HONOLULU — A private foundation is awarding two University of Hawaii scientists $40 million to research microscopic organisms in the ocean.
The award from the Simons Foundation is the largest private foundation gift ever received by the university.
The university said Monday Edward DeLong and David Karl will use the funds to lead the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology.
They will study how microscope organisms control the movement and exchange of energy and nutrients from surface waters to the deep sea.
Microorganisms in the ocean produce oxygen that we breathe. They form the base of the food web for fisheries. They can also degrade human-produced pollutants.
The Simons Foundation is based in New York City. It aims to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.