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Carpenter's Marine Diversity Work Featured on Public Television

Kent Carpenter, the Old Dominion University marine biologist who has been working for decades to document the rich marine diversity in waters of the Coral Triangle formed by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, is featured in a "Wild Chronicles" program that will be broadcast beginning in late April on public television.

"Wild Chronicles" is supported by National Geographic Mission Programs, the science and education arm of the National Geographic Society. The weekly, half-hour program covers a range of topics including culture, science, conservation and the environment.

The episode featuring Carpenter's work is No. 411 and titled "Life Aquatic." He is in the third segment of the episode. (Consult local television listings and the Web sites of WHRO.org or UNCTV.org for show times because the schedule is varied. A spokeswoman for WHRO said "Wild Chronicles" is shown on its World Channel, which is at channel 107 on Cox Cable in Hampton Roads, but that the "Life Aquatic" episode had not yet been scheduled.)

The Coral Triangle covers less than 1 percent of the world's ocean surface, yet it contains more sea creatures than anywhere else on the planet. The "Wild Chronicles" episode, part of which was shot on the ODU campus, explains how Carpenter and other scientists are conducting a five-year genetic study to determine where such great biodiversity came from and how it's connected to other marine life on Earth.

Carpenter is principal investigator on a $2.5 million project funded by the National Science Foundation in 2007 to study biodiversity in the Coral Triangle. The Partnerships for International Research and Education award is providing support for scientists from 15 universities, including Duke, Penn State and NYU in the United States, and others in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Old Dominion University Research Foundation is administering the grant.

A main goal of the project is to determine why the Coral Triangle has such rich diversity in fishes. New techniques in genetics and ocean current research will be put to use.

Also in 2007, the Global Marine Species Assessments project, which Carpenter leads and is headquartered at ODU, received a $1 million shot in the arm from one of its sponsoring organizations, the World Conservation Union.

Carpenter's past work with the World Conservation Union and Conservation International has included a focus on waters near the Philippines, where he has documented the existence of a region that has the richest shorefish biodiversity in the world.

This article was posted on: April 15, 2009

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