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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of The Virgin Islands
  • Kim Waddell
  • (340) 692-1628
  • Richard Nemeth
  • Tyler Smith
Award Date:06/16/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 20,000,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 4,490,153
  • FY 2020=$4,490,153
Start Date:07/01/2020
End Date:06/30/2025
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.083
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:RII Track-1: Ridge to Reef Processes and Interdependent Drivers of Small Island Resilience
Federal Award ID Number:1946412
DUNS ID:090003765
Parent DUNS ID:090003765
Program:EPSCoR Research Infrastructure
Program Officer:
  • Andrea Johnson
  • (703) 292-5164

Awardee Location

Street:#2 John Brewers Bay
City:Charlotte Amalie
County:St Thomas
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of The Virgin Islands
Street:2 John Brewers Bay
County:St Thomas
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

As the environment continues to change both through natural and human influenced means, catastrophic events such as hurricanes are projected to have much larger devastating effects on small island territories such as the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is easily seen in the increased destruction and lack of recovery of coral reefs that surround the islands that are a major tourism draw and key part of the island economy. For example, due to building of new and replacement island infrastructure that causes runoff into the ocean, and increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change, hurricane effects have been particularly devastating to coral reefs. To better understand the effects of this interlinked island and reef system, this project will use multiple scientific methods and state-of-the-art techniques to understand how coral reefs and the plants and animals that live in them recovered from the 2017 hurricanes, while also investigating how the island can put in place natural systems such as mangroves and seagrass that can act to stabilize their environment, for example, by acting as natural water filters. The project will also address the need to build an educated work force and will help local communities play an active role in the stewardship of their islands. This scientific infrastructure improvement project based in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) addresses the territory's nearshore marine ecosystems with their associated coral reefs, which are key to the economic viability and food security of the islands. However, coral reefs and associated habitats are especially vulnerable to stressors such as oceanographic-climatic perturbations, and to land- and water-based human activities, which often magnify the negative effects of natural disturbances, such as the 2017 Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria. Within this small island territory, what will ultimately determine the future of its social-ecological systems, is the ability and capacity of its citizens to protect and to actively participate in the stewardship of these environments. Using an interdisciplinary state-of-the-art approach, this project will analyze both the impacts of interventions on flux of terrestrial pollutants on coral reef ecosystems, and the impact of biodiversity on ecological restoration in coral reef and mangrove and seagrass habitats. Additionally, this project will focus on improving the quantitative, scientific, and educational levels of the USVI workforce by improving STEM education, which will be the key to sustainability for the territory. This will be accomplished through a wide variety of high impact strategies that include formal and informal STEM education and by increasing the level of environmental stewardship that will lead to better informed decision making in the management of 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. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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