Archived Issue August 2010

Photo: Lee Ann Beddoe

With this year designated as International Year of Biodiversity, we thought it fitting to look at what this complex area entails and why it is so important to the planet.

The St. Augustine Campus of The UWI is the home of three important sites of biodiversity: the Cocoa Research Unit which is the custodian of the world renowned International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad (ICG,T), the National Herbarium, which is a regional repository of botanical life, and the Zoology Museum, with thousands of specimens. We look at these three sites, as well as the work being done by postgraduate students in relevant areas.

Our cover photograph shows one of them, Michelle Cazabon-Mannette with a Hawksbill turtle in Tobago waters. Her research has been on two species, the Hawksbill and the Green turtle, their distribution, their habits, their genetics and, as an aside, their value as a tourist attraction to scuba divers.

Two of our researchers, Prof Andrew Lawrence and Dr Howard Nelson explain how our rich biodiversity is not only a source of natural wealth, but brings measurable economic value to our islands. The UWI is now running a pilot for a new Edulink-funded biodiversity MSc programme to begin in the following academic year, and it looks fascinating in terms of its scope.

The planet’s efforts to preserve biodiversity have been falling way below the targets set at the last major world conference in 2002. Indeed, the latest reports, due to be discussed at the global Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Japan, in October 2010, will show that species are still growing extinct at an alarming rate.

With the Caribbean so naturally blessed, we have a great responsibility not to squander our resources, the consequences are too dire.

Other Top Stories

A true Trini bird
Precious Pawi
Helping Haiti
Vice Chancellor’s Lecture
The seahorse who went for a ride
Underwater journeys

UWI Calendar September - October 2010

UWI Life
Wednesday 1 to Monday 6 September, 2010
UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Religion in the Caribbean
Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 September, 2010
UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Reflections, Relevance and Continuity
Saturday 18 to Sunday 19 September, 2010
UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Art, Design and Architecture in our Space
Wednesday 6 October, 2010
UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad
COTE 2010
Thursday 7 and Friday 8 October, 2010
UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Changing Times, Changing Markets, Changing Priorities
Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th November, 2010
Melbourne, Australia

Also In This Issue

  What makes us a hotspot? What makes the Caribbean such a hotspot of biodiversity?
And what is biodiversity anyway?
  From the Principal: Welcome back
  US Assistant Secretary of State visits The UWI
  The Prof we knew: Two Students pay Tribute
  Determined to make a difference
  New Programme: Biodiversity MSc and Diploma
  The Old Curiosity Museum
  The Curator of the Curious
  The Home of Botany
  The House of Cocoa
  Preserving Nature’s Bounty
  Farmers at School
  Honour Roll: Journal article of the year award
  Meeting of minds
  How do we help Haiti?