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National Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program 2020-2022

The National Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program is a partnership between Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, and the U.S. Coral Reef All Islands Committee.

The program recruits Coral Reef Management Fellows for the seven U.S. coral reef jurisdictions (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) to address current capacity gaps and to build longer-term capacity in these locations. This is done by placing highly qualified individuals whose education and work experience meet each jurisdiction’s specific coral reef management needs. The program’s goal is to develop a thriving collaborative fellowship program that builds excellent next-generation leaders and capacity for effective local coral reef ecosystem management.

American Samoa • Valentine Vaeoso

Valentine Vaeoso (Tine) was born and raised in American Samoa and received her B.S. in Marine Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. As the Fellow in American Samoa, Tine will be working with the Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG) and partners to conduct coral restoration trials in the village of Aua and to identify and reduce land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and implementing best management practices in the village of Fagasa. In addition, she will help create community working groups for Aua and Fagasa to assist with monitoring restoration after establishment, conduct water quality sampling and village outreach.


CNMI • Ilan Bubb

Born in Gainesville Florida, Ilan Bubb received his B.A. in Environmental Science and Political Science from New College of Florida and his M.E.M. in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University. As the fellow for Saipan, CNMI, Ilan will be working to integrate fire management within the island's three priority watersheds into established coral conservation priorities and goals. In doing this they will fill in knowledge gaps regarding the connection between upland fires and the sedimentation of coral reefs. In addition Ilan will work with Saipan's Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality to implement best management practices to facilitate fire suppression, erosion control and invasive species removal.


Florida • Victoria Barker

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Victoria Barker holds a B.A. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina and an M.A.S. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University. As the fellow in South Florida, Barker will focus primarily on coordinating the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Response Team across the Florida Reef Tract. This will include working with federal and state partners, as well as universities and non-governmental organizations to better understand and mitigate this coral threat.


Guam • Cara Lin

Originally, from New York, Cara received her B.S. in Marine Sciences from Stony Brook University and M.S. in Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Cara's work during the fellowship will focus on protecting and restoring Guam's mangroves and seagrasses. She will compile information such as historical reports, imagery, interviews, and local regulations to better understand the current state of these ecosystems, and use that knowledge to organize community based restoration initiatives. She will also work with decision makers, local schools, and the public regarding the health and value of seagrass and mangroves communities. Additionally, Cara will assist the Guam Coral Reef Response Team with invasive species removal and monitoring efforts.


Hawaii • Bert Weeks

Bert Weeks was born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. He received his B.S. in Biology from The University of Puget Sound and a M.A.S in Marine Conservation and Biodiversity from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego. During his fellowship, Bert will work with the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources. His work will focus on developing the State’s capacity for coral restoration, coordinating multi-agency partnerships for coral reef management, and furthering the Marine 30x30 Initiative, a state-led program to effectively manage 30 percent of Hawaii’s nearshore waters by 2030.


Puerto Rico • Justin Cruz LeDuc

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Justin Cruz LeDuc holds a B.S. from Antillean Adventist University in Puerto Rico and a M.A.S in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California- San Diego. As a Coral fellow in Puerto Rico, Justin will work to develop strategic conservation and management plans to combat the ongoing coral problem related to Stony Coral Tissue Loss disease in the Caribbean at the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. He will work with both private and governmental agencies to create and apply the best conservation strategies to lessen the effects of this imminent coral hazard.


US Virgin Islands • Matt Davies

Matt Davies is originally from Caerphilly, Wales, but immigrated to the United States in 2018. He received a BSc in Zoology from Cardiff University in 2012 and an MSc in Marine Environmental Management from the University of York in 2017. Davies will work with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources at the St. Croix East End Marine Park (STXEEMP). He will lead the Responsible Boating Initiative, which aims prevent the negative impacts of boaters on STXEEMP’s natural resources, by working closely with the Department of Environmental Enforcement to develop an efficient system of monitoring mooring and anchoring within the territory, and through outreach programs within the boating community. Additionally, with the arrival of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) in the USVI in January 2019, he will coordinate the St. Croix SCTLD Strike Team to facilitate the early detection and response to the disease in St. Croix's waters.


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