Dr. Dodds and Ms. Fisher

K-State Professor Walter Dodds and graduate student Molly Fisher visited Guam last month.

This spring a graduate student and her mentor traded their landlocked lab in the heartland for the sunny island shores of Guam to study coral reefs.

While much is known about how warming waters, diseases, and sedimentation harm corals, less is known about how these critical ecosystems respond to nutrient pollutants like fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment discharge.

Molly Fisher, Kansas State University graduate student, hopes to find out. She spent a month this spring collecting and analyzing coral samples from two beaches in Guam with help from scientists at the University of Guam.

Her mentor, K-State Distinguished Professor Walter Dodds, also made the 7,000-mile trek. He has decades of experience investigating water quality and nutrient cycling, and is using this knowledge to help launch the first academic collaboration between Kansas NSF EPSCoR and Guam NSF EPSCoR.

Both Dr. Dodds and Ms. Fisher have ties to Kansas NSF EPSCoR-funded research.  Dr. Dodds is co-principal investigator for the microbiomes of aquatic, plant, and soil systems (MAPS) project. Before she joined K-State as a graduate student, Ms. Fisher received training from Dr. Dodds as part of the 2019 MAPS Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, which included a trip to Mongolia.

Learn more about their collaboration with the University of Guam.