Mercury, wetland habitat, aquatic birds and the effects of dike building will all be areas of focus as four scientists split nearly $250,000 in grants to study "unknown aspects" of the Great Salt Lake.

The Utah Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that the Great Salt Lake Technical Team has chosen four out of 18 researchers who submitted proposals from universities, government agencies and private research firms. Drying of the Great Salt Lake and overall ecosystem health are regarded as the most "pressing" topics of research.

Those chosen to have projects funded are: Weber State University's John Cavitt ($75,000), Utah State University's Jeffrey Horsburgh ($67,897), Cadmus Group Inc.'s Tom Mulcahy ($60,000) and U.S. Geological Survey's Dave Naftz ($32,550). Results of their research are expected by June 2009.