Title: UWI today
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Title: UWI today
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Language: English
Publisher: UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Place of Publication: St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Publication Date: February 28, 2010
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UWI
ST. AUGUSTINE
CAMPUS


UWI TODAA
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES ST. AUGUSTINE CAMPUS

SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


They aren't normally packaged quite as eclectically
as Professor Stephon Alexander, an associate
professor of physics at Haverford College. The
man from Moruga has brought a distinctly Trini
flamboyance to theoretical physics. Although he is
a serious researcher, who has gained international
recognition for his work-the young scientist has
been named a National Geographic Emerging
Explorer and has won the National Science
Foundation CAREER award, and just days ago,
was invited to deliver the annual John Wesley
Powell Memorial Lecture Keynote address for
the American Association for the Advancement
of Science-Professor Alexander has applied a
musical premise to sound out his theories on how
galaxies were formed.

Trini Physicist looks

to the stars to find a

theory ofsound

We feature him today as one of our outstanding
Caribbean offspring, as we pay tribute to another
who has departed this life: Professor Emeritus
Rex Nettleford, whose achievements can scarcely
be listed in one space, so vast, varied and
monumental they are. Indeed, the region has
heard many voices lifted in his praise, voices that
have emanated from such disparate quarters, that
that alone conveys the wide stretch that he covered
in his extraordinary life.


CAMPUS NEWS- 3
Mentoringfor Students
* World of Work
-I -I I I-


INNOVATION -4
They Change their Shape
* Magic Pumpkins M&


LITERATURE WEEK 12
5 Days in the
Writers World
* Guest:
NojiiKl, Iihp I ,,r






Page
Missing
or
Unavailable






SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 3


Catherine Gordon, image consultant at the WOW Seminar.



UWI WOW 2010

SEMINAR A HUGE HIT!


If you enjoy what you do, you will never
have to work a day in your life. This was
one central message from Derek Chin,
Executive Chairman of MovieTowne,
who delivered a presentation titled "An
Adventure in Entrepreneurship: My
Story" at The University of the West
Indies' (UWI) annual World of Work
(WOW 2010) Seminar.
The WOW 2010 Seminar, which
was held at the UWI Sport and Physical
Education Centre on Saturday 6th February,
2010, was sponsored by Republic Bank
Limited and held in conjunction with
the Trinidad and Tobago chapter of
The UWI Alumni Association. Based
on the theme of entrepreneurship, Chin's
presentation challenged students to
become "independent thinkers" and learn
how to manage risk strategically. Using
principles from his own life story, he
gave students valuable personal insights
into the entrepreneurial mindset and the
hurdles that can arise in the local business
context.
More advice would come from
Giselle La Ronde-West, Corporate
Communications Manager, Angostura
Limited, who shared personal grooming
tips with the UWI 1200-plus final-year
students in attendance. In an interactive
presentation titled "Dressing for Success",
La Ronde-West advised the emerging
graduates to maintain a professional look
throughout the job interview process.
La Ronde-West gave tips that spanned
the gamut from advice about the length of
skirts to reminders about matching belts
with socks and shoes. Accessorising for


the job interview? Eyeing that chunky
jewellery? Forget about it, and stay away
from glittery clothing too, she said.
While emphasising the importance of
making a powerful first impression,
she also encouraged the WOW 2010
participants to stay true to the promise of
professionalism demonstrated by a sharp
outfit in the interview.
Designed to equip final year UWI
students with some of the necessary tools
for long-term success in the globalised
work environment, WOW is an annual
programme with several components,
each of which is intended to develop
a targeted skill set. The programme
has become one of the most highly
anticipated events on the University
calendar.
WOW 2010 started on February
4th with an Interview Preparation and
Resume Writing Workshop designed
to teach participants how to prepare
competitive resumes for the global
job market. The programme resumed
after the Carnival period with Mock
Interview sessions on February 27th and
one scheduled for March 6th, allowing
each student to hone their interview
skills with real business professionals.
The programme culminates in a
Recruitment Fair on March 11th and
12th, where UWI students can meet with
prospective employers from a variety of
industries across the Caribbean region.
The Recruitment Fair will take place
over two days with one day open to
all returning students and the other
restricted to final-year students.


Interested companies are asked to contact
UWI Office of Student Services at (868) 662 2002 Ext. 2360.


THE ST. AUGUSTINE CAMPUS

Fifty and Forging Ahead

SIn just under two weeks, on March 12, the St
Augustine Campus of The University of the
West Indies will launch its 50th anniversary
R ) celebrations. These celebrations are planned
to encompass a year, marked by a special
week of activities from October 10-15, to
commemorate the formal merger between
SLI the University College of the West Indies
(UCWI) and the Imperial College of Tropical
Agriculture (ICTA) on October 12, 1960.
At the launch, the building that has become the iconic symbol of
the UWI St. Augustine Campus, the Administration Building, will be
rededicated. The Admin Building, as it is fondly called, has undergone
a significant makeover to bring it in line with ergonomic design, but
its exterior has not been changed, save for the colours that convey a
distinctive Caribbean warmth-quite removed from the cool off-white
shade it carried since it was completed in 1935.
Then, it had been designed as the home for ICTA, and was meant
to be the primary training centre in the British Empire for all things
related to tropical agriculture. In 1960, when the UCWI took over the
St Augustine Campus, ICTA became our Faculty of Agriculture, and
with the subsequent establishment of the Faculty of Engineering, the
process of building this Campus into the Caribbean institution it is
now, began in earnest.
Fifty years on, thousands of our graduates have emerged as leaders
and professionals in countless fields in Trinidad and Tobago, the wider
Caribbean and across the globe. The distinctive UWI graduates we
produce are our ambassadors of academic quality, excellence and
service, values that define our institution and the UWI brand we
cherish.
In contributing to the development of our country and region, the
St. Augustine Campus has also been shaped and nurtured by society
and the people we serve.
As an academic institution proud of its history, traditions and
recognition, we can rightfully celebrate this significant milestone.




CLEMENT K. SANKAT
Pro Vice Chancellor & Principal



EDITORS* L


CAMPUS PRINCIPAL
Professor Clement Sankat

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mrs. Dawn Marie De Four-Gill

EDITOR
Ms. Vaneisa Baksh

CONTACT US
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002, exts. 2013. 2014
Or email: uwitoday@sta.uwi.edu






4 UWI TODAY SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


BY PROFESSOR PATHMANATHAN UMAHARAN


When square watermelons
hit the market some years
ago, it caused a stir. The
novel pumpkins were
re-shaped for packaging
purposes-many more
could fit into boxes-which
reduced production costs.
Not to be outdone, local
researchers at the Central
Experimental Station,
Ministry of Agriculture,
Land and Marine Resources
(MALMR) have developed
a pumpkin variety that
PATHMANATHAN bears uniform 20-25 pound
UMAHARAN fruits, globular in shape,
is Professor of Genetics but flattened at both ends;
at The University of the and attractively coloured
West Indies brilliant peach to orange
when ripe.
Unlike the square watermelons, which were obtained
by meticulously placing each fruit into a square plastic box
(a time-consuming task) and allowing them to grow within
the confined space, these pumpkins' shape and size were
developed through genetic manipulation.


