VI-EPSCoR

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VI-EPSCoR is a Territorial program of the
National Science Foundation hosted by
the University of the Virgin Islands

 

The Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR) was awarded $20,000,000 by the National Science Foundation to implement the project Mare Nostrum Caribbean: Stewardship through Strategic Research and Workforce Development. The project period is August, 2014 – July, 2019.

This grant presents a unique opportunity to address the implications of climate change for insular social-ecological systems. Small island communities suffer from a suite of similar problems: limited natural resources, narrow economic base, emigration of young professionals seeking better economic opportunities, heavy reliance on outside entities for goods and services, and the ever-increasing threat of global climate change. 

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, similar to many Caribbean island nations, nearshore marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs, are key to its economic viability, but they are also especially vulnerable to both land and water-based human activities and oceanographic climatic disturbances. The USVI is in a prime position to conduct coral reef research that will synthesize knowledge about the various factors that control degradation, tolerance, and resilience of caribbean coral reef ecosystems so that the best management strategies and be identified. 

The success of these management strategies, however, will ultimately be determined by the ability and capacity of the local communities, stakeholders and citizens to actively participate and self-organize in stewardship of these marine and environmental ecosystems. Improving the quantitative, scientific and educational skill levels of the Virgin Islands' workforce will be key to sustainability for insular communities reliant on natural resources. To achieve this goal, Mare Nostrum Caribbean has invested in building capacity for cutting edge research, implemented workforce development strategies, fosters emerging areas of research and engages the public in outreach.

Our research serves as a central focal point to strengthen both formal and informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; increase the level of environmental stewardship; and lead to better informed decision making in management of our marine and other natural resources.

A more aware and highly educated citizenry will lead to more diversified and sustainable economic development options for the territory. Lessons learned and models that will be developed through our research can be utilized by other insulate communities.

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VI-epscor program administration

 
Kim Waddell, Ph.D. Director

Kim Waddell, Ph.D.
Director

 
Nicolas C. Drayton Assistant Director

Nicolas C. Drayton
Assistant Director

Kaisa Prentice Program Manager

Kaisa Prentice
Program Manager

Richard Nemeth, Ph.D. Research Professor of Zoology/Marine Biology, Senior Scientist

Richard Nemeth, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Zoology/Marine Biology, Senior Scientist

 

Mare Nostrum research programs

coral reef Research

Paul D. Jobsis, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Marine & Environmental Studies, Associate Professor of Biology, Research Administrator III

Paul D. Jobsis, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Marine & Environmental Studies, Associate Professor of Biology, Research Administrator III

Marilyn E. Brandt, Ph.D. Research Associate Professor of Marine and Environmental Science

Marilyn E. Brandt, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor of Marine and Environmental Science

Tyler B. Smith, Ph.D. Associate Research Professor of Marine Science

Tyler B. Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor of Marine Science

 

Emerging research

Kristin Wilson Grimes, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor of Watershed Ecology; Director of the Virgin Islands Water Resources Research Institute (VI WRRI)

Kristin Wilson Grimes, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Watershed Ecology; Director of the Virgin Islands Water Resources Research Institute (VI WRRI)

Sennai Y. Habtes, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor of Biological Oceanography

Sennai Y. Habtes, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Biological Oceanography

 
 

workforce development

Sandra Romano, Ph.D. Dean of College of Science and Mathematics

Sandra Romano, Ph.D.
Dean of College of Science and Mathematics

Nastassia N. Jones, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Science Education

Nastassia N. Jones, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Science Education

Celil Ekici, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Celil Ekici, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics

 

cyber infrastructure

Kelly N. Harrigan IT Engineer

Kelly N. Harrigan
IT Engineer

 

education, outreach & diversity  /  citizen science 

Joseph DeMarco Citizen Science Coordinator

Joseph DeMarco
Citizen Science Coordinator

Migdalia Roach Community Engagement Specialist St. Croix District

Migdalia Roach
Community Engagement Specialist
St. Croix District

Imani Daniel Community Engagement Specialist St. Thomas / St. John District

Imani Daniel
Community Engagement Specialist
St. Thomas / St. John District

 

support & communication

Resa Berkeley Data Specialist

Resa Berkeley
Data Specialist

Elisa Bryan Lacatena Communication Specialist

Elisa Bryan Lacatena
Communication Specialist

Tracelyn C. Otto Administrative Assistant I

Tracelyn C. Otto
Administrative Assistant I

Melissa T. Williams Administrative Assistant II

Melissa T. Williams
Administrative Assistant II


 

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