Hispanic Serving Institutions Supported
NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science is committed to increasing opportunities for Minority Serving Institutions to participate in coastal ocean ecosystems research. NCCOS supports competitive research at U.S. Department of Education designated Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HSIs, such as the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez (UPR-M), Nova Southeastern University (Nova), and Florida International University (FIU).
Programs at Nova and FIU support coral reef conservation research and development of conceptual ecological models and indicators for south Florida; and programs at UPR-M support coral reef conservation research and monitoring in the U.S. Caribbean.
At UPR-M, NCCOS has funded long-term coral reef research programs, which have directly supported several Hispanic graduate students in pursuit of M.S. and Ph.D. degrees through graduate assistantships. As part of the Deep Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies Program, three Hispanic students and one Hispanic staff member received extensive training in advanced technical research diving. As a result, these students achieved a level of expertise shared by only a handful of research divers worldwide and have improved the understanding of deep reefs in the U.S. Caribbean, placing Puerto Rico clearly at the forefront of this deep-water research. In addition to providing the means to conduct research, NCCOS funding has allowed students to participate in scientific symposia, as well as to publish their research results in peer-reviewed journals.
NCCOS funding has not only greatly increased research capabilities at UPR-M, but also contributes economically on local and regional scales through the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI). CCRI sponsors scientific research and monitoring programs that address short and long-term management-driven priorities for the understanding and managing of coral reef ecosystems in the U.S. Caribbean. CCRI provides scientific information and recommendations to the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources for management of Puerto Rico