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Conservation of Priority Bird Habitats by Dr Jim Corven


  • pg 1
									May 2005
Volume 3, Issue 2
Biocomplexity of Caribbean Coral
Reefs (BCCR) Research

 In this issue             Conservation of Priority Bird Habitats                                               by Dr. Jim Corven
 • Conservation of
 Priority Bird Habitats    What's happening to the birds in the      throughout the region indicating that       course at UVI locating the point count
 • VI-EPSCoR Annual        Virgin Islands? VI-EPSCoR                 there are environmental factors             sites to cover all the habitat types found
 Conference Sep. 23/24     researcher Dr. Jim Corven has begun       threatening the biodiversity and            in the area. Sites are precisely
 • VI-EPSCoR               a long-term project of monitoring birds   human welfare. With funding from            identified with a satellite-based
                           on the St. Thomas campus of UVI.          VI-EPSCoR and additional support            Geographical Positioning System
 Welcomes Dr. Meri             One of the best ways to determine     from Birdlife International and Birders’    (GPS) and marked on a map. Using
 Whitaker to UVI           the health of our environment is to       Exchange, this project has estab-           these sites, the students and Dr.
 • Outreach Update         monitor the living species over time to   lished 24 fixed bird monitoring             Corven took regular counts of all birds
 • Program                 see if they are doing well or having      stations around the UVI campus and          seen and heard at every site, noting
 Coordinator’s Update      trouble. This project has begun the       will soon begin installing similar          their species, numbers, and habitat
                           development of a system for tracking      stations across St. Thomas. Called          associations. The field work will
 • Biocomplexity of        the species and numbers of birds          “point count sites,” these stations are     continue on a regular basis so that any
 Caribbean Coral Reefs     found in the Virgin Islands as good       already providing new data about            changes occurring in the bird popula-
 (BCCR) Update             “indicators” of environmental             what species of birds are found in          tions from human disturbances, habitat
                           conditions. The project is looking at     which sites and their habitat               destruction, or other factors can be
 Highlights                endemic species (found here and           requirements. Once data has been            determined.
                           only here), resident species, and         collected over time, often for several          Another important product of this
 • VI-EPSCoR               migratory species that over-winter or     years, we can also get a good idea of       research will be to help scientists
 Strategic Plan            just pass through on their annual         any population trends that might be         studying the same birds throughout the
                           migrations between South and North        happening. This information will be         Caribbean and the Western Hemi-
 submitted to NSF          America.                                  essential for making decisions about        sphere to understand their biology and
 EPSCoR                        Since birds breathe the same air,     where further development can safely        conservation needs better. Preliminary
 • VI-EPSCoR Semi-         drink the same water, and eat from        occur and which areas are vital to the      results will be shared during the Annual
 Annual Report             the same food chain as people do,         survival of our wildlife species.           Meeting of the Caribbean Society for
 submitted to NSF          they are often considered a useful             During the spring semester this        the Study and Conservation of Birds
                           indicator of environmental health for     year, Dr. Corven worked with under-         scheduled for early August 2005 in
 EPSCoR                    humans.                                                                               Guadeloupe.
                                                                     graduate students in the Ecology
 • VI-EPSCoR 2 yr
                               Scientists have found a disturb-
 funding approved by       ing tendency in bird populations
 NSF EPSCoR                                                          Outreach Update                   by Eugene Gottlieb Jr.
 • VI-EPSCoR Web
 site to be launched in    Program Coordinator’s                     The VI-EPSCoR program                        Mr. Cruickshank met with faculty
 August                    Update by Meri Whitaker                   sponsored an NSF Outreach Day                one-on-one and in small groups
 • VI-EPSCoR BCCR                                                    for UVI research and teaching                to discuss their research interests
 research faculty update                                             faculty with Mr. John Cruickshank            and possible NSF connec-
                             The last few months have seen
                                                                     of the NSF Education and Human               tions. He also met with our
                             some important milestones in
                                                                     Resources (EHR) directorate. Mr.             sponsored research office to
                             the first year of the VI-EPSCoR
                                                                     Cruickshank is the senior program            discuss NSF post-award grant
                             grant. We finalized our four-
                                                                     and grant analyst working directly           management and current issues
                             year strategic plan and
                                                                     under the Assistant Director for             in audit/grant administration.
