& training Initiative on Coastal-ecosystems
& human Health (I-RICH)
Although the causes and consequences of human impacts on coastal
ecosystems have been studied extensively over the past 50 years,
most of this research has lacked an integrative approach. This
situation is largely due to the fact that impacts such as those
caused by harmful algal blooms (HAB), diseases, and pollutants
are often studied by scientists trained in specific disciplines.
There is a growing realization that such narrowly focused studies
cannot adequately elucidate the complexities associated with
the health of coastal ecosystems. In addition, human impacts
and their causative pressures are often a consequence of large
scale driving forces (e.g., climate change) that cannot be fully
understood by isolated research efforts. In order to ensure
an interdisciplinary approach, post-doctoral fellows and graduate
students will receive broad training in marine sciences (oceanography
& marine biology) and specific training in one of several
focus areas: Marine Pathogens/Diseases, Emerging Pollutants,
or HABs. Cross-disciplinary collaborations among I-RICH participants
will likely lead to novel approaches and understanding of coastal
environments, human impacts and the direct and indirect effects
on human health.
The consortium is made up of three major collaborating institutions
as well as several other participating units.
I. Collaborating Institutions
1. University of Connecticut
- The top-ranked public university in New England according
to the latest published annual report on R&D Expenditures
in 2006. It is a fully accredited institution and has ample
capacity for graduate training, post-doc mentoring and research
a. Department of
Marine Sciences carries out excellence in research, scholarship,
education and service in the area of coastal ocean science.
For more information contact Drs. J. Evan Ward (email@example.com)
or Hans Dam (firstname.lastname@example.org).
b. Department of
Pathobiology and Veterinary Science pursues research, outreach
and education relevant to a broad diversity of infectious diseases.
For more information contact Drs. Sylvain DeGuise (email@example.com)
or Salvatore Frasca (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Mystic Aquarium
and Institute for Exploration - For over thirty years, Mystic
Aquarium & Institute for Exploration (MAIFE) has remained
one of the nation’s most respected aquariums and leaders
in marine science research and education. MAIFE has made significant
contributions to marine mammal and environmental health related
research utilizing whales, seals, and sea lions in the collection
as well as investigations of wild populations. MAIFE’s
research program is dedicated to broadening our understanding
of the health challenges impacting aquatic species worldwide.
For more information contact Dr. Tracy Romano (tromano@MysticAquarium.org).
3. NOAA, National Marine
Fisheries Service, NFSC, Milford Laboratories - The Milford
Laboratory houses the Aquaculture and Enhancement Division of
the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Several laboratories
are devoted to the culture of microalgae in sufficient quantity
and with sufficient quality (bacteria-free) to conduct rigorous
feeding experiments with bivalve mollusks. A highly regarded
collection of about 250 pure cultures of different species or
strains of microalgae is maintained. The staff tests various
types of microalgae and schedules of feeding to determine the
best conditions for each type of shellfish, in addition to experimental
exposures of shellfish to suspected harmful algae. For more
information contact Dr. Gary Wikfors (email@example.com).
II. Participating Units and Institutions
In addition to the above institutions, the following departments
and institutions are adding valuable expertise to the I-RICH