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GLIN==> New NOAA Great Lakes and Human Health Center established


Release no. 04-R522

Contact: Jana Goldman, NOAA Public Affairs, (301) 713-2483			


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with its 
scientific and academic partners, today announced the creation of three 
research centers in Washington, South Carolina, and Michigan. These centers 
will study how humans impact the oceans and Great Lakes and how, in turn, 
those bodies of water can impact human health. NOAA is an agency of the 
U.S. Department of Commerce.

"These centers will start an entirely new approach to ocean research. The 
oceans have a major impact on our daily health and we need to learn a great 
deal more about what ocean pollution is doing to both marine creatures and 
our food supply," said U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina. "I'm 
also convinced we haven't even begun to know the good that can come from 
oceans. One day our oceans will be a major source of new drugs, and these 
new centers will speed that development."

"I am pleased to see NOAA expand its research on the relationship between 
human health and the Great Lakes and oceans," said U.S. Rep. Vernon J. 
Ehlers of Michigan. "I am especially gratified that the Great Lakes 
Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor will focus on issues such as 
harmful algal blooms and water quality in the Great Lakes Basin, which are 
issues that have been a focus of my work in Congress for several years."

"The oceans and the Great Lakes are inextricably linked to the health of 
humans who inhabit both coastal and inland areas," said retired Navy Vice 
Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans 
and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "These centers are the cornerstone 
of NOAA's Oceans and Human Health Initiative and one of the ways we will 
work with our partners to better understand the nature of interactions 
between human health and ocean processes."

Established by Congress in 2003, the Oceans and Human Health Initiative 
includes internal and external peer-reviewed research, a distinguished 
scholars and traineeship program, and the three centers in Seattle, Wash., 
Charleston, S.C., and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Each center will receive just over $2 million for the first year, with 
much of that going to external partners. Total funding for the initiative 
in FY03 and FY04 is $18 million. The remainder of the funding will go to 
the external grants program, the distinguished scholars and traineeship 
programs, internal research, and education and outreach.

Each center will focus on issues such as beach safety, seafood quality, 
coastal pollution, and marine toxins and pathogens. The centers will work 
with each other and the four new research centers established by the 
National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental 
Health Sciences.

The NOAA centers are located at:

The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) in Seattle, Wash., which 
will use a broad-based ecosystem approach to investigate infectious 
diseases, biotoxins, and chemicals that directly impact human health 
through seafood. The center will also study the use of marine organisms as 
sentinel species for potentially harmful pathogens, biotoxins, and 
chemicals present in the ocean environment. Research will help evaluate 
risks and benefits of eating different seafood products, understand how key 
stressors influence human health, and be better able to forecast and 
mitigate threats to human health from contaminated seafood. Key partners 
include the University of Washington, the Marine Mammal Center, Oregon 
State University, Institute for Systems Biology, Washington State 
University, University of California-Davis, and NOAA Fisheries' Alaska 
Fisheries Science Center. Dr. Usha Varanasi, director of the NWFSC, will be 
the center's director.

Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML), Charleston, S.C., will address 
fundamental questions about the quality and safety of our coastal waters 
and the seafood they contain. The center will also develop new 
biotechnological methods to enhance NOAA's ability to identify and 
characterize chemical and microbial threats to marine ecosystems and 
humans. The center's goal is to determine if healthy coastal ecosystems are 
associated with healthy people and healthy economies. HML is operated as a 
partnership among NOAA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology 
(NIST), and three South Carolina institutions, including the S.C. 
Department of Natural Resources, the College of Charleston, and the Medical 
University of South Carolina. Dr. Fred Holland, director of HML, will be 
the center's director.

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Mich., 
will use multidisciplinary research to develop technology for predicting 
the formation of toxic algal blooms, beach closings, and water quality in 
the Great Lakes basin. The goal of the center is to use GLERL's broad 
scientific expertise to significantly reduce threats to human health 
through ecological forecasting, which uses scientific understanding and 
models of climate, weather, circulation patterns, hydrology, land use, and 
biology to predict the location and severity of toxins in the water, beach 
closures, and water quality conditions. Key partners include Michigan State 
University, University of Michigan, Florida Institute of Oceanography, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geologic Survey, and the NOAA 
Beaufort Laboratory. Dr. Stephen Brandt, director of GLERL, will be the 
center's director.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety 
through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events 
and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine 

Michael A. Quigley
Ecologist, Information Services Branch, GLERL
TEL   734 741 2149
FAX  734 741 2003

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