Mona Behl, pictured at the Founders Garden on UGA's campus

Faces of International Education at UGA: Mona Behl

Mona Behl grew up in a small agricultural town in northern India. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics, she worked as an educator for a few years. Her quest for more knowledge in physical science brought her to the U.S. nearly a decade ago.

“I had never seen the ocean until I went to Florida to earn my doctorate in physical oceanography from Florida State University,” Behl says.

Afterward, Behl worked as a visiting fellow with the American Meteorological Society policy program in Washington, D.C. After completing the fellowship, she directed Texas Sea Grant’s Research Program, where she developed a deep appreciation for the sea grant model.

She currently serves as the associate director of the University of Georgia’s Sea Grant College Program, which is a unique partnership between the federal government, the state of Georgia, and Georgia’s universities to create knowledge, tools and services to benefit the marine environment.

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About Marine Sciences

UGA’s department of Marine Sciences is a partner of Georgia Sea Grant, and the two are housed in the same building on campus. Faculty in Marine Sciences are active in a number of collaborative international projects that are expanding the University of Georgia’s global impact on marine research.

Patricia L. Yager , associate professor, is part of the Amundsen Sea Polynya International Research Project (ASIPRE), where she investigates the effects of melting ice sheets on Arctic and Antarctic coastal ecosystems. Yager’s recent publications from ASPIRE cover topics as diverse as academic researchers partnering with K-12 teachers to enhance student engagement in STEM disciplines, the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide into the oceans, and how dissolved trace metals from glacial meltwaters affect phytoplankton growth around Antarctica.

Meanwhile — in warmer waters along the Spermonde Archipelago in Indonesia — coral reefs serve islanders as a source of livelihood, food, and island protection, and are a rich source of biodiversity. Brian Hopkinson, assistant professor, is working with Indonesian scientist Nita Rukminsari of Hasanuddin University (on a PEER grant) to identify corals in Indonesia that are either highly sensitive or resistant to high temperature and low pH in order to assist conservation efforts in the archipelago.

Hopkinson will travel to Indonesia in April to train researchers on how to run temperature and carbon dioxide stress experiments on corals. The project is funded through USAID via Hasanuddin University, and Hopkinson was asked to join the project as an adviser because of his existing work on the effects of ocean acidification on corals.

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