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Research of UVI Professor Featured on National TV

July 25, 2008 – The research of University of the Virgin Islands biology professor Donna Nemeth, Ph.D., will be in the national spotlight beginning on Wednesday with the broadcast of a National Geographic public television series "Wild Chronicles." The episode features a "Secrets of the Coral Reef" story that discusses Nemeth's research, which was conducted over a three-year period at the UVI St. Thomas campus's MacLean Marine Center and the V.I. Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) on St. John.
The research is on fish parasites and the cleaning stations they visit. It looks at an external parasite–a flat worm called Monogenean trematode–that lives on the skin of marine fish and feeds on the fish's blood and body fluids, Nemeth explained. The blue tang, a local reef fish, are the fish most likely to be infected with this flatworm. The research examines the relationship between the parasite and its host, which tells scientists about the health of ecosystems and the partnerships that develop between organisms over evolutionary time scales.
"Some partnerships are harmful–such as parasitism. Others are helpful–such as the relationship between fish that have parasites, and the organisms that remove parasites from fish," she said. "These cleaner organisms include a variety of fish and shrimps that live on the reef."
The research was conducted by Nemeth, former UVI professor Paul Sikkel, who is now with Centre College in Kentucky, and UVI alumnus Amber McCammon. Funding was received from VI EPSCoR and Earthwatch.
"It's a really exciting opportunity for us to see our research reach a broader audience," she said. Although the show is not currently scheduled to air on WTJX-Channel 12 in the V.I., it is expected to eventually run on the MSNBC cable channel and to become available as a "Wild Chronicles" podcast. Those podcasts are available from this link: www.nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/shorts.html and from the iTunes Store.

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July 25, 2008 - The research of University of the Virgin Islands biology professor Donna Nemeth, Ph.D., will be in the national spotlight beginning on Wednesday with the broadcast of a National Geographic public television series "Wild Chronicles." The episode features a "Secrets of the Coral Reef" story that discusses Nemeth's research, which was conducted over a three-year period at the UVI St. Thomas campus's MacLean Marine Center and the V.I. Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) on St. John.
The research is on fish parasites and the cleaning stations they visit. It looks at an external parasite--a flat worm called Monogenean trematode--that lives on the skin of marine fish and feeds on the fish's blood and body fluids, Nemeth explained. The blue tang, a local reef fish, are the fish most likely to be infected with this flatworm. The research examines the relationship between the parasite and its host, which tells scientists about the health of ecosystems and the partnerships that develop between organisms over evolutionary time scales.
"Some partnerships are harmful--such as parasitism. Others are helpful--such as the relationship between fish that have parasites, and the organisms that remove parasites from fish," she said. "These cleaner organisms include a variety of fish and shrimps that live on the reef."
The research was conducted by Nemeth, former UVI professor Paul Sikkel, who is now with Centre College in Kentucky, and UVI alumnus Amber McCammon. Funding was received from VI EPSCoR and Earthwatch.
"It's a really exciting opportunity for us to see our research reach a broader audience," she said. Although the show is not currently scheduled to air on WTJX-Channel 12 in the V.I., it is expected to eventually run on the MSNBC cable channel and to become available as a "Wild Chronicles" podcast. Those podcasts are available from this link: www.nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/shorts.html and from the iTunes Store.