This award provides support for improvements in the the Archbold Tropical Research and Education Center (ATREC), located on the island of Dominica, the only non-marine field research station in the Lesser Antilles. ATREC is housed at Springfield Plantation, which is owned by Clemson University, and is composed of almost 20,000 ft2 of building space and 92 hectares of secondary forest. The location of ATREC provides easy access for students and researchers to a wide variety of habitat types: lowland and montane rain forest, elfin forest, tropical dry forest, littoral forest, volcanic fumaroles and their associated highly specialized vegetation, beaches with nesting sea turtles, two freshwater lakes, one boiling lake, over a hundred rivers, and coral reefs. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a United Nations World Heritage site, is within walking distance of the station, while the Northern Forest Reserve, Morne Diablotin and Cabrits National Parks are less than an hour away by car. In the last five years, field courses from seven U.S. universities have been based at ATREC, most returning year after year. Three more North American universities are expected to use the station this year, with 2006 use expected to triple the annual number of station use days in comparison to the level in 2000 & 2001. A strategic planning effort in 2005 identified the most urgent needs for improvements in fixed infrastructure and equipment to accommodate this growth. Funds provided with this award, in combination with institutional funds, will address these needs by renovating the plumbing and roofing for the entire field station, creating a secure collections facility and wet lab within existing the existing structures, and updating existing classrooms and kitchen. Funds are also provided to replace a 20 year old station truck and to add a weather monitoring station. The renovations and additions will serve to increase the capacity of the field station to serve the varied and increasing needs of students and researchers studying ecology, evolutionary biology, limnology, and geology in the Lesser Antilles. The island of Dominica is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, but has unparalleled biological resources. Almost 70% of the island is still covered by native vegetation, including the best examples of the Lesser Antilles' most endangered habitats. With the aid of this award, ATREC is expected to become a regional center for science and conservation, bringing together researchers and decision makers from all over the Lesser Antilles and Caribbean. It already serves as a nation-wide biological education center for both Dominicans and international visitors. At the university level, ATREC provides tremendous opportunities for collaboration between North American students and researchers with their counterparts at the Dominica branch of the University of the West Indies and Dominica State College. The award will help safeguard Dominica's National Herbarium, which is housed at ATREC.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Peter H. McCartney
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Clemson University
United States
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