It's hip to be square: reshaped watermelon.


"This allows pumpkins to be readily packaged into the
packaging bags and boxes used for export," said Albada
Beekham, the researcher who headed the pumpkin breeding
programme at MALMR. "The flattened top and base allows
the uniformly sized pumpkins to sit snugly on top of each
other in a cylindrical bag."
At the research seminar series of The UWI's Faculty
of Science and Agriculture in early December 2009, she
explained that the work was prompted by a market study
that showed the large variability in size, shape and colour
within local pumpkins was a major deterrent to international
marketing.
"Breeding was the most practical way of solving the
problem," she said. The breeding of the new variety has
been a long and arduous journey, particularly in a crop
such as pumpkin, which needs considerable space to plant
the large number of progeny plants, but it has been worth
the effort.
"It will not only add value to the product, but also
reduce shipping costs," said Beekham. "All of this has been
achieved without compromising the yield or quality."
The area under which pumpkin is grown in Trinidad
and Tobago has fluctuated between 600 to 1500 ha during
the past decade, with the production volume varying
from 2-5 million kg, according to figures from the Central
Statistical Office. Most of the pumpkin produced is exported.
The export volume during the past decade has fluctuated
between 1-4 million kg, bringing in revenue of TT$ 8-15
million. Most of the pumpkin is exported to the USA,
according to NAMDEVCO.
The local pumpkin belongs to a species called Cucurbita
moschata L. moschataa pumpkin), which is distinct from
the North American pumpkin, which belongs to a species
Cucurbita maxima L. Moschata pumpkin is believed to have
originated in Columbia and has a distribution spanning
Venezuela, the Guianas and the Caribbean. Despite the
considerable variability for the species within the Caribbean,
moschata pumpkins have largely remained unexploited.
"Moschata pumpkins show considerable variability
from "the warty Crappo-back to the smooth types; the
heavily grooved to non-grooved; the round shaped to acorn,
flat or elongated; the peach-coloured to yellow, orange, black
or blotchy and small through to extremely large. There is
also variation in internal texture, fibrousness, sweetness,
colour and smoothness upon cooking, etc," said Beekham.


Pumpkins usually come in all colours, shapes, sizes.


The new pumpkins are uniform in size and shape and flat at the ends.


"Breeding is about capturing the variability to fashion new
varieties."
As to the future of the pumpkin variety, Beekham, is
very optimistic. She hopes that MALMR will soon apply for
variety protection under the Plant Variety Protection Act,
which will give it exclusive rights to produce and market the
variety or to license the variety to a third party to produce
and market.
"The MALMR can possibly commercialize the variety
in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond," she concluded.
The MALMR's efforts to continue important
developmental work despite the odds, need encouragement
and support. More importantly, these are innovations based
on which sustainable industries can be built, and should
be taken seriously. Often as a nation, we look for illusive
Nobel prize-winning discoveries, while ignoring the small
innovations that are taking place all around us. As one of
our calypsonians put it: "the journey now start."
The ball is now in the court of the Ministry of
Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources to take this
innovation to the market.






SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 5


ENGINEERS FORM ACCREDITATION COUNCIL


Several years ago there was a move by the Caribbean
engineering fraternity to establish an engineering
accreditation agency. A lot of groundwork was done
through a project funded by the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) and executed by the Jamaica
Institution of Engineers (JIE) and the Professional Engineers
Registration Board (PERB), in which the Council of
Caribbean Engineering Organizations (CCEO) was involved
in the context of regionalizing the accreditation issue.
Finally, at a meeting in Puerto Rico on November 26,
2009, the Caribbean Accreditation Council for Engineering
and Technology (CACET) was officially established.
CACET's main function is to accredit English-language
baccalaureate and master-level academic programmes
in engineering and engineering technology offered by
institutions in the Caribbean. The meeting in Puerto Rico
approved CACET's Charter and Operations Manual and
its Accreditation Manual. Thirty prospective programme
evaluators and team chairs also participated in a training
workshop facilitated by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and
Electronic Engineers) volunteers Moshe Kam and Pramod
Abichandani. CACET has been established with financial
and technical support from the IEEE Educational Activities
Board and it is envisaged that fees from accreditation
activities will largely cover its operational costs.
The establishment ofCACET is a significant development
in the field of engineering in this region and it augers well
for the future ofspecialised accreditation in the Caribbean.
CACET will collaborate with existing national and regional
accrediting bodies within CARICOM to ensure that there
is harmonisation and sharing of information and resources
to the benefit of the community. CACET will develop a
portfolio of accreditation activities so that within five years,
it can become a member of the Washington Accord. This
would ensure that all programmes accredited by CACET


Prof Chandrabhan Sharma


would have mutual recognition by Washington Accord
member countries.
The CACET declaration must nowbe formally adopted/
ratified by CARICOM and the funding mechanism for
its operation be agreed to. In the interim, CACET will be
located in the offices of the Association of Professional
Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT).


CACET's main function is to accredit English-language baccalaureate
and master-level academic programmes in engineering and engineering
technology offered by institutions in the Caribbean


* THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PROFESSOR CHANDRABHAN SHARMA
President
(Deputy Dean-Undergraduate Studies,
Faculty of Engineering, UWI, St Augustine)

PROFESSOR GOSSETT OLIVER
President-Elect
(Vice President, Research, Graduate Studies and
Entrepreneurship, University of .. I ...I ... Jamaica)

DR RUBY S. ALLEYNE
Vice-President, Accreditation Activities
(Vice-President, Quality Assurance- Institutional
Advancement, The University of Trinidad and Tobago)

JANET PETERS
Treasurer
(General Manager, Public Services Credit Union,
Trinidad and Tobago)

HANNAH WEI-MUDDEEN
Secretary
(President, Association of Professional Engineers
of Trinidad and Tobago)

Other members of the Board are:
Tony Gibbs (Barbados); Trevor Browne
(Barbados); Maxwell Jackson (Guyana); Melvyn
Sankies (Guyana); and Joseph Aryee (Jamaica),
Valda Alleyne, President of CANQATE and
Moshe Kam of the Educational Activities Board
of IEEE.

Justice Anthony Lucky, retired Justice of Appeal
and Judge of the International Tribunal on the
Law of the Sea was appointed Ombudsman for
the Council.






6 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


BY SERAH ACHAM


Although he was christened Ralston, it is no surprise that
the world came to call him Rex-the king-seeing in his
regal bearing and outlook that this man was never destined
to anything but leadership at the most profound level. As
tributes poured in at the news of his passing earlier this
month, the range of adjectives and titles bestowed upon
him was so expansive that if a Caribbean person had never
(unforgivably) heard of him, it would have seemed that
there had been many Rex Nettlefords in our midst. The titles
vied to fully express his stature-Quintessential Caribbean
Man, Renaissance Man, Maximum Son, Cultural Luminary,
Cultural Icon-and though they were varied, they settled on
one point of commonality: the superlative. For that was the
only way to measure the extraordinary creature who graced
us for 77 years: The University of the West Indies' former
Vice Chancellor Emeritus, the late Professor the Honourable
Ralston 'Rex' Nettleford.
Though records are rife with venerations for him and
his work, none speak so eloquently as his own words.


