BioNews 29 – October 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.

This months edition of BioNews takes a look at recent research expeditions to the Dutch Caribbean including terrestrial and marine expeditions organized by Naturalis to St. Eustatius, two marine expeditions to the Saba Bank by NIOZ and DCNA and the Waitt Institute marine surveys of the waters around Curaçao which were part of their “Blue Halo” initiative.

Scientific research expeditions are of particular interest because they bring together groups of scientists and nature conservationists often from diverse disciplines and because they able to conduct a lot of experiments and amass large datasets of information over a very short period of time. Their goals can be diverse but what they have in common is that scientific expeditions take a lot of time and energy to prepare and execute and require long and dedicated working days.
In this issue you can read about the DCNA’s shark tagging expedition to the Saba Bank. This expedition is part of the Dutch Postcode Lottery funded “Save Our Sharks” project. Little is known about the abundance and diversity of sharks in the Dutch Caribbean and much less is known about their movements. This expedition not only tagged 22 sharks but also, for the first time in Dutch waters, placed satellite tracking devices on four Tiger sharks. This will allow us to gain a unique glimpse into their migration patterns and determine their range state.

As part of a NWO funded project, scientists from five Dutch research institutions recently completed a marine expedition to the Saba Bank to investigate how environmental conditions are impacting the coral reef ecosystem functioning on the Saba Bank.
The Smithsonian Institute has organized numerous marine research expeditions in the last years aimed at exploring the deep reefs of Curaçao. Their work has resulted in an astounding number of discoveries of species new to science.

The Marine Scientific Assessment of the waters around Curaçao by the Waitt Institute in collaboration with the Government of Curaçao will be used to develop a Sustainable Ocean Policy for the island aimed at improving the health of their marine ecosystems and supporting coastal economies and livelihoods.

Not content with one expedition, Naturalis Biodiversity Center organized both a marine and terrestrial expedition to St. Eustatius last year. The goal of both expeditions was to create a complete biodiversity database for the island. In this issue you can read about their results and the discovery of a species new to science.

So if you feel in the mood for adventure… read on. And to those of you planning or about to embark on an expedition, “good luck” and we hope to see your work profiled in future editions of BioNews.

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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