01 May

What fuels the Wadden Sea food web? This is the question that we addressed  in one of the largest ecological research projects in the Netherlands, the recently finalized “Waddensleutels” program. The answer is surprising, and has been published last month in Ecology. “Benthic primary producers are the solar panels that fuel the Wadden Sea food web” [...]

04 Mar

Seagrasses are often the “ungly duckling” in marine conservation, and receive disproportionally little attention in the media and in scientific studies when compared to mangroves and coral reefs. However, seagrasses are essential components of coastal zones due to their extremely high productivity and the high biodiversity they support. So time for more research! Inside Lac [...]

25 Aug

Our in-water survey of sea turtles and their habitats in St. Eustatius (a.k.a. “Statia”) was very successful. We aimed to collect data to analyse the habitat use and population connectivity of green and hawksbill turtles as part of a larger NWO research program encompassing the 6 Dutch Caribbean Islands. Together with STENAPA (National Park authority of St Eustatius) and volunteers, and support [...]

14 Aug

During our fieldwork on St. Eustatius. Laurent helped as a volunteer to catch turtles. He also made some really nice video footage while free diving. His guest post: “Being a volunteer in a scientific mission is very simple : You just have to listen to the Project Leader, and you have to be available anytime, [...]

10 Aug

Sea turtle sex is not determined at the time of fertilization like in humans, it is set by the temperature level during nest incubation. Recently for some small island rookeries througout the Caribbean researchers reported a shift towards a more female dominated hatchlings/populations as nest temperatures slightly increased in these areas (warmer beaches result in female turtles). At St. [...]

20 May

Lisa Becking (Wageningen University and IMARES) and I, together with Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) ; Mabel Nava, Sue Willis and Robert van Dam have shown in a recent publication that sea turtles who breed in Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands, migrate great distances of up to 3500km to reach their foraging grounds across the Caribbean in 10 different countries. [...]

19 May

Bon dia! My name is Moniek and as an Ecology and Evolution student at the University of Groningen I have been doing fieldwork on Bonaire for my MSc internship. Most importantly I have been continuing the turtle exclusion experiment in Lac Bay; going out with a kayak and diving gear to measure and/or clean at [...]

11 Mar

Today 2 papers of our group were published online! This papers are the result of a successful collaboration between the University of Groningen, NIOZ and Radboud University, The Netherlands The first study by Els van der Zee et al. demonstrates that food web structure and complexity can be fundamentally shaped by habitat-modifying species.  This works through facilitation rather than trophic interactions [...]

22 Dec

Within the Dutch Caribbean, green and hawksbill turtle rookeries and foraging grounds are found. Green and hawksbill turtles have been decimated by human exploitation and habitat degradation, calling for knowledge of population structure and demographic history. Here we investigate migration patterns in these highly migratory species and evaluate current population status. In other words: How many turtles were there [...]

21 Mar

You can download my PhD thesis “Seagrass systems under nutrient loads, hydrodynamics and green turtle grazing – Do turtles rule the seagrass world?” here (pdf 88 MB). And the papers of my thesis here. Next friday I will defend my PhD thesis at Radboud University Nijmegen. I still have some paper copies left. So send me [...]