Romero’s work with former students published in environmental history anthology

Aldemaro Romero, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and five of his former students are featured in “Animals,” the most recent work of the “Themes in Environmental History” series published by The White Horse Press.

Aldemaro Romero, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is featured in the "Themes in Environmental History" anthology with former students from Macalaster College.

Romero said the publishers contacted him requesting to include his article, “Environmental History of Marine Mammal Exploitation in Trinidad and Tobago, W.I., and its Ecological Impact.”

“I felt really happy to see that they had chosen one of the articles that I wrote for [the anthology], especially because all of the other co-authors were students of mine,” Romero said.

All of the co-authors – Ruth Baker, Joel E. Cresswell, Anuradha Singh, Annabelle McKie and Michael Manna – were Romero’s students during his time at Macalester College in Minnesota. Romero served as a professor and environmental sciences program director from 1998 – 2003.

The article explores the exploitation of whales and manatees in the Caribbean, in which the humpback whale has “become locally extinct,” according to Romero. Romero became interested in the topic as a student in Venezuela learning about “the exploitation of dolphins by fishers in that country.”

“I discovered that it was a much more widespread practice throughout the Caribbean,” Romero said. “So I initiated a research program to study this phenomenon, and I did a lot of field work in different countries of the Caribbean besides Venezuela.”

Romero’s work expands to Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Bahamas, among other locations.

Creswell said it is great that the paper is being included in the “Animals” anthology, in part, because it will “reach a wider audience.”

“It’s always very exciting when a project that you worked on gets published anywhere, and [in] this case it’s work that was already published in a journal previously…,” Creswell said. “It’s always great too, to see work that you’ve participated in after the fact being put into a broader context.”

Romero was Creswell’s undergraduate advisor at McAllister College. Creswell conducted research for the paper during his junior year as Romero’s student research assistant. Creswell said the research approaches the exploitation of marine mammals by combining methods from two disciplines – biological and historical research methods.

Spending time researching in Trinidad was “quite enjoyable,” according to Creswell, as well as the combination of different research methods. Creswell said his interest in the topic was “largely driven” by Romero, though he had an initial interest in the environmental sciences.

“It was sort of an easy choice for me to make,” Creswell said. “This was a topic I thought was really interesting that fit in with my broader interest.”

The anthology, according to Romero, is significant because it needs to be understood that animal species exploitation “is not just an ecological issue.”

“It is also a cultural issue,” Romero said. “So we need to understand the history, the economics and the politics behind all this.”

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