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Tuesday, July 16, 2024


July 18, 2003 — A student and an employee at the University of the Virgin Islands spent five weeks in Guam studying coral reef management.
"The first day of diving was like being in a candy store," said Christy Loomis, Geographic Information Specialist at UVI's Eastern Caribbean Center, quoted in a release. "I came out of the water on the first day dazed. They have so many colors," she said, noting the near-perfect visibility of Pacific waters.
"Despite the fact that Guam and the Virgin Islands are literally islands across the world from each other, we all share the same concerns and issues when it comes to marine management," said junior marine biology major Emily Broderick.
"The imminent need is for everyone to start working together towards real solutions," said Broderick, a UVI honor student and one of two undergraduates taking the summer course, "Assessment and Management of Coral Reefs," at the University of Guam.
Taught by top scientists from the University of Guam, the University of Hawaii, the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida, the graduate course is designed to explore techniques for coral reef monitoring given problems brought about by development in economies, technologies and populations.
Loomis said that the class, which included students from several Hawaiian islands and the Marshall Islands, experienced plenty of hands-on learning, spending most of their time in the sea identifying coral, fish, pollution and environmental issues. The group surveyed coral around Guam.
Loomis and Broderick said that they were awestruck by the numerous fish and coral species in the Pacific. Both women were thankful for their experience and exposure. Loomis, who works at ECC's Conservation Data Center, hopes to one day have a more managerial role in marine conservation. Broderick also plans to play a role in marine conservation.
"An entirely new management and preservation system needs to be implemented, one that allows those who hold the ocean and its life sacred to be included in the processes," Broderick said.
Both participants completed a marine ecology course at UVI which helped to prepare them for the course in Guam.
Loomis' and Broderick's room and board, air fare and tuition, were paid for from funds from a University of Guam National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant. They were recommended for the program by UVI Marine Biology Professor Dr. Teresa Turner.

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