"I take this

opportunity
to appeal to
my university
colleagues to
double their

efforts, work harder than many of us
admittedly now tend to do, to bring
to our students (the next generation)

the caring and compassion which a
true centre of learning must afford
its wards, and foster the sense

and sensibility that will have the
region fully prepared to engage the
globalised challenges no one of us
can handle on one's own."

Professor Emeritus Rex Nettleford


On Friday 29th April, 2009, Professor Nettleford
received the Chancellor's Award from The UWI, at the St
Augustine Campus, and he expressed the sentiment that
ruled his life's work.
He believed that The UWI was responsible for the
growth and development of the Caribbean region, "for,' he
stressed, "a university is not a trade school. The preparation
to make a living is paramount. But no less so is the
preparation for life ... Study and experience have taught us
that development begins with people, with a release of the
creative potential in an individual or society"
Professor Nettleford's writings, speeches and interviews
show that his main concern was with the development of
the Caribbean by educating its youth, particularly through
fostering creativity.
He understood the Caribbean's value and stressed
that, as a people, we should abandon feelings of hostility
stemming from slavery and colonialism, embrace the culture
that it has brought us and show the world the great entity
that we have become in spite of our historical struggles.
"We have actually learned to live together, rather than
live side by side:' he said in an interview with Gayelle The
Channel's Judith Laird, in 2009, when he visited Trinidad
and Tobago to take part in the Commonwealth People's
Forum. "We are part African, part European, part Asian,
part Native American but totally Caribbean ... I think that
this is a challenging locale for the Commonwealth Heads of
Government to see how people can live peacefully." Thus, the
typical West Indian, he said "is a textured animal, which is
what the global world must be about in the 21st century"
He believed that the key to demonstrating the
Caribbean's worth to the world, was in the region's youth
and education and his 50-year commitment to The UWI,
is that testament. A teacher first, Professor Nettleford never
relinquished this post as he ascended the academic hierarchy
to become Vice Chancellor of The UWI. Always committed
to students, he sought to nurture creativity and show them
the compassion he felt necessary to foster a stimulating
learning environment.
In a 2006 interview with David Scott, Editor of the
Caribbean journal Small Axe, he warned against his "beloved
UWI," becoming "a degree factory" which simply graduated
students without offering them a space where "learning is
treasured, where in fact, free discourse is encouraged'. "This
place should be preparing its graduates to cope with the
texture and diversity of human existence," he said.
At the Chancellor's Award, he continued in this vein,
saying that "the real resources of our regional university lie
in the people who teach, conduct research and reach out to
the wider society which it was set up to serve.
He urged fellow professors to "double their efforts,
work harder than many of us admittedly now tend to do, to
bring to our students (the next generation) the caring and
compassion which a true centre of learning must afford its
wards, and foster the sense and sensibility that will have the
region fully prepared to engage the globalised challenges no
one of us can handle on one's own."
Remaining true to his word, Professor Nettleford
continued his labour of love for his beloved UWI until his
dying day, spending his last hours in service to the University
as he prepared to leave Washington, DC, to attend its fund-
raising gala in New York. Those who know him believe it is
the way he would have wanted to go.
Long live his memory.


He believed that the key to demonstrating the Caribbean's worth to the world, was in the

region's youth and education and his 50-year commitment to The UWI, is that testament.




SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 7


PROFESSOR
EMERITUS
REX NETTLEFORD






8 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


BY VANEISA BAKSH


Night after night, Stephon scanned the sky, dreading yet
hoping to get a glimpse of Miss Coker flying by. He lived in
the village of Basse Terre in the fishing district of Moruga
on the southern end of the island, a rural community still
unspoilt by city lights and pollution, and perfect for star-
gazing. Though he would later discover that Mayaro, just
around the corner facing east, offered a uniquely unfiltered
natural observatory, the six-year-old was more intrigued by
the prospect of seeing Miss Coker in her soucouyant form
as a ball of fire than any twinkling constellation.
All that changed when two years later his family
migrated from Trinidad to New York City in the USA.
Stephon carried his terror of soucouyants with him, but
discovered that the Bronx skyline offered no galactic views
to fuel his imagination, so he had to create a whole new
universe. Old monsters were left behind as new adventures
came.
He got hooked on video games and comic books,
immersing himself in the world of the imagination, walking
neighbourhood streets, listening to guys on the school bus
battle it out with their rap and hip-hop, and taking piano
lessons to keep it real. His father, Keith, was a computer
technician and one day he brought home a second-hand
computer (a Commodore), and Stephon, ever the adventurer,
began designing programmes to enhance his video games.
One thing led to another; in a library seeking information,
he discovered the words: Quantum Mechanics. It opened
the portal to the physics universe and took him to hitherto
unimaginable places. Stephon was a ball of fire.
He did a BSc and a PhD in Physics and then did
postdoctoral research at the Imperial College in London,
at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Institute
for Theoretical Physics at Stanford University.
As a theoretical physicist, his research has primarily
been to help understand large issues such as the nature
of dark energy, the origin of matter over anti-matter and
neutrino masses, for instance. He's probed the Big Bang
extensively, including a project that seeks to stimulate the
moments right after it occurred, using a particle accelerator
called the Large Hadron Collider. Essentially, this LHC is


on a quest to find the Higgs particle that will theoretically
complete the standard model (a theory that unifies the
forces, except gravity). It must be the Eureka moment for
physicists, though it might end some research careers.
In all its complexity, it is fascinating to try to grasp
the concept that without Higgs there'd be no explanation
for mass movement, and all substance would travel at the
speed of light. To the untrained mind, it can either mean
nothing, or too much.
Fortunately, Stephon is a natural performer, so when
he explains what he is about, he communicates in simple,
graphic terms but with such a high degree of intensity and
passion that one is swept along. And it helps that he plays
the saxophone to illustrate his theories.
It is because of his highly entertaining presentations
that Professor Stephon Alexander was asked to lecture at
the 31st International School for Young Astronomers (ISYA)
which was hosted by the Physics Department of The UWI
in December 2009. Head of the Physics Department and
co-chair of ISYA 2009, the indefatigable Dr Shirin Haque-
Copilah said that because they particularly wanted to get
young people excited by the study of physics and astronomy,
they felt Stephon was the perfect choice.
He did not disappoint. From the time he landed at
Piarco International at 1.30am and had his regulation
doubles and Carib, she said, he was like the man at the
speed of light who'd never heard of Peter Higgs and his
particle theories.
At the Daaga Auditorium to deliver his lecture on
Music and Cosmology, Stephon recounted his childhood
relationship with the village soucouyant while his orhni-
clad great aunt waggled her finger delightedly at him and
the incorrigible MC, UWI entomologist, Christopher
Starr explained for the benefit of foreign students that a
soucouyant was a "woman who sucked the happiness out
of you.'
Supporting his presentation with still and moving
images, Stephon took listeners on a voyage through space
and time. Having set the foundation that the universe is
made up of galaxies and empty space, and that cosmology


