Research & monitoring

Listed in order of priority for each island


  1. Mapping terrestrial ecosystems and habitats 
  2. Mapping marine ecosystems and habitats 
  3.  Vegetation mapping and inventory, incl. assessment of endemic, endangered and keystone flora
  4. Soil substance and quality mapping (bodemkwaliteit) 
  5. Restoration endemic, endangered and keystone flora 
  6. Watershed mapping, including potential land-based pollutants 
  7. Water quality monitoring 
  8. Anthropogenic threat assessments (terrestrial and marine) 
  9. Inventory invasive species (terrestrial and marine) 
  10. Assessment and mitigation known invasives: goats, dogs, cats, lionfish, boa, cane toad, tilapia, rubber vine, Halophila 
  11. Inventory of endangered, endemic and keystone fauna (terrestrial and marine) 
  12. Assessment and conservation (including restoration) of endangered, endemic and keystone fauna (terrestrial and marine) 
  13. GCRMN coral reef monitoring windward side 


  1. Sustainable Recreation – Limits of Acceptable Change – BNMP (Klein, Lac Bay, dive/snorkel sites, beaches, etc), WSNP ie biological pressures, tourist perceptions, resident perceptions.
  2. East coast monitoring of coral reefs.
  3. Reef Fisheries study (repeat), guidelines for sustainable fisheries.
  4. Reef Fish populations, spawning aggregations.
  5. Sargassum impact, sargassum disposal .
  6. Quantifying grazer impact – erosion, runoff, and loss of biodiversity.
  7. Hydrology – investigating runoff into marine park and proposed interventions.
  8. Revised and detailed habitat maps – BNMP, WSNP.
  9. Salinas, pekelmeer, Lac, Lagun – water quality/food supply/connection to sea/bird habitat – flamingos, shorebirds, waterbirds, nesting birds.
  10. Climate change model, monitoring, management guide.



  1. Remapping Curaçao’s landscape ecological vegetation map.
  2. Phenology of vegetation on three different geological substrates. 
  3. Inventory and impact assessment of invasive plant species. 
  4. Desktop study of grazed vs. ungrazed islet vegetation.
  5. Regeneration of vegetation after fire.
  6. Curaçao’s White-tailed Deer population estimation. Wildlife camera research potentially coupled with pellet density survey and thermal imaging drone.
  7. Avifauna research (flamingo’s, terrestrial birds, sea/shore birds) both in specific areas as well as the entire island. 
  8. Propagation of native flora from seeds.
  9. Mapping historical and current land use changes.


  1. Pollutants (oil, heavy metals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors, plastics, microbial etc) entering coastal waters (subterraneously) from land and their effects on marine organisms
  2. Stoichiometric aspects of nutrient enrichment on Caribbean reefs
  3. Design of cheap but effective waste water systems (using waste to generate biomass, energy etc.)
  4. What do coral communities do “well” in places where they are not expected? What makes corals cope with warmer water, more nutrients etc?
  5. Regarding the Halimeda project: Why not study all sand producing organisms to better understand where sand (and beaches) come from? Include nearshore-offshore mixing.
  6. Which herbivores can be used to reverse coral to algal phase shifts? Which algae are consumed and which ones aren’t?
  7. Effects of habitat fragmentation and its effect on gene flow on coral reefs
  8. The contribution of waterflow to reef health



  1. Genebanking of different coral species from the marine park inside the Saba Research Center
  2. Annual GCRMN monitoring
  3. Updated habitat mapping of the Saba Marine Park
  4. Relocation of coral(s) (reefs) and EIA Black Rocks area
  5. Evaluation of the marine park zones
  6. Microfragmenting in ex-situ facilities
  7. Genotyping of coral fragments in the Coral Nursery
  8. Reef Habitat restoration
  9. Prevention of run-off


