- Graduate Students
Dexter-Dean Colquhoun was recently awarded a Ph.D. in Marine Sciences (2022) from the Faculty of Science and Technology, The University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI, Mona). Dexter’s thesis is entitled: "The Assessment of Water Quality, Plankton and Trophic Status, Towards Creation and Management of a Special Fishery Conservation Area (S.F.C.A.) in East Portland, Jamaica.” He was supervised by Prof. Mona K. Webber (Centre for Marine Sciences, UWI Mona) and Dr. Gale Persad-Ford (Department of Life Sciences UWI Mona).
Dexter’s interest in biology began in high school at The Wolmer’s Boys’ High School, where he was introduced to the subject in Grade 9, and immediately became intrigued by the seemingly endless knowledge entailed within the various sub-disciplines of the subject (e.g., botany, zoology, entomology, immunology, medicine, etc.), as well as the underlying/fundamental interrelation amongst the (oftentimes very different) sub-disciplines. Marine Biology stood out conspicuously to Dexter, not just because of his love for swimming and ocean life in general, but also because so much was (and even today still is) unexplored, undiscovered, and largely unknown as it relates to the ocean, especially in less-developed tropical countries (like Jamaica), and likewise at deeper depths. Immediately after high school (2008) Dexter explored other passions as a studio and live performance musician, where he worked as a pianist/keyboardist for several recording artistes and local bands.
The ocean however did not stop ‘singing’, and Dexter soon found himself enrolled as an undergraduate student at UWI, Mona (2009), where he initially only intended to study for a BSc. degree. During his undergraduate studies those plans quickly changed after he received the Department of Life Sciences’ Don Skelding Prize (2009-10) for ‘Best Preliminary Biology Student’, the Ivan Goodbody Award for ‘Best Second-Year Marine Biology Student’ (2011-12), as well as the Faculty of Science and Technology’s Dean’s List recognition(s). Dexter went on to successfully complete his BSc. in Marine Biology, with Upper Second-Class honors (2013), and received various scholarships which supported his immediate transition into his MPhil studies and subsequent matriculation into his Ph.D. research; these included: the Sol Scholarship, the UWI Postgraduate Scholarship and the Department of Life Sciences Departmental Award.
Dexter’s Ph.D. research ultimately contributed to the successful definition and designation of the first Special Fishery Conservation Area (S.F.C.A.) in eastern Jamaica (East Portland S.F.C.A.- July 2016) and will provide valuable baseline and useful tools to assess future changes in the now protected areas. His research may further be used to help guide the selection and designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in other similar jurisdictions and/or regions.
Dr. Colquhoun’s main areas of expertise include planktology, marine and coastal ecology, coastal water quality, MPA management, fisheries biology and ecological modelling. He has also garnered extensive experience working on diverse projects and consultancies both at the national and regional levels, these include: water quality assessment and analyses for various Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs); tropical coral reef and benthic assessments (north- and south- coast Jamaica); mangrove forest and other coastal wetlands assessments; (Jamaican) Blue Economy baseline research; as well as climate change resilience research (utilizing traditional agricultural crops).
Dr. Colquhoun’s interests/hobbies include traveling, swimming, diving, as well as playing the piano/keyboards, which he actively continued to do throughout his university journey and even today in his albeit now limited ‘spare time’. He dedicates his Ph.D. to his daughter ‘X-DEC’ whose birth in 2021 gave him the willpower, belief and perseverance he needed to push through and complete his studies.