studies the formation of galaxies and can now do so more
precisely with satellites that take fossil snapshots of the early
universe, Stephon built to the premise that the universe
expanded from a "hot and dense big-bang into the large and
structure-full universe we currently inhabit'.
Explaining it later, he said, "We find the startling
picture that the young universe was permeated, not with
these structures, but a smooth space with radiation energy.
Somehow the radiation cooled as the universe expanded
and waves of the radiation swirled into forming the galaxies
that we are a part of."
His lecture was meant to demonstrate that these "initial
or primordial waves are actually sound waves'. Using John
Coltrane as his musical motif, he invited the audience
to imagine the universe as a giant instrument vibrating
sound, and that its resonance created patterns that made the
galaxies. Obviously his presentation was more complex than
that, but Stephon used the Coltrane connection seamlessly
(a facility he learned at De Witt Clinton High School in NY,
where his Physics teacher was also the music teacher for
their jazz ensemble). According to Stephon, Coltrane, the
ultimate jazzisimo, used "sheets of sound" on the saxophone
(a monophonic instrument) to produce the illusion that


WMAP 5 YEAR ILC
Using a space map from NASA's Cosmic Microwave Radiation space
mission WMAP, Stephon talked about the radiation patterns that fit
into the Big Bang theory, but which he could also translate using the
concept of sound waves to explain the patterns in the satellite data.
(NASA photo)






SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 9


6I *~X 0 0


dph p 0s 0


different notes were sounding at the same time-the concept
of non-linearity. Using a space map from NASA's Cosmic
Microwave Radiation space mission WMAP, Stephon
talked about the radiation patterns that fit into the Big Bang
theory, but which he could also translate using the concept
of sound waves to explain the patterns in the satellite data.
It was a fascinating journey, ending rather sexily at 220 Hz,
the musical note A.
But then Stephon pulled out his saxophone and played
the sounds that he had been speaking, and in that crescendo
one could see how music feeds the abstract nature of his
mind.
Afterwards, a casual poll of the students in the audience
suggested that Stephon's approach had struck the right
chords. Setting up an interview was tricky given conflicting
schedules, but with his departure imminent, we agreed
to talk over dinner at Satchmo's. He was thrilled to find
trumpeter Errol Ince performing, and quickly went over
to pay his respects.
As the evening went by, several things became clear.
Stephon is a musician at heart; not only does he play
regularly with a jazz ensemble, but he produces music (a
recent combination of soca, samba and jazz is called Toco)
and he devotedly explores music to relate it to music theory
and physics.
He seems to spend his time living life like there's no
tomorrow. It makes sense if you are a theoretical physicist
engrossed in matter spanning billions of years.
He engages everything with considerable energy and
focus and his plate is always full. High on his agenda is this
desire-common among people who have travelled long
and complex journeys-to "give something back" to his
homeland.
"One of my main goals in life is to play a key role in
science in Trinidad and Tobago," he says.
His focus is on helping young people to make career
choices, to see possibilities, and to enable them by guiding
them through scholarships to achieve their goals. This was
why he jumped at the ISYA invitation. As a youngster at


high school, his guidance counsellor had warned him that
he would never get into an Ivy League University. He doesn't
explicitly connect the two, but something about his fervour
to empower youth, particularly from "home" carries the
resonance of that incident.
It isn't all talk. More than five years ago he was trying
to set up a collaborative of scientists to encourage a "cross
pollination" of study mainly by and for Caribbean people.
Calling it CARIAS (The Caribbean Institute for Advanced
Studies) he proposed that it serve as a convergence point
for scientists and their work as well as a teaching centre
collaborating with institutions such as The UWI to provide
mentoring and training. It has not yet taken off, but
undaunted, he keeps trying to forge foundational links. He's
hoping to arrange for more lecture exchanges between The
UWI and his affiliates.
If we are serious about developed nation status, he says,
"How will this happen without us doing science on our own
terms, with our style?" The musician in him adds, "like the
way Shadow did his music."
Asked how he goes about trying to help young people,
he says it is in different ways: (I) "directly contact my
colleagues and lobby for talented students, (because) these
colleagues usually have access to their own funding, and
I invite students to visit and give talks so that they can
be exposed. If CARIAS existed then we would institute a
scholarship fund and target prominent scientists to spend
time in Trinidad," he adds optimistically.
He's designed his lectures with a high entertainment
component to attract young minds and he knows the music
gives him a global edge. But simultaneously, there is a heavy
consciousness of the land of his birth and the razor edge
upon which his people often sit and it lends a crusading air
to the confident aura he exudes with such Trini aplomb.
Sitting with him is like being caught in a flurry, and as
we drop him off, he invites us in to hear a song on the sax.
It is past midnight when he puts his horn to his lips and
closes his eyes. Immediately a stillness descends and dark
energy fills the space.


"One of my main goals in life is to play a key role in science in Trinidad and Tobago."


Professor Stephon Alexander uses his saxophone during
many of his lectures to demonstrate his music connections.

STEPHON HAIGH-SOLOMON ALEXANDER is an
associate professor of physics at Haverford College.
He did his BSc at Haverford College and received his
Ph.D.in physics from Brown University in 2000, with a
dissertation titled "Topics at the Interface between
String Theory and Cosmology." From 2000 to 2002,
he held a postdoctoral fellowship from PPARC (the
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
of the United Kingdom). He has won the National
Science Foundation CAREERaward and was elected a
National Geographic Emerging Explorer. His research
has focused primarily on theoretical cosmology at
the interface with particle physics, string theory and
quantum gravity.This has included Baryogenesis,CMB
Physics, Dark Energy/Cosmological Constant Problem,
Topological Defects/Solitons, Non-Perturbative
QFT, Physics Beyond the Standard Model and Dark
Matter.
Earlier this month, he was invited to deliver
the annual John Wesley Powell Memorial Lecture
Keynote address for the AAAS (The American
Association for the Advancement of Science),a nd he
plans to feature Trinidad in it. Previous Powell lecturers
have included Oliver Sacks and Carl Sagan.






Page
Missing
or
Unavailable






SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 11


J.





II






iPARENTS
AND TACHER


The announcement that steps are being taken by the
Minister of Education with the National Parent-Teacher
Association to meet parents and other relevant parties to
discuss current Ministry initiatives to enhance the schooling
process is a very welcome one. This move signifies the belief
that a collaborative effort between the home, community
and school would benefit our students. This belief has long
been held, but the results of a recent research project have
provided some empirical evidence for it.
The study, using data from the 2006 National Test, was
conducted by a consortium of researchers from the School
of Education, UWI, St Augustine, Canada, and the Ministry
of Education. Strong positive relationships were identified
between student perceptions of parental engagement in
school-related activities and student achievement in both
Language Arts and Mathematics at the Standard 3 level.
Not only that, but students who reported higher levels of
teacher engagement and caring, tended to have higher levels
of achievement than students who reported lower levels of
teacher involvement in their learning at school.


