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Nature

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Upcoming CIEE Public Presentations Cover Diverse Subjects

CIEE has a large menu of upcoming public presentations at their CIEE Research Station on Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot, some given by CIEE staff, but others by some visitors as well.  Surely these offer something for everyone!

Title: REEF Fish Identification
Speaker: Kim White
Description: Kim is a fish identification guru that loves to teach people how to identify fish and how to complete fish surveys for REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation). I’ve attached a flyer for these events. During the first half hour of each night, Kim will give an introduction to REEF, basic fish identification techniques, tools, and terminology. During the remaining 1.5 hours of each night, Kim will cover a different set of 50 fishes. These talks are always very popular, thus it might be wise to come early.
Dates: Monday’s in March (2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd) from 6:30 to 8:30pm.

Title: Nutritional Exchange in the Anemonefish - Anemone Symbiosis: What Nemo Didn’t Tell You!
Speaker: Alan Verde (Maine Maritime Academy)
Description: Between Anemonefishes and Anemones in the Pacific, an mutually beneficial association occurs in which Anemonefishes get a home and Anemones get protection from predators. Alan is going to talk about his research that has demonstrated that anemones additionally gain nutrients from their Anemonefishes.
Date: Wednesday 4-March (7:00 to 8:00PM)

Title: Influences on algal symbiont (Symbiodinium spp.) community dynamics in reef corals recovering from disturbance
Speaker: Patrick Nichols (CIEE Research Station Bonaire Intern)
Description: The health of corals on tropical reefs has been widely studied, but what goes on behind the scenes when corals undergo stressful bleaching events? During this talk, Patrick will discuss research being conducted that examines the effects of the algal-coral symbiosis of corals dealing with climate change and other stressers.
Date: Wednesday 11-March (7:00 to 8:00PM)

Title: Low Lionfish, No Problem: The Effects of Lionfish on Reef Fish Communities in Belize
Speaker: Serena Hackerott (CIEE Research Station Bonaire Intern)
Description: For her Master’s thesis, Serena evaluated the apparent effects of invasive lionfish on native reef fish communities across 16 sites in Belize over 5 years. She will present her findings and put her results into the context of coral reef ecology and efficient coral reef management.
Date: Thursday 26-March (7:00 to 8:00PM)

Title: Why do Lionfish Blow Water at Their Prey?
Speaker: Dr. Patrick Lyons (Me: faculty member at CIEE Research Station Bonaire)
Description: In 2012, Dr. Lyons and a co-author discovered and published a report on a novel hunting strategy of lionfish, blowing jets of water at prey before striking. During this past summer, Dr. Lyons and several CIEE staff members ran some experiments to examine why this behavior is useful to lionfish and whether it enhances the hunting efficiency of lionfish. During the talk, Dr. Lyons will discuss what they found.
Date: Wednesday 1-April (7:00 to 8:00PM)

Title: Invasive Lionfish: Coming to an estuary near you
Speaker: Patrick Nichols (CIEE Research Station Bonaire Intern)
Description: Lionfish are extremely versatile creatures which greatly facilitates their invasion of the Atlantic.  During this talk, Patrick will discuss his research on the salinity tolerances of lionfish as well as their effects on local benthic fauna.
Date: Monday 13-April (7:00 to 8:00PM)

Title: Native versus Invasive Predators: Can Native Predators Control Lionfish
Speaker: Serena Hackerott (CIEE Research Station Bonaire Intern)
Description: As the marine community searches for ways to combat the lionfish invasion, the question is often raised- can native predators control invasive lionfish? Serena will present a large-scale study, published in PLOS One, investigating this question, and will also discuss the current evidence regarding predators learning to control lionfish over time.
Date: Wednesday 15-April (7:00 to 8:00PM)

As always, CIEE offers these public presentations at no charge, and anyone with an interest is welcome.  Lectures do begin on time, so be sure to arrive a few minutes early to get your seat.  (Source:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on February 26, 2015 at 2:04pm AST
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flamingo Nests Discovered in Washington Park Salt Marshes

STINAPA staff recently discovered flamingo nests and chicks during monitoring efforts for the Caribbean Waterbird Census.

During the past few weeks, STINAPA staff have participated in an international Caribbean survey (Caribbean Waterbird Census) on waterfowl, done in collaboration with Birds Caribbean. Although STINAPA does regular surveys of waterfowl specifically in the salt marshes of Washington Park, these monitoring sessions were additional counts to officially assess Bonaire’s waterfowl for the census.

