Group Title: VI-EPSCoR Newsletter. Volume 1. Issue 3.
Title: VI-EPSCoR Newsletter. Volume 4. Issue 4.
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: VI-EPSCoR Newsletter. Volume 4. 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: 2003
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300629
Volume ID: VID00013
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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Sea Temperatures Study to Aid Work on Coral, Weather


Cora~il Ref TaskHl Force

Cmng soon.

Preparation Begins^^

viesor /nvi.
htp:/psorui0 d

Modeling, and Local Forecasting

The second excursion around the island of St.
Thomas collecting near-shore bulk sea
temperatures was completed December 11.
Accurate near-shore temperature values will be
used both by researchers studying local coral
health and by the VIMWM (Virgin Islands
Microscale Weather Modeling) program to improve
local weather forecasting. The data collected is
being correlated with current satellite imagery to
create an algorithm that provides more accurate
real-time values for near-shore sea surface

The initial results are both interesting and
surprising. First, for both the November 1 and
December 11 runs, the temperature gradient
throughout the first 2.0 meters is quite small. The
largest difference in temperature between the
surface and 2.0 meter depth is 0.2 degrees
Celsius, with an average difference of only 0.1 OC.
While one might suspect that relatively rough seas
created mixing, the data taken in several calm
bays also showed very little gradient.

Second, there is a slight statistically significant
difference between the average temperatures
along the north and south shores, the north being
roughly 0.2 OC cooler than the south. However, in
general, the lateral temperature variation around
the island of St. Thomas is quite small. This is
good news, as it will facilitate the creation of a
dependable algorithm for predicting near-shore

Another series of data collection trips will take
place in the spring. The second set of data will
allow us to determine any biases that might occur
due to local ocean current shifts or satellite biases
incurred from atmospheric conditions.

Please contact Dr. David J. Smith for information
about this research at (email) or
(340) 693-1257 (tel).

Continued on page 2

Winter 2006-2007
Volume 4, Issue 4

Photo courtesy of Maria K. Dillard

New UVI Graduate
Program Now
Applications for Fall

The University of the Virgin Islands'
Division of Science and Mathematics,
the Center for Marine and Environ-
mental Studies and the Virgin Islands
Experimental Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR)
are pleased to announce the creation
of an exciting, new multi-disciplinary
graduate program, the Master of
Marine and Environmental Science
(MMES). The MMES will offer
advanced training in science and
natural resource management and is
expected to meet the acute demand
for science and resource management
expertise within the US Virgin Islands,
eventually expanding its reach to the
regional, national and international

The program offers a science based
track for those students who wish to
focus on research, and a manage-
ment based track for those who wish
to focus on resource management
issues. Students in both tracks will

Winter 2006-2007
Volume 4, Issue 4

New Graduate Program, Continued

(Cont. from page 1) enroll in the same core courses
during the first year of the program. There will be a
strong emphasis on Caribbean ecology and environ-
mental management, as well as significant emphasis on
problem solving skills applicable well beyond the region.
Graduates of the program will be qualified for academic,
government, and private sector positions in science and
resource management at the local, regional, and
national levels.

Dr. Sylvia Vitazkova, the VI-EPSCoR funded graduate
program coordinator, carried the program successfully
through the academic approval process and is now
working to implement the program. Vitazkova says the
new program is "exciting, rigorous, and relevant and will
fulfill the regional need for professionals who have
advanced scientific, technical and management training."
For more information, log onto

Applications for the Fall 2007 semester are
now being accepted. The deadline for
application is February 15, 2007.

VI-EPSCoR Calendar of Events

October 31 VI-EPSCoR Seminar on "Coral Reef Community
Dynamics in St. John, USVI" given by Peter Edmunds, Ph.D.

November 28 VI-EPSCoR Seminar on "In-Water Research of
Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles in Puerto Rico" given by
Robert van Dam, Ph.D.

December 12- Meeting of VI-EPSCoR Researchers to discuss
development of the upcoming RII proposal

December 14 Land Sea Teleconference to generate ideas for
the Mare Nostrum/Brewer's Bay Watershed Project

December 15 Inaugural meeting of the VI-EPSCoR
Educational Advisory Board

January 10 Meeting of VI-EPSCoR Researchers to discuss
development of the upcoming RII proposal

January 12, 2007 VI-EPSCoR Seminar on "The use of tropical
environmental gradients to test the Odum maximum power
hypothesis" given by Charlie A. S. Hall, Ph.D.

January 18, 2007 VI-EPSCoR Seminar on proposed research
of Hawksbill Sea Turtles given by Paul Jobsis, Ph.D.

February 17-19 The St. Croix Agricultural Food Fair, VI-
EPSCoR will host a table under the UVI tent

Spotlight: Student Researchers at
Work Measuring Temperatures

Measuring Near-Shore Bulk Sea Temperatures
Principal Investigator: Dr. David J. Smith

Undergraduate student researchers Amanda Wilson and
Ashley Beebe are shown recording sea temperatures during
a recent trip along the south shore of St. Thomas. These
students are part of a VI-EPSCoR sponsored project to
measure the near-shore sea temperatures around the
island. For more information about this project, see page 1.

Coming Research: Land-Sea Interactions

On Thursday December 14, 2006, VI-EPSCoR hosted a
teleconferenced meeting at the MacLean Marine Science
Center to discuss potential new research on land-sea
interactions in the Virgin Islands. Participants included VI-
EPSCoR staff, members of the UVI faculty and staff, and
external researchers from the Yale School of Forestry and
Environmental Studies, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute,
the American Museum of Natural History, and the Rosenstiel
School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University
of Miami.

