College of Science & Mathematics
The Research of UVI Professor to be Featured on National TV
2008 Faculty Spotlight
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Research of UVI Professor to be Featured on National TV The research of University of the Virgin Islands Biology Professor Dr. Donna Nemeth 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 Dr. Nemeth's research, which was conducted over a three-year period at the UVI St. Thomas campus MacLean Marine Center and the Virgin Islands 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, Dr. Nemeth explained. The Blue Tang, a local reef fish, is the species most likely to be infected with this flatworm, she said. The research examines the relationship between the parasite and its host, which tell 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," Dr. Nemeth explained. "These 'cleaner organisms' include a variety of fish and shrimps that live on the reef."
The research was conducted by Dr. Nemeth, former UVI professor Dr. Paul Sikkel who is now with Centre College in Kentucky, and UVI alumna 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," Dr. Nemeth said. Although the show is not currently scheduled to air on WTJX-Channel 12 in the Virgin Islands, 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.