The Elisabeth Mann Borgese (EMB) Bursary of the International Ocean Institute (IOI) was established as a means of demonstrating recognition to the host country of the IOI – Malta – for hosting the IOI Headquarters and for providing facilities for staff and offices at the University of Malta’s Msida Campus. The Bursary is financed through the IOI and constitutes a further recognition and acknowledgement of the role of Prof. E. Mann Borgese, founder of IOI, and of her considerable achievements.
The 2022 EMB Bursary is being awarded to Mr Ede Kossári-Tarnik to carry out a preliminary quantitative and qualitive investigation of microplastics sampled from Maltese nearshore waters. The work to be covered by the EMB Bursary shall form part of a Master of Science in Geosciences (by research), under the supervision of Prof Alan Deidun. The study aims to uncover the current extent of the plastic polymer contamination within Maltese coastal waters as well as the degree of variability in the distribution of microplastics within different layers of the water column, according to their density, shape and size. The Bursary shall be used to fund and enhance the current research work by supporting the renting of a boat to carry out fieldworks at additional sampling sites, to hire divers to assist with the sensitive sampling process, to fund the purchase of necessary consumables and for chemical analysis. We also note that all equipment bought with these funds will be available for use at the University of Malta after the research period and recognised as a donation from the IOI.
The 2021 EMB Bursary awarded to Mr Justin Cauchi, a Master’s student with the Department of Biology, has now come to an end after successfully funding research that addressed the gaps in current knowledge by mapping and characterising the subtidal Dendropoma cristatum bioconstructions present along cliff shores. EMB bursary funds were utilized to enhance the research work by supporting the rental of a boat with skipper to carry out fieldwork at cliff sampling sites, to fund the purchase of an underwater housing for a DSLR camera and for genetic studies.
The award ceremony for this year’s Bursary was held on the 30th of September at IOIHQ. Present at the Ceremony were Pro-Rector Professor Joseph Cacciattolo, Professor Louis Cassar, Professor Alan Deidun, Ms Antonella Vassallo (IOI Managing Director), Mr Ede Kossári-Tarnik (EMB2022 awardee) and Mr Justin Cauchi (EMB2021 awardee).