Monitoring water quality parameters of the coastal waters of Saba and the possible effects on the coral reef

Haneveld, F.M.


Coral reef systems have been declining all over the world. The project “Restoration of resilience of nature and society in the Caribbean Netherlands” focuses on mitigating further decline by improving the resilience of the coral reef. This is done, among other things, through water quality monitoring. In this report, we focussed on the quality of the coastal waters of Saba.
The spatial and temporal variation of chlorophyll a, salinity and temperature was assessed and connected to possible land-based activities and anthropogenic stressors.
The local stressors were assessed through informal interviews. The water quality indicators were measured with sensitive sensor technology. This was done by boat, every two weeks, on 13 locations around Saba, at a depth of 1.5-10 meters.
Both a temporal and spatial variation in chlorophyll a, temperature and salinity have been found. The chlorophyll a values seem concerting when looking at the coral reef threshold. Temperature and salinity are not yet troubling within he period of this research. However, if their temporal trend persists, there would be cause for concern. A baseline for potential local stressors has been identified but more extensive research is needed. Prolonged monitoring of the water quality indicators and more research into local stressors and how these affect one another is needed to fully understand what is going on.