It is never too early to get involved in the learning process.


Further, higher levels of adult engagement with student
learning were related to more positive student views of
themselves-they felt more competent and also tended
to have higher levels of achievement. The bottom line is
that adults can have a substantial positive role in a child's
success in school.
We found that both student and parent attitudes and
perceptions predict achievement in both Language Arts
and Mathematics.
Although these findings may not be surprising they
are important, particularly since they focus on student
performance in the early years of schooling in the
foundational domains of Language Arts and Mathematics-
which will have a lasting influence not only in school but
life chances in general.
These results suggest that by knowing something about
a student's self-concept and perceptions of parent and
teacher engagement we can better predict success in school.
This can lead to informed policy initiatives and instructional
enhancements developed and implemented to improve
student achievement and overall school performance. By
knowing about relationships of parent encouragement and
parents' attention to the academic performance of their
children, schools could encourage parents to attend to their
child's reading and other school-related activities, and even
encourage positive parental attitudes towards reading in
general. Through the development of better communication
between schools and parents these attitudes and activities
could be enhanced, leading to improved achievement by
the students.
Given that these findings were obtained for students
at a very early stage in their school career (Standard 3), it is
possible that a significant impact can be made on student
achievement in the long term if attention is paid to the factors
identified above as contributing to student achievement.


Further, enhanced focus on the affective dimensions of
schooling (teacher care and encouragement, parental
support, attitudes) could also lead to better perceptions of
the value of education in later life and decrease the current
levels of drop-out and under-performance, particularly by
male students in Trinidad and Tobago.
In summary, many of the factors significantly related
to student achievement in this study have a fair degree of
commonality in that they are centred on the attention given
by students and parents to what could be termed the general
elements of schooling: reading engagement; student self-
regard for their own abilities; parental encouragement of
student engagement with their studies; student perceptions
of teacher caring and encouragement; and parental
perceptions of feeling welcomed to and engaged with the
school. Steps could be taken that would help build positive
influences on student achievement. These would include
helping students attend more closely to school-based
learning activities, promoting teacher behaviours that are
likely to be viewed by students as caring and encouraging,
and having the school consciously take steps to further
parental participation in the child's school life.
The adoption of an evidence-based approach to policy
development and curricular implementation could be
a positive step toward better education in Trinidad and
Tobago: higher achievement, more equitable schooling,
and more enhanced access and engagement by students,
teachers and parents are some of the likely outcomes. The
full report on this research can be found in a recent edition
of Caribbean Curriculum, an academic journal published
by the School of Education at the University of the West
Indies, St. Augustine campus.



For students the following traits are positively
related to their academic achievement:

TEACHER ENGAGEMENT AND CARE
the extent to which students perceive their
teachers as engaged in their school work.

READING SELF-CONCEPT students'
perception of self as a reader.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT the extent to
which students report that their parents care
about their school-related activities.

ATTITUDE TOWARDS SCHOOL students'
interest in school.

WRITING ACTIVITIES the extent to which
students report that they are actively involved
in writing in school.

READING ENGAGEMENT students'
reported levels of being engaged in reading
activities.


This article was written by Professor John Anderson of the University of Victoria, Dr June George (Senior Research Fellow)
and Dr Susan Herbert (Head of Department) of the School of Education, UWI, St Augustine, the three researchers engaged in the project.


1 RSERC






12 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


SAPSLTRTR WEEK MA.C *-52 *1


From the Inside Pages(Part I)


As the 11th edition of Campus Literature Week begins,
Professor Funso Aiyejina, describes its birth and the first
decade of its life (1999-2009) under his stewardship.


Campus Literature Week was initiated in 1999 by the
Department of Liberal Arts. Professor Kenneth Ramchand,
then Head of Department, had proposed that the university
bring the Barbadian poet, Kamau Brathwaite, who was on
an extended stay in Barbados, to the St. Augustine campus
to give a reading, since he had never done so before. I
suggested that rather than have only Brathwaite reading,
we should consider establishing a Campus Literature Week
as an avenue for showcasing the literary talents of students,
staff and the wider society, with Brathwaite doing the gala
reading to round off the week. This suggestion was accepted
by the department and, since I was the one who opened
his big mouth, I was assigned the task of coordinating it. I
initiated contact with Brathwaite, with the help of his good
friend, Professor Gordon Rohlehr, and got him to agree
to come as a guest writer. Professor Ramchand oversaw
the process that culminated in an official invitation to
Brathwaite from the then Pro-Vice Chancellor and Campus
Principal, Professor Compton Bourne. Unfortunately, just
before the appointed date, we got word that Brathwaite had
had eye surgery and had been ordered by his doctor not to
fly. As fate would have it and because I am always a one-part
pessimist, I had put Earl Lovelace on standby, in case, for
one reason or the other, Brathwaite could not accept our
invitation or, having accepted, had to cancel at the last
minute. That then was how Lovelace became the first
guest writer for Campus Literature Week in March,
1999. Lovelace, because of his generosity and his
embrace of the vision behind Campus Literature
Week would return a couple more times and become
the most regular of our guest writers.
In the original design of Campus Literature
Week, the Guest Writer, in addition to giving public
readings, was required to talk about his/her writing
and about literature with our students; to give
television and print interviews to sensitize the public
t.-. hi'hcr work; and to generate public interest
ii, lh..ilare. The noontime readings created the
.pp. I nity for a cross-section of the spectrum
*I literary talents available within and outside
the campus, especially for those writers
desirous of audience feedback on their
work, to share their work with the public.
The Main Library was chosen as the
venue for the noontime readings as an
affirmation of the synergy between the
S library and the Faculty of Humanities
; and Education as well as the centrality


Prof Kenneth Ramchand issued the first invitation to a guest writer

of the library to the primary business of the university as a
centre of learning.
In the first decade of Campus Literature Week, we
hosted the following writers: Earl Lovelace (1999, 2005,
2008); Olive Senior (2000, 2003); Jan Carew (2001); Austin
Clarke (2002); Lawrence Scott (2004); Erna Brodber (2006);
John Stewart (2007); and Rachel Manley (2009). On the
occasion of the inaugural Campus Literature Week in 1999,
those present were called upon "to witness the planting of
a seed which we hope to see grow into an inevitable part of
our annual calendar." Not only has Campus Literature Week
grown into an event that many look forward to every year,
but its success inspired the introduction of the Master of
Fine Arts (Creative Writing Fiction) programme in the
2002/2003 academic year.
With the introduction of the MFA programme, the
position of Guest Writer was re-engineered into that of
Writer-in-Residence, with an expanded scope to include
the facilitation of workshops for the students in the MFA
programme and the length of stay was extended from two
weeks to a maximum of two months. Olive Senior, who
had visited as a Guest Writer in 2000, was the inaugural
Writer-in-Residence in 2003 and worked with me to
establish the foundation for the MFA programme. Also,
with the introduction of the MFA, Campus Literature Week
took on an additional significance as the platform for the
MFA students to perform before an audience, in lieu of the






SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 13


1 A PSLTRTR WEEK MA.C *-52 *1


academic seminar presentations required of traditional
graduate students. Campus Literature Week also offers the
MFA students the opportunity to hone their organizational
skills as members of its organizing committee. From among
such students has emerged Rhoda Bharath who, in addition
to being one of the first three students to graduate from the
MFA programme, displayed extraordinary commitment to
Campus Literature Week, over the years, and, emerged as
the de facto coordinator of the event for the 2007/2008 and
2008/2009 academic years.
Over the years, some innovations have been introduced
to make Campus Literature Week responsive to public
demands and suitable for the demands of the MFA
programme: Lovelace shared the spotlight with Ella
Andall to underscore the synergy between oral and
scribal chantwells; one of Olive Senior's gala readings was
introduced with a dramatized version of one of her stories
by Samantha Pierre in a conflation that accentuated the
eloquent orality of Senior's fiction; on another occasion,
Senior read to starry-eyed students of the Matura High
School from amongst whom one hoped a writer would
emerge in the future who would lookbackto that moment as
the defining moment in his/her relationship with literature;
John Stewart gave a reading at the Community Centre of
his childhood village of Ste. Madeleine, with his childhood
friends in the audience, an act that must have reminded
the community of its central role as an important source of
Stewart's creative inspiration; there were readings of works
in French and Spanish; open mic sessions were introduced
to facilitate "of-the-street" participation; and in 2009, in
the spirit of the desire for inclusiveness, we had a special
noontime reading at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences
Complex to facilitate lovers of literature at the Complex who
found it difficult to make it to the Main Campus.
The roll call of writers who have read during the
noontime sessions is a veritable list of who-is-who in the
emergent Trinidad and Tobago literature. We can boast of
the participation of Pearl Eintou Springer, Anson Gonzales,
Valerie Belgrave, Kevin Baldeosingh and Lisa Allen-Agostini
among some of our notable off-campus guests. We can also
boast of having provided the opportunity for many student-
writers from other Caribbean islands like St. Vincent and
the Grenadines, St. Lucia and the Bahamas to showcase their
work to the St. Augustine community.


Kamau Brathwaite, first invited guest writer


Earl Lovelace, the first actual guest writer


One of the most heart-warming achievements of
Campus Literature Week is the way it has made it possible
for our students to hear writers who are resident on the
campus but most of whom we, unfortunately, hardly ever
acknowledge as writers, let alone celebrate them. This list
includes names like Merle Hodge, Cynthia James, Elizabeth
Walcott-Hackshaw, Jennifer Rahim, Godfrey Steele, Barbara
Lalla, Claudius Fergus, Christopher Starr, and Gordon
Rohlehr, all of whom would have been known to students
as lecturers but hardly as creative writers. Even more heart-
warming is the excellent crop of student participants in
the programme. These include Rhoda Bharath, Carolyn
Harnanan and Sharon Syriac who have gone on to become
fine writers in their own rights, and Muhammad Muwakil
and his U-WE Speak Poets who are set for a bright future
as performance poets, proud descendants of the poetic
tradition of the Midnight Robbers of Trinidad and Tobago
Carnival and the rapso tradition.
A programme like this succeeds only with the goodwill
of many. I wish to put on record my gratitude to the various
office holders during this past eleven years: heads of the
Department of Liberal Arts (Professor Kenneth Ramchand,
Mr. Vishnu Singh, Professor Barbara Lalla, Professor Valerie
Youssef, and Dr. Paula Morgan), deans of the Faculty of
Humanities and Education (Mr Vishnu Singh and Professor
Ian Robertson), and Campus Principals (Professor Compton
Bourne, Dr. Bhoe Tewarie, Professor Bridget Brereton, and
Professor Clement Sankat) whose support for Campus
Literature Week has been unwavering. I wish too to thank
all the student assistants and administrative assistants
(especially Adel Bain) and the staff of the Humanities
Division of the Main Library who worked tirelessly behind
the scenes over the years to make Campus Literature Week
a success. To all our faithful supporters over the years,
thanks.

In the March Issue
PART II: THE WRITERS IN RESIDENCE


* WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE

M. NOURBESE PHILIP is a poet, writer and
lawyer who was born in Tobago and now lives in
Canada. She will be the guest writer at this week's
Campus Literature Week at The UWI.
She received her B.Sc. (Econ.) degree from
The UWI, and then completed a Masters degree
in Political Science as well as a degree in law at the
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario,
Canada (1973).
Although
primarily a poet,
NourbeSe Philip
also writes both
fiction and non-
fiction. She has
published three
books of poetry,
Thorns 1980,
Salmon Courage
S1983 and She
Tries Her Tongue;
Her Silence Softly Breaks 1988 and has been the
recipient of Canada Council awards, numerous
Ontario Arts Council grants and was the recipient
of a Toronto Arts Council award in 1989.
In 1988, she won the prestigious Casa de las
Americas prize for the manuscript version of her
book, She Tries Her Tongue... she is also the 1988
first prize winner of the Tradewinds Collective
prize (Trinidad & Tobago) in both the poetry and
the short story categories.
Her first novel, Harriet's Daughter, was
published in 1988 by Heinemann (England) and
The Women's Press (Canada). This book was one
of two runners up in the 1989 Canadian Library
Association Prize for children's literature. Harriet's
Daughter was also first runner up in the Max and
Greta Abel Award for Multicultural Literature.
Her second novel, Looking For Livingstone: An
Odyssey of Silence, was published in 1991. In
1994, NourbeSe Philip's short story, "Stop Frame"
was awarded the Lawrence Foundation Award by
the journal, Prairie Schooner.
Her short stories, essays, reviews and articles
have appeared in magazines and journals in
North America and England, and her poetry
has been extensively anthologized. Her work -
poetry, fiction and non-fiction is taught widely
at the university level and is the subject of much
academic writing and critique. She has taught
creative fiction at the third year level at York
University.


Professor Funso Aiyejina was Coordinator of Campus Literature Week from 1999 to 2009.
He is a Professor of Literatures in English, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education,
The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus.