                             submitted it to the National
                                                                     the Directorate of Education and
                             Science Foundation. We also
                                                                     Human Resources (EHR).                       John Cruickshank has been at
                             submitted the first VI-EPSCoR
                                                                     The EHR Directorate is very                  NSF for over 18 years and has
                             Annual Report. We completed
                                                                     supportive of Mr. Cruickshank’s              served as a grant officer for every
                             our first year of NSF funding
                                                                     outreach efforts to broaden                  directorate in the Foundation.
                             and submitted a request for the
                                                                     participation, particularly to HBCU          Over the years he has also been
                             second year. Happily, we just
                                                                     and minority-serving institutions            intimately involved in outreach
                             received notification that our
                                                                     such as UVI. He provided                     efforts on behalf of the Found-
                             second year of funding has
                                                                     information about the Education              ation and its many offices. He
                             been approved.
                                                                     and Biological Sciences Direc-               was happy to share information
                                                                     torates in addition to other NSF-            not only about the Education and
                             We look forward to holding
                                                                     wide funding opportunities,                  Human Resources Directorate,
                             our first annual conference
                                                                     emerging areas, proposal                     but also the names of contact
                             on September 23 and 24;
                                                                     processing, grant administration             people, research initiatives, and
                             and we expect to launch the
                                                                     and post-award grant manage-                 directorates with related-activities
                             VI-EPSCoR website by the
                                                                     ment.                                        at NSF.
                             end of summer.
                                            VI-EPSCoR Newsletter
May 2005
Volume 3, Issue 2                                                                                                      Page 2 of 2
Staff Highlight:                     BCCR Update by Dr. Richard Nemeth
Dr. Meri Whitaker                    Renovations:
                                     MacLean Marine Science
                                                                        Both of these excursions
                                                                        were sponsored by the
                                                                                                            Rico, Mayagüez, and the
                                                                                                            University of the Virgin Islands
                                     Center                             Environmental Association           in organizing the nascent
Joining VI-EPSCoR as                 The laboratory lab benches         of St. Thomas. Currently, Dr.       Caribbean Regional Association
Program Coordinator is Meri          have arrived for the three         Idrisi is at the University of      (CaRA) for an ocean-observing
Whitaker, Ph.D. Dr. Whitaker         research labs and teaching         Miami collaborating with            system for the US-Caribbean
received her Ph.D. and M.A.          classroom. We are scheduling       RSMAS scientists on a major         exclusive economic zone,
from Stanford University in          their installation this month.     grant proposal dealing with         and in building its base of active
agricultural economics and           Improved lighting and flooring     ocean modeling.                     stakeholders and developing its
her B.S. degree from the             have also been completed in                                            strategic plan. Watlington is
Massachusetts Institute of           the research and teaching          Dr. Sandra Romano submitted         a member of the National
Technology. She has been             space. Three new offices and       an NSF proposal entitled            Federation of Regional Associa-
involved in research and             an upgraded conference room        “Collaborative research:            tions, which, as an organ
research management in Syria,        are slated for completion by the   Assembling the tree of life—        managed by the federal consor-
India, Egypt, and the U.S.           end of May 2005. This will         An integrative approach to          tium OceanUS, is intended to
Dr. Whitaker hopes to continue       make room for the new              investigating cnidarians            coordinate the regional associa-
the superb work of Dr. Camille       research faculty.                  phylogeny.” The goal of the         tions.
McKayle, her predecessor,                                               proposal, which was submitted
who will return to teaching          VIERS                              in March 2005, is to conduct a      Dr. Stuart Ketcham presented a
mathematics while continuing         The CZM permit for the VIERS       systematic revision of the          seminar on his research, entitled
to support VI-EPSCoR's work.         renovation has been accepted       phylum of animals, including        “Investigation of genetic
                                     and a public hearing was held      jellyfish, anemones, and corals,    differentiation among populations
  VI-EPSCoR Governing                on May 4, 2005. The CZM            based on comprehensive              of the long-spined black sea
  Committee:                         issued its final decision on May   molecular data. Dr. Romano          urchin in marine habitats
  * Frank Schulterbrandt, Esq.,      20, and the permit was granted.    will investigate the group that     surrounding St. Croix,” as part of
  Chair of the Governing             The construction crew is           includes reef corals. The           the VI-EPSCoR Seminar Series
  Committee                          scheduled to begin work the        proposal is in collaboration with   on April 12, 2005.
