Group Title: VI-EPSCoR Newsletter. Volume 1. Issue 3.
Title: VI-EPSCoR Newsletter. Volume 3. Issue 4.
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: VI-EPSCoR Newsletter. Volume 3. Issue 4.
Alternate Title: Virgin Islands EPSCoR
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of the Virgin Islands. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.
Affiliation: University of the Virgin Islands -- Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
Publisher: Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
Publication Date: 12/26/2003
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300629
Volume ID: VID00009
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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VI- EPSCoR Conference Summary

In this issue
9 Vl-EPSCoR Annual
Conference Summary
" Staff Highlights
" Seminar Series
" Program Coordinator
9 BCCR Update

9 First Annual
National Meeting
9 Visit by Sherry
Farewell, director of
9 Second donation
from Lana Vento
Charitable Trust
9 Vl-EPSCoR goes to
the Agricultural Fair on
Nov. 19-20

Contact VI-EPSCoR:
(340) 693-1478

exciting young people about
science. An inspirational talk by
Dr. Cecil Jennings of the Univ.
of Georgia kicked off the day.
Research posters highlighted
the work of undergraduate and
secondary school researchers.
VI-EPSCoR researchers used
posters and hands-on research
exhibits to explain their work.
Exhibits described marine-
related careers in the USVI.
For more details, visit:

Meetings of the VI-EPSCoR
Governing Committee and
the BCCR Advisory Board
were also held the week of the
conference, as well as a joint
session to discuss plans for
new graduate programs in
environmental studies and in
teaching mathematics.

Program Coordinator Update Dr. Meri Whitaker

Fall term has been an
extremely busy time for VI-
EPSCoR, especially in the run-
up to the annual conference.
Many thanks are due to VI-
EPSCoR staff and researchers
and conference coordinator
Ms. Judi Shimel for putting in
very long hours to make the
conference such a success!

The Lana Vento Charitable
Trust has given a second
generous donation to VI-
EPSCoR. The Vento donation
will support VI-EPSCoR's coral
reef research activities.

The NSF EPSCoR National
Meeting was held in Puerto
Rico on Sept. 25-28. VI-
EPSCoR participants included
VI-EPSCoR senior staff, UVI
Pres. Laverne Ragster, Frank

Schulterbrandt, Esq., Ms. Lisa
Melchior representing Sen.
Lorraine Berry, UVI Prof. Roy
Watlington and UVI student
researcher Mr. Gaetan
Gentius. Participants from
different jurisdictions shared
experiences and discussed
future directions, with a focus
on ways to facilitate innovation
and commercialization of

Dr. Sherry Farwell, the
director of NSF EPSCoR,
visited VI-EPSCoR after the
national meeting. Dr. Farwell
met with key people involved
with VI-EPSCoR and toured
research facilities that have
been renovated with NSF
funds. He noted that the visit
has given him a clear picture of
VI-EPSCoR and its activities.

The annual conference of the
Virgin Islands Experimental
Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research (VI-
EPSCoR) was held on Sept.
23-24 on St. Thomas. On the
first day, panelists including
Bio-complexity of Caribbean
Coral Reefs (BCCR)
researchers and members of
the BCCR Advisory Board and
local resource management
agencies discussed Resource
Management, Ecology of
Caribbean Coral Reefs, and
Modeling Oceans and Climate.
Keynote speaker Dr. Peter
Sale from Univ. of Windsor
discussed research and
management issues related to
connectivity of Caribbean
marine resources.

The second day focused on

November, 2005
Volume 3, Issue 4

Staff Highlights

We welcome Ms. Karimah
Pemberton, Ms. Jahmelia
Lewis, and Dr. Tyler Smith to
VI-EPSCoR. Ms. Pemberton
is a UVI sophomore majoring in
Psychology. She completed
her primary and secondary
education in St. Kitts. Ms.
Lewis is a UVI freshman
intending to major in Nursing.
She graduated from Eudora
Kean H.S. They joined VI-
EPSCoR in September as part
of the student worker program.
Dr. Smith has joined the
Center for Marine and
Environmental Studies to lead
the territorial coral reef
monitoring program and build a
collaborative research program
on coral reef studies. Smith
received his Ph.D. from the
Univ. of Miami. He is currently
developing two collaborative
grant proposals and
investigating this year's severe
coral bleaching event.

Seminar Series
The 2005-06 VI-EPSCoR
Seminar Series is focusing on
the development of new
research ideas and funding
proposals to contribute to the
research thrust on the Bio-
complexity of Caribbean Coral
Reefs. The fall seminars are
focused on discussion of future
directions for the research
thrust and identification of
opportunities for collaborative
research to target key research

Faculty interested in applying
for the next round of VI-
EPSCoR incubator grants in
Mar. 2005 are encouraged to
participate in the seminar
series. For more information,

November, 2005
Volume 3, Issue 4

BCCR Update Dr. Richard Nemeth

The BCCR Advisory Board
was in full attendance at the VI-
EPSCoR Annual Conference
and Advisory Board meeting.
They also received a tour of
the renovations at the Virgin
Islands Environmental
Research Station (VIERS) on
St. John and the MacLean
Marine Science Center on St.
Thomas, and heard progress
reports from VI-EPSCoR
funded researchers. Following
their visit, the Advisory Board
provided a excellent summary
of BCCR progress including
recommendations on
maximizing impact.

