A social-ecological perspective on ecosystem vulnerability for the invasive creeper coralita (Antigonon leptopus)in the Caribbean: A review
Heger, W.T. ; Andel, Tinde van - \ 2019
Global Ecology and Conservation 18 (2019). - ISSN 2351-9894
Anthropogenic disturbance - Climate change - Dutch Caribbean - Invasive species - Overgrazing - St. Eustatius
The Caribbean islands are a hotspot for biodiversity, harboring 2.3% of the world's endemic plant species on just 0.18% of the earth surface. Due to habitat degradation, invasive species are considered a major environmental problem on these islands. The vine coralita (Antigonon leptopus Hook. & Arn.)is the most abundant invasive species on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius. Forming thick, monospecific carpets, it is seen as a threat to biodiversity. Insight is needed as to the ecological and social factors that influence the local ecosystem's vulnerability for invasion by A. leptopus. We used a Social-Ecological Systems framework for a literature review to answer our research questions: 1)What is currently known about the social and ecological factors that make an ecosystem vulnerable for invasions by invasive species and A. leptopus in particular? 2)How much empirical evidence is provided to back up the claims made in the reviewed literature? and 3)Which research and management priorities can be identified for St. Eustatius based on this analysis? Our review yielded 46 relevant documents, of which only 21 were peer-reviewed scientific articles. We assessed the level of empirical support for each of the factors mentioned in the reviewed literature and used these to shape our conceptual Social-Ecological model. Three major factors appeared to be responsible for the vulnerability of ecosystems for A. leptopus invasion: overgrazing by feral animals (16 papers), anthropogenic disturbance (19)and climate change (6). Empirical evidence for the relation between A. leptopus invasion and social and ecological factors is scarce: only anthropogenic disturbance and overgrazing were supported by quantitative data (three papers each). Our literature review also indicates that the invasion of A. leptopus on St. Eustatius is more a symptom than a cause in itself. Efforts to manage coralita by chemical or manual removal are futile if not combined with active vegetation restoration and grazer exclusion. Conservation efforts have led to an increase in forested areas on the island, in which coralita is not present. More experimental research is needed to inform policy and management decisions, preferably on the effects of feral grazer exclusion and shading by native trees on the recovery of natural vegetation in areas now dominated by coralita.
On a collection of deep-water shrimp (Crustacea, Decapoda) from the Dutch Caribbean, with the description of a new species of Pseudocoutierea
Olthof, Gabriël ; Becking, Leontine E. ; Fransen, Charles H.J.M. - \ 2018
Zootaxa 4415 (2018)3. - ISSN 1175-5326 - p. 533 - 548.
Crustacea - Decapoda - Deep reef - Dutch Caribbean - New records - New species - Pseudocoutierea
A collection of shrimp from deep reefs in the Dutch Caribbean is described. Most material originates from the Bonaire deep reef expedition (2013) by Wageningen Marine Research of Wageningen University. Some additional material was available from dives on Curaçao (2014). A new species of Pseudocoutierea Holthuis was recognized in the material collected off Bonaire. The new species is described and illustrated and its position in the phylogeny of the genus Pseudocoutierea analyzed. A key to the species in the genus is presented.
Expansion and fragment settlement of the non-native seagrass Halophila stipulacea in a Caribbean bay
Smulders, Fee O.H. ; Vonk, J.A. ; Engel, M.S. ; Christianen, Marjolijn J.A. - \ 2017
Marine Biology Research 13 (2017)9. - ISSN 1745-1000 - p. 967 - 974.
Dutch Caribbean - ecosystem services - exotic seagrass - Halophila stipulacea - range expansion - vegetative fragmentation
The non-native seagrass species Halophila stipulacea has spread throughout the Eastern Caribbean since 2002, and could potentially impact the functioning of local seagrass ecosystems. Important characteristics for invasiveness, such as dispersal, recruitment and expansion of H. stipulacea at a local scale, are unknown. We assessed H. stipulacea expansion rates within Lac Bay, Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean (7 km2), since its establishment in 2010 and tested the settlement potential of uprooted vegetative fragments of H. stipulacea. Using 49 fixed locations, we observed that between 2011 and 2015 the occurrence of H. stipulacea in the bay increased significantly from 6% to 20% while native Thalassia testudinum occurrence decreased significantly from 53% to 33%. Free-floating H. stipulacea fragments that were collected and tethered above the sediment rooted within 10 days with a settlement success rate of 100%. The growth of settled fragments was on average 0.91 shoots d−1. The ongoing shift from native T. testudinum to introduced H. stipulacea dominated meadows may have important consequences for multiple Caribbean seagrass ecosystem functions. Given the large difference in size between the two seagrass species, functions such as coastal protection, habitat structure, food availability, and the stability and resilience of these systems can be altered. The next steps towards modelling future expansion of H. stipulacea throughout the Caribbean and beyond should include the assessment of fragment viability and dispersal distance, and the impacts of natural and anthropogenic disturbance on vegetative fragment density, dispersion and settlement by this species.
First visual record of a living basking shark Cetorhinus maximus in the Caribbean Sea
Geelhoed, S.C.V. ; Janinhoff, N. ; Verdaat, J.P. - \ 2016
Caribbean Journal of Science 49 (2016)1. - ISSN 0008-6452 - p. 76 - 78.
Aruba - distribution - Dutch Caribbean - Migration - shark
The occurrence of basking sharks in the Caribbean Sea is only recently documented by satellite tagging studies, which show that some individuals migrate through the region en route from waters off the east coast of the USA to waters off northeastern South-America. The observation of a basking shark on 7 November 2013 ca. 130 km north-northeast of Aruba during an aerial survey of marine mammals in the waters around the Dutch Leeward Islands is reported. This observation constitutes the first visual record of a living basking shark in the Caribbean.
New bird records for the Island of St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean, with notes on other significant sightings
Madden, H. ; Hensen, Roberto ; Piontek, S. ; Walton, Steffan ; Verdaat, J.P. ; Geelhoed, S.C.V. ; Stapel, J. ; Debrot, A.O. - \ 2015
The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 28 (2015). - ISSN 1544-4953 - p. 28 - 34.
avifauna - Dutch Caribbean - Netherlands Antilles - St. Eustatius
The avifauna of the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius has been little studied. We document 22 new bird species for the island and update the status of several important species based on our recent observations. The documented avifauna of
the island amounts to 75 published species records. We conclude by pointing out several positive developments in the avifauna and ascribe these to the combined effects of reduced hunting, the legal establishment of protected park areas, and a growing environmental awareness among the island’s inhabitants
The Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) breeding in the Dutch Caribbean and notable new records for the Caribbean Martin (Progne dominicensis) and Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Haseth, C. de; Strik, Stef ; Debrot, A.O. - \ 2015
The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 28 (2015). - ISSN 1544-4953 - p. 25 - 27.
breeding birds - Charadrius vociferus - Dutch Caribbean - Netherlands Antilles - Progne dominicensis - Vanellus chilensis
We provide the first documentation of Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) breeding in the Dutch Caribbean and new island records for the Caribbean Martin (Progne dominicensis) and Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)