From the Mountains to the Shorelines: Ridge to Reef

November 19, 2021

Author: Victoria Scott, Bates College

Students in grove

Ship's Log

Location
Discovery Grove

Weather Conditions
Mostly sunny, light winds, and HOT

Souls on Board

Greetings from SEA Class C301!

As the CRX class nears the end of our onshore stay on St. Croix, we have been looking longingly towards the SSV Corwith Cramer; she is docked in Christiansted, and we have gotten the opportunity to see her on the van rides to and from our reef surveys. It has certainly been a busy week on the island, but today we were able to enjoy some much-needed quiet time to work and stay out of the sun.

Dr. Kim Waddell

Dr. Kim Waddell, director of VI-EPSCoR (Image credit: “The St. Thomas Source: US Virgin Islands”)

After receiving our final PCR tests at the community testing center, we drove back to the Grove and enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by our resident cook, Erica (she’s bringing home some roti for us tonight and I have been looking forward to it ALL week!) As the last few of us made our way back to campus, we connected to a Zoom call hosted by our dear professor, Erin Bryant, who we unfortunately had to leave back in Woods Hole. It was great to see her face (sans mask) again since our departure last week.

Erin had scheduled this call to give us the opportunity to speak with Dr. Kim Waddell, director for the Virgin Islands Established Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR). The 14-year-old program is based at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and is supported by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Waddell spent much of the time specifically describing their ridge to reef initiative – an approach to conservation which seeks to study land-based threats to local marine ecosystems originating anywhere from the coastlines to the mountains.

Litter, agricultural runoff, and other environmentally harmful anthropogenic inputs far from the shorelines eventually make their way into the local marine/reef ecosystems; tackling this issue requires a holistic, integrated approach to conservation. Waddell and his cohorts have spearheaded this initiative through researching climate change and its associated impacts on reef resilience, shoreline pollution and its effects on marine ecosystems, ecological restoration, and creating a prepared, local workforce. Dr. Waddell described EPSCoR’s various methods for fostering VI resident conservation participation – he has a vision of creating a generational initiative, through advising teachers’ curriculums in the local school districts to funding graduate students who wish to join the task force.

Having the opportunities to interact with the people whose work we were researching onshore in Woods Hole is an invaluable experience. It’s conversations like these that allow us to ground truth our conclusions and policy briefs that we wrote before coming to St. Croix.

Hope you all are ready for the upcoming logs as much as we’re ready to get on board Cramer! CRX over and out.

- Victoria Scott, Bates College

P.S.: Love you lots Mom and Dad!
P.P.S.: Miss you Ridge! Tell Andrew that Kelly has been exposing him.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications, 508-444-1918 | dkarlson@sea.edu

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