SD Mines Paleontologist Lands Fulbright Scholarship to Study Invasive Species Impact

SD Mines alumnus Broc Kokesh has received a Fulbright Scholarship to study invasive species impact in Jamaica.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology alumnus Broc Kokesh has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Kokesh graduated with a master’s degree in paleontology in May. This Fulbright award takes him to Jamaica.  

Kokesh is studying how an ecosystem responds following the introduction of an invasive species. His work compares diversity between living mollusk (clams, snails, etc.) communities and co-occurring dead shells from the Kingston Harbor. His research examines the ecological effects of invasive green mussels, which were introduced in 1998 via ballast water from shipping traffic. However, since about 2010, green mussels appear to have receded in abundance for reasons unknown. Questions remain as to how the invasion affected native fauna, and Kokesh brings a paleontological perspective by focusing on dead shell diversity. Human-introduced invasive species are a global problem and this research may lend insight to invasive species management and impact in other parts of the world. 

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Kokesh is working with scientists and students at the University of the West Indies. This includes work with the university’s own museum of geology to prepare presentations on invasive species, particularly the parallels between the green mussel invasion in the Caribbean and zebra mussels in the Great Lakes region where he grew up. Kokesh is also working with scientists and students at the Port Royal Marine Laboratory in Kingston.

Kokesh plans to pursue doctorate studies in paleobiology at the University of Chicago after finishing his Fulbright. 

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright scholars address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

 

Last edited 8/3/2018 3:15:52 PM

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