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University of Miami marine biology student wins Emmy Award for work on 'Changing Seas'

MIAMI December 8, 2010 -- University of Miami (UM) graduate student Vronique Koch was part of the team honored Saturday night with a Suncoast Emmy for her work on the Changing Seas episode "Sentinels of the Seas." Koch has been an associate producer for the WPBT2 show, produced by Alexa Elliott, since 2009.

The episode recognized with the coveted award is about legacy contaminants and other pollutants that people are putting into our waters, which are finding their way up the food chain, and eventually into human beings through the seafood they consume. Dolphins serve as the proverbial "canaries in the coalmine" since they rely on the oceans completely, and show symptoms associated with the contaminants first. Jenny Litz, a Rosenstiel School of Marine &Atmospheric Science alumnus and adjunct assistant professor, is a fisheries biologist for NOAA's Southeast Florida Science Center. She was featured in the episode speaking about bottlenose dolphin physiology and pollutant levels in dolphins inhabiting Biscayne Bay, Florida.

Koch, who is originally from Luxembourg, is pursuing her master's degree in Marine Biology and Fisheries at UM's Rosenstiel School. She is studying black grouper ecology with Associate Professor and Cooperative Unit for Fisheries Education & Research (CUFER) Director David Di. This slow-breeding species is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List because of its vulnerability to increases in exploitation.

Additionally, Koch started her own production company in 2008 to produce videos with scientific and environmental themes.

"I want to produce media with a purpose, and Changing Seas is the perfect vehicle for this, " said Koch. "It is a shedding a light on our oceans, and the urgent challenges they face. Our goal is to build awareness of this resource and to allow viewers to see the exciting marine science that is being conducted today firsthand."

The team, which includes Elliott, Koch and Co-Assistant Producer Kandra Velez, is already at work on next season's line-up. The new season will feature episodes on the threat of lionfish and the importance of coral restoration efforts, as well as an episode devoted to medicines from the sea, which will feature the National Resource for Aplysia on Virginia Key.


Contact: Barbra Gonzalez, UM Rosenstiel School
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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University of Miami marine biology student wins Emmy Award for work on 'Changing Seas'
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