BioNews 28- September 2016

BioNews is a monthly newsletter by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), focusing on the biodiversity research and monitoring in the Dutch Caribbean. BioNews presents you with an overview of the on-going research and monitoring efforts and provides a regular update on what’s currently happening on our islands.

Climate change is arguably the most serious challenge to conservation efforts within the Caribbean region, with future projections of sea level rise, more extreme weather events, increase in air and sea surface temperatures and decrease in rainfall. Most ecosystems will likely be impacted by climate change to varying degrees. Already fragile coral reefs are expected to be greatly damaged by warmer and more acidic waters, with far-reaching consequences for the species that inhabit them.

In this issue of BioNews we aim to provide an overview of the possible impacts climate change will have on the biodiversity and socio-economic development of our islands based on a study by Wageningen Marine Research (formerly-IMARES). We here also present the latest scientific findings on the effects climate change is predicted to have on sea turtles and sharks. We will continue to examine climate change impacts on different terrestrial and marine ecosystems in upcoming issues of BioNews.

The entire nesting process of sea turtles is finely tuned to environmental conditions. Temperature and rainfall play an especially critical role in sea turtle egg development and the emergence of hatchlings. The predicted environmental changes may therefore have a catastrophic effect on these already endangered sea creatures.

Sharks are also of special concern, as shark populations worldwide are threatened due to overfishing and habitat loss. Now, recent studies suggest that global warming and ocean acidification may become significant threats to the survival of sharks over the next century by impacting their feeding behavior and growth.

Finally, the recent establishment of the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary marked a momentous step forward for conservation within the Dutch Caribbean. We here provide an overview of an expert meeting that was recently held to develop innovative ways to reduce mortality for sharks and rays within the Yarari sanctuary.

We would like to thank our partners, conservationists and scientists for their invaluable input and support. We hope you will enjoy reading BioNews!

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