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

December 08, 2010

MIAMI - December 8, 2010 -- University of Miami (UM) graduate student Véronique 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 Dié. 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. www.veroproductions.com

"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.
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The series is supported through a grant from The Batchelor Foundation and WPBT2. Excerpts from the Emmy® award-winning show can be seen at www.changingseas.tv

About WPBT2

South Florida's premier public broadcaster, WPBT2, is a community-licensed, not-for-profit media enterprise serving communities from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. WPBT2 provides high quality content from PBS, independent acquisitions and its own original productions. WPBT2's digital media platform, offers: 2HD, a 24-hour high definition channel; Digital 2.2, a mix of Science & Nature Channel, Culturas, The Florida Channel and Create; Digital 2.3, V-me, a 24-hour national Spanish-language network; and www.wpbt2.org, the WPBT2 website including, Impromp2 (a community blog), the WPBT2 Video Player and uVu, a video sharing website.

About the UM Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami's mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu.

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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