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 

Contact Aruba Conservation Foundation for their Research and Monitoring Priorities for 2024-2033 here“.


  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.

See also: Research agenda's of the Nature & Environment Policy Plan-Bonaire- Saba- St. Eustatius.



  1. Remapping Curaçao’s landscape ecological vegetation map.
  2. Inventory and impact assessment of invasive plant species.
  3. Desktop study of grazed vs. ungrazed islet vegetation.
  4. Regeneration of vegetation after fire.
  5. Avifauna research (flamingo’s, terrestrial birds, sea/shore birds) both in specific areas as well as the entire island.
  6. Propagation of native flora from seeds.
  7. 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)

See also: Research agenda's of the Nature & Environment Policy Plan-Bonaire- Saba- St. Eustatius.

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)
  9. Land restoration of degraded ecosystems in the Quill and Boven National Parks
  10. Reforestation of cliff areas to reduce costal erosion
  11. Inventories of key stone species

Red-bellied Racer

(Alsophis rufiventris)

Photo credit: © Henkjan Kievit (SHAPE/DCNA)

See also: Research agenda's of the Nature & Environment Policy Plan-Bonaire- Saba- St. Eustatius.

St. Maarten


1. Annual coral reef monitoring utilizing GCRMN and roving survey diver methods with eastern shore coverage, detailed species identification, and water quality and temperature testing.

2. Annual seagrass and mangrove monitoring to propose anchoring/mooring regulations and recommend areas for protection and restoration.

3. Development of national management protocols to protect corals, seagrasses, and mangroves from invasive species, anthropogenic pollution, and climatic threats.

4. Improved protocols and data collection for regular monitoring of sea turtle nesting activity.

5. Sustained water quality monitoring of construction sites with extensive run-off in coastal areas.

6. Quinquennial offshore marine habitat mapping utilizing an internal fieldwork protocol.

7. Offshore elasmobranch and cetacean research to facilitate Sint Maarten’s inclusion in the Yarari Sanctuary.

8. Fisheries independent monitoring of commercially targeted species (i.e. Conch, lobster, groupers, snappers, pelagics)


1. Annual aerial/satellite vegetation mapping and quinquennial field inventorying of species and habitat types at key biodiversity areas to advance terrestrial park proposals.

2. Mapped habitat threat assessments for at-risk species, including Pelecanus occidentalis.

3. Execution of impact and population study for introduced species, including Iguana iguana, Chlorocebus sabaeu, Herpestes javanicus, Antigonon leptopus, and Chelonoidis carbonarius.

4. Development of national management plans for controlling certain introduced species based on the results of the impact studies.

5. Annual air quality testing around key biodiversity areas and intensive commercial areas.

6. Feasibility study of the restoration of Great Salt Pond.

7. Feasibility study of the purchase and restoration of land surrounding Mullet Bay Pond.