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. Water Quality Monitoring – regular and need-based – hotspots and nutrient loading into the BNMP 
  2. Quantifying grazer impact – erosion, runoff, and loss of biodiversity 
  3. Sustainable Recreation – biological pressures, tourist perceptions, resident perceptions 
  4. Reef Fisheries study – repeat 
  5. Reef Fish populations, spawning aggregations 
  6. Sargassum impact, sargassum disposal  
  7. Hydrology – investigating runoff into marine park and proposed interventions 
  8. Revised and detailed habitat maps – BNMP, WSNP  
  9. East coast monitoring of coral reefs 
  10. Salinas, pekelmeer, Lac, Lagun – water quality/food supply/connection to sea/bird habitat – flamingos, shorebirds, waterbirds, nesting birds 
  11. climate change model, monitoring 
  12. an island/STINAPA plan 



  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. Saba Marine Park annual GCRMN Coral Reef and water quality monitoring. Analysis of collected data and report on trends. 
  2. Assess and monitor Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease in the SNMP 
  3. Feasibility of artificial reefs and sea urchin population restoration 
  4. Determine spread of Halophila stipulacea in SNMP
  5. Determine impact of COVID19 on marine habitats
  6. Continued shark monitoring 
  7. Status and continued impact of lionfish invasion 
  8. Sea turtle population assessment 
  9. Sedimentation monitoring and data analysis in SNMP
  10. Revised and detailed marine habitat maps  


  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. Updated rules and regulations based on fisheries reports to preserve the biodiversity of the Saba Bank and targeted species within the fisheries sector.
  2. Annual/Biannual GCRMN of the Saba Bank.
  3. Feasibility of habitat restoration/artificial habitat for lobsters, sea urchins and other herbivore species on the Saba Bank.
  4. Ecological role of Saba Bank for frequently observed shark species.
  5. 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. GCRMN monitoring
  4. Bridled Quail-Dove and Tropicbird abundance, distribution, and hatchling success
  5. Monitoring of water quality, sedimentation, and erosion. 
  6. Best practices for Coral reef restoration and key associated species 
  7. 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 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