Sea turtles in the Dutch Caribbean

The Caribbean Research Programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has funded a research project that will study the ecology and conservation of green and hawksbill turtles in the Dutch Caribbean. The proposed multi-disciplinary and international project aims to fill vital gaps in baseline knowledge using an integrated combination of molecular tools, satellite tracking, isotope analysis, and habitat mapping.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) set up a Caribbean Research Programme with the aim to strengthen the scientific knowledge base, encourage partnerships, and train young researchers in a wide range of scientific disciplines. The project titled "Ecology and conservation of green and hawksbill turtles in the Dutch Caribbean", that was submitted by Dr. Lisa Becking (IMARES, MAE, Wageningen UR & Naturalis Biodiversity Center), Dr. Marjolijn Christianen, and Prof. dr. Per Palsboll (both Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), was one of the nine projects that received funding within the Caribbean Programme.

The project will encompass four years and is divided into two complementary sub-projects to be conducted by one postdoctoral researcher (dr. M.J.A. Christianen) and one PhD (J. van der Zee). The analyses will encompass multiple temporal, spatial and organizational scales providing a comprehensive insight into past and contemporary ecology of these endangered marine migrants across the entire Dutch Caribbean. The combined results will provide an unprecedented detailed insight into the past and present population structure and demography of the green and hawksbill turtles that frequent the Dutch Caribbean. The results of the research will, furthermore, provide a firm basis to aid management agencies in implementing biologically sound, science-based conservation policies for sea turtles in the Dutch Caribbean.

MSc. students who wish do conduct their thesis research within this project, please send an email and CV to Marjolijn Christianen, Lisa Becking and/or Per Palsboll.