the world."
The outdated communications system in place frequently becomes overloaded and limits the ability of researchers to communicate with students and other scientists on the mainland. It will be replaced by a microwave transmitter that will increase communications capacity both on and off the island and broaden the spectrum of remote classroom conferencing, increasing efficiency and productivity.
"We are so thankful that the project is underway," said Dr. William Miller, associate director of UGA’s School of Marine Programs. "We would love to have it tomorrow but are waiting on negotiations between the University and DarienTel, which will install the tower on the mainland."
The Marine Institute is a unit of the University of Georgia’s School of Marine Programs. Its facilities are available for use by graduate students who have completed their formal classroom studies at an accredited college or university and want to pursue their degree requirement research in estuarine or marine ecological studies.
Miller estimates the new communications equipment will be operational in about a year.