Meeting participants focused on long-term research
possibilities in the Perseverance Bay and Brewer's Bay
watersheds. Participants affirmed that UVI is well situated to
initiate this type of research and that it will allow the university
and its partners to move to the forefront of the exciting and
active area of study in land-sea interactions. Expected
benefits of this research include developing a greater
understanding of the local environment for better
management of the watersheds, education and training of
students and the public, and construction of a framework to
assist other small island states that are faced with
comparable challenges and opportunities as the USVI's.

Next steps include identifying funding sources and applying
for seed grants, organizing existing data, and designing a
database structure for the project.

For more information, contact Dr. Sylvia Vitazkova, or (340) 693-1427.

Winter 2006-2007
Volume 4, Issue 4

Highlights: News, Comings and

Goings, and Other Happenings

Elizabeth Ban (M.E.M., Conservation Biology, Yale University) joined VI-
EPSCoR in November 2006 as Program Coordinator. We are happy to
have Elizabeth at VI-EPSCoR. Her long time experience working in the
Virgin Islands on marine science outreach and education are sure to be
assets to our work.

Jacqulyn Calnan (M.S., Conservation Biology, Columbia University)
joined VI-EPSCoR in November 2006 as a Research Analyst. She will be
working with Dr. Tyler Smith on coral reef monitoring. We welcome
Jacqulyn to the VI-EPSCoR team.

Eoghan Joyce has moved on from his position at VI-EPSCoR as the
BCCR Research Manager. We appreciate all Eoghan's hard work and
wish him well in future endeavors.

Meri Whitaker (Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Stanford University) was
named VI-EPSCoR Project Director in June 2006. We are excited to
have Meri moving forward to lead VI-EPSCoR into the coming year.

LaToya Willis-Sylvester joined the Center for Marine and
Environmental Studies and VI-EPSCoR in December 2006 as
Administrative Assistant. She is currently working on her B.A. in
Accounting at UVI and has extensive experience as an accountant. We
are so glad to have LaToya here at CMES.

Local Charitable Trust Funds to Support Coastal Research
Once again, VI-EPSCoR is pleased to be the recipient of funding
from the Lana Vento Charitable Trust. These funds will purchase
equipment in support of the Biocomplexity of Caribbean Coral
Reefs research. The purchase of a high resolution Conductivity-
Temperature-Depth instrument and an Acoustic Wave and
Current Profiler suitable for deployment close to shore enable
researchers to verify high resolution coastal modeling efforts and
will greatly enhance and increase the likelihood of success for
several incubator research projects focused on coastal

VI-EPSCoR plays role in new Educational Advisory Board
In December 2006, VI-EPSCoR, UVI, and the VI Department of
Education constituted a new educational advisory board to link
the Territory's K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions
and the Virgin Islands community in a partnership to strengthen
K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
education. Members include representatives of UVI and the
Department of Education, potential employers in the private and
governmental sectors, parents of secondary school students, and
VI-EPSCoR. The Board is charged with identifying priority areas
where K-12 STEM education can be strengthened; developing a
plan of action; promoting collaboration and the formation of
strategic alliances to make optimal use of existing and potential
resources; and promoting private sector and community

Coral Reef Task Force

Meeting Workshop Success

As part of VI-EPSCoR's initiative to support
conferences and workshops in the Territory, we have
accepted a role in a variety of events that will occur in
the Virgin Islands throughout the year.

In October 2006, VI-EPSCoR, the University of the
Virgin Islands, and The Virgin Islands Department of
Planning and Natural Resources collaborated to host
a special workshop held in conjunction with thel6th
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting. The "Status of
USVI Coral Reef Ecosystems Workshop" is an
excellent example of the kind of partnerships that
have been identified as critical to the work being done
in the Virgin Islands. In combining the efforts of a local
government agency with the university and VI-
EPSCoR, the workshop became a venue for building
relationships and generating ideas for future
collaboration. This workshop was open to the public
and was specifically aimed at local stakeholder
groups. The issue oriented discussion on how we as a
Territory can most effectively address the issues
facing our reefs in order to protect and preserve this
valuable resource for generations to come led to the
identification of supporting actions that local and
federal policy makers can take to address the
challenges facing Territorial coral reefs.

The outcomes of this workshop, along with the
identified supporting actions, were reported to the
Coral Reef Task Force members during the Friday
business meeting session on Caribbean Coral Reefs.
Both the workshop and the Friday business meeting
were attended by representatives of key federal
funding agencies such as the U.S. National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of the Interior,
many of whom expressed sincere interest in
supporting the recommendations made by the
workshop collaborators. Since the workshop, a
resolution was passed by the Coral Reef Task Force.
This resolution states that the Government of the
U.S.V.I., through DPNR's Division of Coastal Zone
Management, will review and begin implementing as
appropriate the recommendations provided by the
workshop. In addition, the Task Force pledges to sup-
port the implementation of these recommendations.

To see the presentations from the workshop, as well
as additional conference materials, please go to our
website and click on Events.

Winter 2006-2007
Volume 4, Issue 4

Virgin Islands EPSCoR
University of the Virgin Islands
# 2 John Brewer's Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: 340-693-1428
Fax: 340-693-1425

Please visit us on the web at

What is VI-EPSCoR?

EPSCoR stands for Experimental Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research (EPSCoR). EPSCoR, a program
of the National Science Foundation, is designed to
increase research and education capacity in science and
engineering within a state or territory of the United
States that has traditionally been under funded in these
areas. The overarching idea is that individuals with
training in the areas of science, math, and technology
are better able to have a positive impact on a region's
management and development. The Virgin Islands
received its first EPSCoR grant in 2003 and is presently
in its third year of funding. Virgin Islands EPSCoR is
hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands on behalf
of the people of the Virgin Islands, and receives its
guidance from a Governing Committee that includes
representatives of both the public and the private sector.

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.

Taking the Virgi

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