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Woods Hole gets $5.2M to research marine microbes

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FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says it's been awarded $5.2 million this year to support research on a critical component of ocean health — marine microbes.

The money from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is helping fund three projects that aim to promote better understanding of an abundant organism with a complex but largely unknown role in the ocean ecosystem.

The institution notes there are more microbes in a bucket of seawater than there are people on Earth. The creatures are responsible for chemical reactions that drive the planet's marine biogeochemical cycles. But it's unclear why or how groups of microbes interact and the consequences of those actions.

The research at Woods Hole on Cape Cod aims to develop a basic understanding of how the microbes contribute to ocean health and productivity.

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