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Biology Prof Wins National Parks Research Grant

June 21, 2018

Dr. Greg Krukonis of the Angelo State University biology faculty has been awarded a $39,174 grant by the National Park Service (NPS) for a research project that may lead to new methods of preserving wooden structures in national parks and other historic sites.

National Park Service LogoThe grant is being administered through the NPS National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) for Krukonis’s project titled “DNA Characterization of Soil Microbes Associated With Degradation of Borate-treated Wood in Geographic Regions with High Levels of Naturally Occurring Borates.” 

Using the grant funding, and with the aid of two ASU undergraduate students, Krukonis will conduct DNA analysis of soil bacterial and fungal communities in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Preserve to identify the soil microbes responsible for degradation of wooden structures in those parks. He will then develop recommendations for preservation management strategies based on his findings. The two students will participate heavily in all aspects of the research, providing them with an excellent undergraduate research experience. 

NCPTT LogoThe ASU grant is one of eight grants, totaling $252,626, awarded in June through the NCPTT as part of its efforts to create new technologies and training opportunities to preserve historic and cultural resources. Other institutions receiving grants of similar amounts include the University of Arkansas, Catholic University of America, University of Cincinnati and University of New Mexico. 

“Advancements in science and technology have always played an essential role in historic preservation,” said NPS Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “These grants encourage innovation and creativity for researching, sharing knowledge, and preserving historic places and cultural objects that tell the story of our past.” 

"Evolution for Dummies" Book Cover GraphicAn assistant professor of biology, Krukonis joined the ASU faculty in the fall 2017 semester. He is a microbial evolutionary ecologist with a specialization in virus-host interactions and has previous teaching experience at Bucknell University, Gettysburg College and Lewis and Clark College. He has also served as a postdoctoral research associate at Stanford University and Wesleyan University. His research has been published in various scientific journals, including the Journal of Virology and the Journal of Theoretical Biology, and he is the author of “Evolution for Dummies.” He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

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