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UNC-W research team awarded sizable grant seagrass resiliency in coastal ecosystems

A research team at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has been awarded a $400,000 grant to study underwater habitats along the east coast.

Dr. Jessie Jarvis and Dr. Stephanie Kamel at the UNCW Center for Marine Science received the National Estuarine Research Reserve Science Collaborative Grant to study the seagrass necessary for coastal ecosystems to survive.

Climate change has taken a toll on underwater habitats, with large-scale diebacks of seagrass in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. In North Carolina, however, certain types of seagrass have shown to be more resilient to rising water temperatures.

Kamel says observing specific genes could show what makes certain types of seagrass more resilient.

Researchers hope to start sampling seagrass in April and analyze the genetics by this summer.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to