Richard Dame, Palmetto Professor of Science at Coastal Carolina University, has been awarded a grant by the Scientific Affairs Division of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to organize an Advanced Research Workshop in Nida, Lithuania, in 2003. The theme of the workshop will be the "Comparative Roles of Suspension Feeders in Ecosystems." Suspension feeders are animals that remove suspended particles from aquatic environments and often form dense aggregations that can strongly influence ecosystems.
The co-director for the project is Sergej Olenin of the Coastal Research Planning Institute of Klaipeda University in Lithuania.
The grant supports the gathering of about 35 leading scientists who are actively studying suspension feeders in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments. The participants will be equally divided between representatives from NATO member countries including: Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. NATO partner or Mediterranean Dialogue countries will also be represented. They are: Belarus, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Israel and Jordan.
The scientific objectives of the workshop are to review and compare the ecological consequences of suspension feeders in aquatic ecosystems in North America and Europe and foster better communications between the scientists studying them. It is also hoped that the relationships developed from this workshop will lead to the exchange and training of scientists from partner countries in NATO member countries and the development of joint research projects among the participants.
The grant of approximately $35,000 will fund the workshop and transportation for participants. It will also support the publication of the peer-reviewed proceedings of the workshop by a major international publisher.
Nida, Lithuania, is a resort town on the Baltic Sea coast and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site known an the Curonian Spit.