14 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


* UWI ENGINEERING PROGRAMMES GET ENERGY INSTITUTE ACCREDITATION


rEDU INK


Two Petroleum Studies programmes at The University of
the West Indies (UWI) have recently earned accreditation
from the Energy Institute (EI). This is in addition to
previously earned accreditation by the Institute of Materials,
Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and the Geological Society of
London (GSL) respectively.
The University's Master of Science (MSc) in Petroleum
Engineering and Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Petroleum
Geoscience were awarded accreditation by the UK-based
Energy Institute (EI), which has accreditation facilities for
degrees for Chartered Engineering, Chartered Petroleum
Engineer, Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered
Science status.
The BSc Petroleum Geoscience at UWI became the
first geological programme of any nature to be accredited
outside the UK, when it was awarded accreditation by the
Geological Society of London for a period of six years from
March 2004, following a February 2004 visit by the President
of the Society. The programme has now been re-accredited
to 2016. Membership in the Geological Society of London
brings many benefits, including professional recognition.
Fellows are entitled to the letters FGS after their name and
Chartered Geologists can add the postnominal CGeol.
The MSc Petroleum Engineering at UWI has been
accredited by the IOM3 for graduates entering the
programme from 2004 to 2011. As a result these graduates
will be able to go forward to become internationally
recognized and chartered professionals by IOM3 after 4-6
years suitable experience and responsibility. Accreditation
also provides peer-reviewed certification of the standard and
scope of professional and scientific training offered by MSc
programmes, giving universities, grant-awarding bodies
and employers confidence in the value of the programme


A new book by Dr Basil Reid entitled Archaeology, GIS
and Cultural Resource Management in Trinidad will
be released in March. Published by Lambert Academic
Publishing, this volume explores the use of Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) in the cultural resource
management ofprecolonial archaeological sites in Trinidad,
the Caribbean's southernmost island.
The book produces predictive models of selected
watersheds in Trinidad based on GIS. It also addresses
important issues relating to GIS data input, access, retrieval
and data management within the context of Trinidad's
archaeology. Also included is a discourse on the history
of archaeology research in Trinidad, the island's physical
environment and the role of GIS in settlement archaeology
and cultural resource management.
Dr Reid is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology in the
Department of History at The UWI. He is the author of
Myths and Realities of Caribbean History and the editor of
both Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from
the Caribbean and A Crime Solving Toolkit: Forensics in
the Caribbean.


in producing well-trained graduates for employment in
the geosciences. In addition, the recognition of an MSc
programme by accreditation is a valuable aid for students
choosing their locus of study, particularly for overseas
students.
The El accreditation, for graduates entering the
programme from 2009 to 2013, was awarded after an
official visit to The UWI to examine facilities, meet staff
and students and assess against the Energy Institute criteria
for accreditation. The visiting El team met with Professor
Richard Dawe, TTMC Chair in Petroleum Engineering
in The UWI Chemical Engineering Department, who
explained the history and organisation of the Unit and the
nature of its courses. The team also met with other members
of academic staff and with a selection of students.
A report from the visiting team described the teaching
staff as "supportive and accessible" and "committed and
enthusiastic, with a well developed involvement with the
local and international oil and gas industry." The report
further described students as "very enthusiastic about the
courses.
Departments applying for accreditation must
demonstrate that their programmes introduce students to
the major aspects of their degree subject and specifically, that
appropriate skill levels are attained in certain highlighted
topics. They must also demonstrate that teaching in these
subjects is carried out by appropriately qualified staff
with relevant post-graduate research and/or professional
experience as appropriate, and a record of continuing
professional development. This applies particularly to
fieldwork where the teaching of mapping skills is considered
to be of very high importance.


&*W a 0


Archaeology, GIS and
Cultural Resource
Management in Trinidad
Ilinj1 Pr iir Ll-,b n-l .I i kw dhnl hI r
.r ..( .xlb... in i 'j. hfln., I 1r.t,,I 1 kjii


LA, IE


* UWI HOSTS EDULINK
TRAIN THE TRAINERS WORKSHOP
GLOBAL GRADUATION

"Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the
EU today used to say that building Europe is not
about putting different states together. It is about
putting peoples together. This is precisely what
EDULINK is doing:' said Stelios Christopoulous,
Charge d'Affaires, Delegation of the European
Union to Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. Christopoulous was one of the main
speakers at the EDULINK "Train the Trainers
Workshop:' graduation ceremony and luncheon,
which recently took place at The UWI, St. Augustine
Campus.
On Thursday January 21st, 2010, participants
from The UWI's seven partner universities in the
South Pacific, Mauritius, Belize, Guyana, Suriname,
Jamaica and Warwick, as well as from the other
UWI campuses, Mona, Jamaica and Cave Hill,
Barbados, gathered at The UWI Faculty of Social
Sciences Lounge to celebrate their completion of the
EDULINK "Train the Trainers Workshop."
This workshop provided the trainers with a
professional development programme in resource
mobilisation, which would enable them to
contribute to the creation of a critical mass of
knowledge and the development of a network of
Higher Education Institution (HEI) staff trained
in revenue generation. Among the training
modules presented were Resource Mobilisation in
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries,
Fundraising and Resource Mobilisation in Higher
Education, Commercialisation of Research and
its Contribution to the Knowledge Economy,
Business Development in a University Context, and
Grantsmanship in Higher Education.
The UWI St. Augustine Campus Principal
Clement Sankat, also a main speaker at the event,
expressed his pride in the University's role in this
initiative, the outcome of which he stated, would be
to "enhance and strengthen our research capacity,
allow for more effective teaching, encourage the
use of technology and intensify the management
of intellectual property" Principal Sankat went on
to say that, when participants returned to their
respective countries and institutions at the end of
the workshop, the next phase would be for them
each to train ten academic and administrative staff
members "in resource mobilisation and to produce
one proposal each, for donor support."
This workshop was a part of an EDULINK
funded project, titled "Capacity Building for the
Financial Sustainability of ACP HEIs:' led by The
UWI, in collaboration with other HEIs in the ACP
Group of States.
EDULINKis an initiative that funds cooperative
projects between ACP HEIs and the 15 EU member
States that are signatories to the 9th European Fund
(EDF).


Copies can be pre-orderedfrom Arnaud Cathan, the Acquistions Editor of Lambert Academic Publishing;
e-mail: i.i iith'ii ,ilip-pitl'Ishliig. ImI The book is also available at UWI Bookshop.