  * LaVerne Ragster, PhD,            first week of June.                a number of colleagues at
  Vice-chair of the Governing
                                                                        various institutions, including   Dr. Tamara Romanuk was
  * Hon. Donna Christensen, MD,      Faculty:                           University of Kansas, University  selected by the search committee
  Member of Congress                 Dr. Nasseer Idrisi has been        of Ohio, and Duke University.     for the VI-EPSCoR invertebrate
  * Hon. Lorraine Berry,             very active in his first few                                         biologist research assistant
  President V.I. Legislature         months here at UVI. He gave        Prof. Roy Watlington received faculty position. She comes with
  * Anna Hector, President,          two seminars on his research,      word that two proposals fielded strong credentials in food web
  St. Croix Chamber of Commerce      one at the VI-EPSCoR science       during the fall semester have     dynamics and energy flows of
  * Hon. Noreen Michael, PhD,        seminar series (Feb. 22, 2005)     borne fruit. The first is a small marine systems. Dr. Romanuk
  Commissioner, Department
  of Education
                                     and a second for the Water         grant from the National Institute currently holds a NSERC (Natural
  * Richard Nemeth, PhD,             Resources Conference (Feb.         of Water Resources to support Sciences and Engineering
  Director, Center for Marine        24, 2005). He also taught two      the development of modules for Research Council of Canada)
  & Environmental Studies            lectures and two field/lab         training researchers, students,   post-doctoral fellowship at the
                , ring.
  * Hon. Dean Plaskett, Esq.,        exercises for the Oceanog-         and others in the use of key      University of Quebec and is
  Commissioner, Department of        raphy course on April 8 and 15,    hydrographic/hydrologic           working at the Pacific Ecoinfor-
  Planning & Natural Resources       2005. He coauthored and            instruments. As a part of this    matics and Computational
  * David Sharp, President           submitted a Sea Grant pre-         grant, the high-precision         Ecology Lab. Our HR department
  & CEO, Innovative Telephone
  * Henry H. Smith, PhD,
                                     proposal, entitled “Integration    salinometer used in the           is in the process of filing visa
  UVI Interim-Provost and            of spatial and temporal patterns   Anegada Climate Tracers           application forms for her to work
  VI-EPSCoR Project Director         of coral reef resources in the     Study (ACTS) will be repaired,    in the USVI.
  * Robert Stolz, PhD,               Virgin Islands,” with Dr. Marc     recalibrated, and returned to
  UVI Faculty Representative,        Boumedine of the Division          use as both a research and        Equipment:
  St. Thomas                         of Science and Math and            training tool. Funding is also    The new research vessel will be
  * Thomas N. Taylor, PhD,           Stevie Henry of the Eastern        included for a nephelometer       going through a sea trial at the
  Kansas EPSCoR                      Caribbean Center’s Conser-         attachment for the ACTS CTD       end of May 2005 and is slated
  * President, St. Thomas/St. John
  Chamber of Commerce
                                     vation Data Center. Dr. Idrisi     probe.                            for delivery in June 2005. The
  * T.H. Lee Williams, PhD,          also participated in an NSF-                                         ADCP current meters have been
  Oklahoma EPSCoR                    CAREER workshop in Las             Notification was also received    deployed for three months on a
  * Richard Moore, PhD,              Vegas, NV, on March 11–12,         of a pending award from the       multi-species spawning
  Economist                          2005. Finally, on Feb. 26, 2005,   NOAA/Coastal Services Center aggregation site and will be
                                     he led a whale watch and           through a direct grant to the     retrieved and data downloaded
  Contact VI-EPSCoR at               snorkeling excursion and a         University of Puerto Rico,        in early June 2005, following the
                                     beach clean-up and snorkeling      Mayagüez. This award will         completion of the spawning
  (340) 693-1478 or by
                                     excursion on St. Thomas.           support the University of Puerto season.
  e-mail: viepscor@uvi.edu

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