We are thrilled to announce that SJSU/MLML alumna Dr. Edem Mahu was recently awarded a 2020 Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship from the African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society! These prestigious awards provide two years of research funding to outstanding early-career African scientists. Dr. Mahu will use the fellowship support to gauge the impacts of climate change and non-climate stressors on oyster fisheries in the Gulf of Guinea, which sustain impoverished communities in several surrounding countries and are increasingly under threat.
Dr. Mahu first came to MLML in 2010 as a foreign exchange student from the University of Ghana to complete her Master’s degree research with Dr. Kenneth Coale, then Director of MLML. She focused her studies on the potential impact of an oil spill to the sediment microbial activity in Elkhorn Slough. Using oil from the Deep-Water Horizon spill, she combined sediment geochemistry with the fluoroscene diacetate method (recently developed by Dr. Nick Welschmeyer’s lab) to quantify the impact. Dr. Mahu then returned to MLML to conduct her Ph.D. research working with Dr. Coale and Dr. Ivano Aiello. This time she came bearing sediment cores from several estuaries throughout Ghana. With help from researchers at MLML and USGS she age-dated the cores, performed mineral analysis and trace metal concentrations to develop an understanding of sediment provenance (where the sediments came from) in each one of the corresponding watersheds and link the contamination to specific processes. She returned to the University of Ghana and successfully defended her Ph.D. becoming the first marine biogeochemist in Ghana.
Now a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Mahu continues to collaborate and publish with MLML scientists. She was also recently awarded an OWSD Early Career Fellowship from the United Nations' Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World. Through this fellowship, she is developing affordable and easily accessible soil nutrient testing kits to prevent the spread of fertilizers from farmlands into lagoons and other coastal environments in Ghana. Congratulations on your tremendous success, Dr. Mahu!