BCCR Researchers:
Nasseer Idrisi submitted a
manuscript for publication in
the journal Bulletin of Marine
Science entitled Rates of
Nitrogen Excretion and
Oxygen Consumption in the
California Sea Hare, Aplysia
californica, with co-authors
John Barimo, Alice Hudder,
Tom Capo, and Pat Walsh
from Univ. of Miami. Idrisi is
currently developing a coupled
interface between the general
circulation ocean model
HYCOM and Eulerian-type
biological model of nutrient-
detritus (NPZD) with UVI
student Lissette LaPlace.

Sandra Romano continues her
VI-EPSCoR funded research,
supervising the lab work of
Tryphena Cuffy who is working
on molecular analysis of
Porites species and Semoya
Phillips who is working on
morphological analysis of
Porites species.

Roy Watlington and UVI
student Gaetan Gentius
attended the NSF EPSCoR
National Meeting where
Gentius presented a poster
based on their VI-EPSCoR
funded research. Watlington

received notification of two
grant awards. A Water
Resources Research Institute
grant of $29,000 for Improving
Water Quality Research
through Training and
Equipment Upgrade will
provide for repair of a high
precision salinometer and
purchase of other water testing
instruments which will be used
to train UVI students. A second
sub-award ($182,000 for three
years) through the University of
Puerto Rico Mayaguez will
utilize funding from NOAA
Coastal Services Center to
form a Caribbean Regional
Association to assemble an
integrated ocean observing
system for the US-Caribbean
Exclusive Economic Zone.

Stuart Ketcham has been
working on a grant proposal to
be submitted in Spring 2006 to
the NSF Program in Biological
Oceanography related to the
Population Connectivity in
Marine Systems Specific
Theme of Emphasis.

Jennifer Carroll continues her
VI-EPSCoR funded work on
separation and characterization
of biologically active marine
invertebrate extracts. Dr.
Carroll mentors UVI students
Jeffrey Purcell, Yakini Brandy
and Digna Washington. Purcell
recently presented his summer
work in Marine Natural
Products in a poster at the
American Biomedical Research
Conference for Minority
Students where he won an
award for Best Chemistry
Poster Presentation.

Donna Nemeth has been
collaborating with Dr. Paul
Sikkel of Murray State
University and UVI student
Amber McCammon on a VI-
EPSCoR funded study
examining the effects of coral
reef condition on the parasite

infestation rates of two
commercially important species
of surgeonfishes, Acanthurus
bahianus and A. coeruleus.
Their preliminary studies have
determined that the
surgeonfishes have different
parasite loads in different
habitats. For example, fish
collected from two degraded
near-shore habitats have a
significantly higher number of
parasites that fish collected at
an off-shore site with
potentially higher water flow
and more stable water
temperatures. Potential causes
of this habitat difference are
being explored. Differences in
parasite load between the two
species have also been found
and are being explored.

Dave Smith recently presented
a Mathematics seminar at UVI
entitled Mathematics in
Weather Forecasting based
on his VI-EPSCoR funded
research. Student researcher
Andre Francis is putting the
final touches on a detailed
coastline map file for use with
the ARPS and MM5 weather
modeling programs' graphic

Marc Boumedine has been
working with UVI student
SoundJata Carty on a VI-
EPSCoR funded project
applying data mining
techniques to early detection of
coral reef bleaching. Carty has
been awarded a TAPIA
scholarship to present a poster
on Towards Understanding
Coral Bleaching Sequence
Patterns using SPADE at the
Richard Tapia Celebration of
Diversity in Computing
Conference on Oct. 19-22 in
New Mexico.

Rick Nemeth, PI of BCCR,
was recently awarded a grant
($145,000) from the University
of Puerto Rico Sea Grant

Program for a two-year study
on the migratory behavior of
three commercially important
grouper species, red hind
(Epinephelus guttatus), Nassau
(E. striatus) and yellowfin
(Mycteroperca venenosa)
grouper, during their spawning
season. The objective is to
track movements of the
species to determine
appropriate placement of
boundaries for marine
protected areas to spawning

Renovations of three research
labs, a teaching lab, three
offices and a video conference
room in the MacLean Marine
Science Center are nearly
completed. Funds from VI-
EPSCoR were leveraged with
funds from UVI capital projects
($400,000) and Title III
($135,000) grants to CMES. To
date the renovations have
created new lab and classroom
areas with improved ceiling
lighting and floors, installed
new lab bench-tops and
cabinets in teaching and
research labs, created new
offices and a video-conference
room, and replaced the A/C
system and windows.

Renovations at VIERS have
progressed with the installation
of storm doors for the
workstation and painting of the
building. Work at the VIERS
camp include renovation of the
administration office for library
and computer stations. VI-
EPSCoR funds have been
leveraged with an NSF-FSML
grant ($185,000) to CMES.

The new VI-EPSCoR funded
research/dive vessel, a 30 ft.
Island Hopper with inboard
diesel engine, hydraulic trap
hauler and electronics, has
arrived and is in operation. Title
III funds were used to purchase
new microscopes and fume
extractors for lab work.

The Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research is supported by National Science
Foundation Grant #0346483. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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