  1. Phaethon aethereus  population assessments and continued monitoring
  2. Status of Puffinus lherminieri: population assessment and threats analysis
  3. Status of Geotrygon mystacea: population assessment and threats analysis
  4. Status of Alsophis rufiventris: population assessment and threats analysis
  5. Cloud forest habitat mapping and monitoring
  6. Invasive predator assessment and control
  7. Monitoring of Antigonon leptopus
  8. Continue beach profile monitoring
  9. Aerial mapping of representative vegetation zones, before and after removal of goats
  10. Determine feasibility of reforestation of degraded terrestrial habitats in MSNP
  11. Semi-annual terrestrial bird census


Johnstone's tree frog

(Eleutherodactylus johnstonei)

Photo credit: © Christian König

Saba Bank

  1. Update rules and regulations based on fisheries reports to preserve the biodiversity of the Saba Bank and targeted species within the fisheries sector.
  2. Review of the SPAG closure
  3. Caribbean Spiny lobster and red snapper species stock assessment
  4. Bycatch reduction of reef fishes and sharks on the lobster fisheries
  5. Annual/Biannual GCRMN of the Saba Bank
  6. Establish a marine mammal photo identification bank
  7. Continued monitoring of silky sharks, nurse sharks and Caribbean reef sharks through acoustic telemetry
  8. Continued monitoring and research on pregnant tiger shark research on the Saba Bank
  9. Population size and dispersal range of Sandbar sharks
  10. Determine deep water shark species
  11. Implementation of the Yarari management plan
  12. Coral restoration efforts on the Saba Bank RE Acropora spp.
  13. FAD regulations and impact on by catch species
  14. Look into the different options for implementing AIS systems on fishing vessels
  15. Mesophotic reef mapping
  16. Feasibility of habitat restoration on the Saba Bank.
  17. Feasibility of placing artificial reef structures on the Saba Bank together with regulated and managed fisheries
  18. Marine mammals: aerial survey (SSS islands (Saba Bank and waters surrounding Saba, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius), seasonal presence, isolation and abundance as well as seasonal migratory destination(s) and population history. (with main focus on humpback whales and proper identification of pod of dolphins present year-round on the Saba Bank)

St. Eustatius

  1. Vegetation mapping (remote sensing and permanent vegetation plots) for terrestrial parks
  2. Fisheries independent monitoring of commercially targeted species (i.e. Conch, lobster, groupers, snappers, pelagics)
  3. Bridled Quail-Dove and Tropicbird abundance, distribution, and hatchling success
  4. GCRMN monitoring
  5. Monitoring Iguana delicatissima populations and monitoring of invasive green iguanas.
  6. Monitoring of water quality, sedimentation, and erosion. 
  7. Best practices for Coral reef restoration and key associated species 
  8. Sea turtles monitoring (i.e. in-water and nesting success)

Red-bellied Racer

(Alsophis rufiventris)

Photo credit: © Henkjan Kievit (SHAPE/DCNA)

St. Maarten

  1. Coral Reef Monitoring (GCRMN) and analysis (need especially assistance for analyzing pictures, data and processing data).
  2. Marine Habitat Mapping and marine life inventory
  3. Seagrass/Mangrove research; abundance and status (to increase protection of sea grasses)
  4. Water quality testing and impacts of poor water quality on marine life and especially on coral reefs.
  5. Sea turtle monitoring; abundance and status (including threat assessment).
  6. Status, impact and potential management plans for invasive species. This includes: monkeys, iguanas, mongoose, racoons, coralita etc.
  7. Status and management plans for protected and endangered species.
  8. Terrestrial (vegetation) monitoring and inventory, especially vulnerable and endemic species.
  9. Fisheries inventory; inventory of active fishermen, catch/effort, target species and size, fishing areas
  10. Sustainable Recreation – biological pressures, tourist perceptions, resident perceptions
  11. Behavior Change Assessments- Impact of awareness vs habit

Research agenda's of the Nature & Environment Policy Plan-BES.