* COMING SOON: ARCHAEOLOGY, GIS AND CULTURAL
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN TRINIDAD






SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010 UWI TODAY 15


SOCIAL INSECTS IN THE SCHEME OF ISLAND LIFE

BY DR CHRISTOPHER STARR


Social insects are that peculiar minority (about 1-2%) of
species that live in durable, structured groups known as
colonies. Everyone is familiar with at least a few species of
social insects. You have certainly noticed the abundant, dark-
brown termite nests that adorn many trees (and you may on
rare occasions be chagrined to find these or other termites
invading your house). Jack Spaniards are among the social
wasps that you have learned to respect (if not necessarily
to love). Some bees, including the much appreciated honey
bee, have highly-developed social organization. And ants,
such as the bachacs that you can see in your garden every
night, seem to be everywhere.
Life in a colony is a very different matter from that
of solitary insects. For one thing, it is a cycle of almost
constant interactions among nest mates. For another, there
is a more or less striking distinction among different kinds
of individuals (known as castes) according to their roles.
The primary caste division is between the few reproducing
individuals (queen and king in termites, queens only in all
others) and the non-reproducing workers.
For a biologist, life in an archipelago has an extra
dimension that can make it extremely attractive. Each island
is, in a sense, a world of its own, and the distribution of plants
and animals among islands is a source of endless questions,
answers and fascination. Island biogeography draws on a
key distinction between two types of islands. Continental
islands are those with a previous dry-land connection to
a continent. Trinidad and Tobago were once parts of the
South American continent, isolated by rising sea levels an
estimated 14,000 (Tobago) and 10,000 (Trinidad) years
ago. The rest of the West Indies-the Greater Antilles and
Lesser Antilles-are oceanic islands, without such a previous
connection. While Trinidad and Tobago began their island
existence already with a full complement of plants and
animals, then, the Antilles started out with nothing and
have only become populated by species that could cross
stretches of open sea.
My own particular interest is in the comparative
diversity of social insects on islands. If two islands have
much the same habitats, the larger one is expected to
harbour more species, whether of social insects or anything
else. The relationship is conventionally expressed as S = kAz
or log S = log k + z log A, where S stands for number of
species, A is the size of the island or other area, and k and
z are constants. The constant of interest is z, which defines
how rapidly the number of species (species richness) rises
with increasing land area. This is best seen in a double-log
graph, in which z is the slope of the line. Studies of different
groups of organisms in various parts of the world show that
z tends to be between 0.25 and 0.35.
However, continental and oceanic islands are plainly
not comparable in this regard. In any given group of plants
or animals, an oceanic island will almost always have fewer
species than a continental island or a part of the continent
of the same size. We can illustrate this by reference to social
wasps. The second graph shows the species-area relationship


Swarm-founding social wasps, or maribons, which disperse poorly
and are predictably absent from oceanic islands.


Independent-founding social wasps, or Jack Spaniards,
which disperse well.












0
,Wr-


I
U




This map shows why T&T are continental islands by marking where
the sea level was during the last Ice Age.


for islands of the West Indies and some continental areas of
Central and South America. Two things are apparent in this
pattern. First, continental areas and islands have markedly
more species than do oceanic islands of similar size. You will
note, for example, that Trinidad has several times as many
species as does (oceanic) Jamaica.
Second, if we plot the slopes of the two groups
separately we find that they are both very similar, slightly
over 0.30 in each case.
There is more to biotic differences between continental
and oceanic islands that this difference in species
richness. Not all species are equally able to cross sea barriers
and establish themselves on oceanic islands. For example,
it is not surprising that bats are much better represented
on such islands than are non-flying mammals, relative to
their numbers on the continents from which their ancestors
emigrated. And large mammals, like deer and quenk, are
virtually absent unless introduced by humans. This pattern
of differences in composition is known as disharmony.
Unlike solitary insects, social insects seldom disperse
to new areas except in the course of founding new
colonies. This process takes different forms in different
species. In Jack Spaniards, for example, a single queen can
found a new colony. Dispersal from the mother colony, then,
is limited only by how far a wasp can fly (or be blown by the
wind) by herself. In the other main group of social wasps,
maribons or marabuntas, in contrast, it takes a group of
several queens and many workers to start a new colony, and
the group must remain intact, so that maximum dispersal
distance is necessarily much less. Not surprisingly, while
Trinidad and Tobago are home to about equal numbers of
species of the two groups, the social wasps of the Antilles are
almost exclusively Jack Spaniards. In fact, only one maribon
is found in any of the Antilles and only in Grenada.
Arising out of this observation is my general hypothesis
that The mode of colony founding is the main factor in
the relative dispersal ability of social wasps onto oceanic
islands.
The various testable predictions arising out of this
hypothesis are largely corroborated by results from the
West Indies, with one striking exception. I predicted that
the higher termites (family Termitidae) would be better
represented than the lower termites (all other families) in
the Antilles, relative to their numbers in northern South
America. I reasoned that the overall greater size of the flying
queens and kings and the huge numbers that emerge in the
founding season would make them more likely to cross sea
barriers to new islands. It was a fair prediction but, in fact,
exactly the opposite is true. The lower termites are much
more prevalent up the islands. The most likely reason is that
their colonies have a much greater chance of being carried
on floating logs, an accidental process quite different from
normal colony founding.
It is my firm conviction that social insects are the most
interesting feature of the known universe. Islands make for
some of the world's most interesting places. Together they
are an irresistible combination.


Dr Christopher Starr is a Senior Lecturer in Fi ;.I ... at the Department of Life Sciences, UWI, St Augustine.






16 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 28TH FEBRUARY, 2010


UWI CALENDAR ofEVENTS

MARCH 2010


CAMPUS
LITERATURE
WEEK
Monday 1 to Friday
5 March 2010
UWI, St Augcustlne
Campus

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b 50TH ANNIVERSARY
FIFTY AND CELEBRATIONS LAUNCH
FORGING AHEAD Fiiday 12 Maich, 2010
1960-2010 10 00 am

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( ampuii \\Il launch its Atih .\nni\ci ai\
clcballtins iLth a maCldiIa laun,:ch and
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oill/fat Tel i,,'oS ,,n -200' ci \f ct ,_


SIR GEORGE ALLEYNE
DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES
Friday 12 March, 2010
6 00pm
Amphitheatre A,
Faculty of Medical Sciences, EWMSC

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o, i 1o4i-_"4-140Etr 4o1I4


WORLD OF WORK (WOW)
Januaiy-Maich 2010
St Augustine Campus, UWI

Registration:
2- Manual \-3 I chb Ui 2L111
Interview Preparation and
Resume Writing Workshop:
4 -1 chlb L I 2 ill11
Seminar:
6 1 chl lIJ \. 2 lll l
Mock Interviews:
2 1 cbl uIIl \ nll 6 N\lIic.h. 21111
Recruitment Fair
I- 12 ilaiclh. 211i11

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UWI TODAY WANTS
TO HEAR FROM YOU


I I I I Ii. I I 1i ill. I l.,ii. 11i1i 1 I I -I I i I U I


MAKING LITERACY
IMPROVEMENT A REALITY
March 11-12,2010
Mona Visitors' Lodge, Mona Campus, UWI

lhe \ ,h .. I, 1 dJuciaLiln at the ill, na ( aImpis
II laInacla. h sI1 s its 11 ieinnial hIli al lll0 1nic ice.
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1"' I .
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TURMOIL AND TURBULENCE
March 24-26, 2010
SALISES, St Augustine Campus, UWI

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A.\ INI sl II' nLi il an1ti I I Illcinc in Ismn ll
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will ,e hIIeld at tllhc N1 A.\ui' L ( Jipll iis 11h
illall c'. i 011in s II C h ( al, ibbenall all hel
aieas ale gi l Ipp lilng ill lh e L c1. nsequei.in esi I
a g'lihal financial dnti ce.in', miic mn lli., n
I Icc ,cl inl,, Jiiuclc s illiutie c Iadlilng ticdanti
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