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UVI Awarded $20M National Science Foundation Grant for VI-EPSCoR's “Ridge to Reef” Project

The Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR) has been awarded funding for its fourth National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR grant titled “Ridge to Reef”. The Ridge to Reef (R2F) project is a five-year, $20 million grant dedicated to addressing the impacts of changing environmental conditions on small island social-ecological systems such as those in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), VI-EPSCoR is a territorial program of the National Science Foundation. Its focus is on developing both infrastructure and human capacity to conduct marine research that improves management and stewardship of marine ecosystems. 

“Coral reefs, the most diverse ecosystems in the world, are under threat from climate change and extreme weather events,” explained NSF EPSCoR program officer John-David Swanson. “This award provides researchers the opportunity to explore how island systems, including coral reef and mangrove systems, recover after dramatic weather events such as the 2017 hurricanes that devastated the islands,” he said. 

The Ridge to Reef project will address a number of questions such as how land-use practices impact the health of coastal ecosystems, what additional factors impact the resilience of the Territory’s coral reefs, which factors are essential to the biodiversity of a coral reef ecosystem, and how biodiversity might impact the success of ecological restoration efforts. In addition, R2R provides funding to advance science literacy within the Virgin Islands and encourages STEM integration in the Territory’s schools and at the University of the Virgin Islands.   

More information is available in a news release on the Media Section of the UVI website – - and from this  direct link.