During bird counts that took place in late January and early February, new discoveries were made.  Flamingos are back in large numbers at Gotomeer, where 1587 were counted.  Flamingo nests and chicks were also discovered in one of the salt marshes of Washington Park.  Until this was discovered, it was believed that flamingos were only building nests at Pekelmeer.  STINAPA will continue to monitor the nests and chicks at the new location.

STINAPA requests that everyone observing the flamingos stay a suitable distance and do not approach them.  Flamingos can frighten easily and they might not return to an area once disturbed. (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on February 10, 2015 at 3:28pm AST
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Lessons From the Last Interglacial--Bonaire Plays an Integral Part In New Coral Study

In a study just published by Nature Communications, an international team of scientists investigated temperature seasonality at the end of the last interglacial, 118,000 years ago. The researchers analyzed fossil corals and were able to reconstruct tropical Atlantic sea-surface temperature variations at a monthly resolution. At the present day these variations play a major role in triggering seasonal climate extremes such as hurricanes, flash floods, and droughts.


MARUM scientists drilling fossil corals which were growing during the last interglacial off Bonaire in the southern Caribbean.
Photo: MARUM University of Bremen

All over the world scientists are making an effort to improve computer-based models in order to more precisely describe future climate scenarios and to better estimate the possible consequences and risks of global climate change. In this context, climate data from the past play an important role as they improve our understanding of climate dynamics in general. Now, an international team of scientists has investigated fossil corals that were drilled on the Caribbean island of Bonaire.

“The waters off Bonaire are part of the Caribbean Current, which transports water from the tropical Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore our climate data represent past temperature conditions in the northern tropical Atlantic Ocean,”

says lead author Thomas Felis, who works at MARUM, the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, at the University of Bremen in Germany.


Just drilled: two segments of a brain coral core with a diameter of six centimeters each.
Photo: MARUM, University of Bremen

The researchers drilled their samples from the surface layer of a fossil reef terrace, which today is about two meters above sea level.

“During the final stage of the last interglacial, sea level was higher than today,”

says co-author Sander Scheffers from the Marine Ecology Research Centre at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales.

“Therefore we could easily retrieve our samples from land.”

One of the corals dates back to 118,000 years ago. It grew during the final stage of the last interglacial. The 20-centimeter-long coral core covers a period of 20 years--a climate archive from the past containing sea-surface temperature information at a monthly resolution.

According to the new study, seasonal sea-surface temperatures varied by about 2.6 degrees Celsius back then, only 0.2 degrees less than today. The researchers subsequently performed simulations using a coupled atmosphere-ocean model:

“Our model indicates an orbital control on the amount of insolation (the total amount of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area during a given time) and thus on temperature seasonality in the tropical Atlantic, both at the end of the last interglacial and today,”

says co-author Gerrit Lohmann, a climate modeller at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany:

”That means that the tilt and the rotation of the Earth’s axis and the shape of the orbit around the sun play a crucial role here.”


Detail of the fossil brain coral Diploria strigos on the coast of Bonaire.
Photo: MARUM University of Bremen

The fact that temperature seasonality in the distant past is not significantly different from the present is rather astonishing. Unlike today, climate conditions back then were characterized by severe turbulence. During the course of the interglacial, polar ice sheets had become unstable and probably collapsed in part. Sea level rapidly rose by several meters. This freshwater inflow probably changed Atlantic Ocean currents; the European climate became extremely dry and distinctly cooler. 

“However, our data show that changes in the Greenland ice sheet or freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic only played a minor role for processes in the tropical Atlantic,”

says Gerrit Lohmann.

“Considering the generally rather turbulent climate back then, temperature seasonality in the northern tropical Atlantic was rather stable,”

sums up Thomas Felis. And, reflecting on future climate changes, he states:

“Studies show that sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic play a major role in triggering seasonal climate extremes such as hurricanes, flash floods, and droughts. So we should keep a close eye on them.”

For more information on this study, read the full report by clicking here(Source:  Nature Communications and MARUM, The Center for Marine Environmental Sciences)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 23, 2015 at 11:23am AST
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Enjoy a Sunrise Hike Up the Brandaris in Washington Park on Sunday, January 25th, 2015

STINAPA invites everyone to another great sunrise hike up the Brandaris, Bonaire’s highest point, on Sunday morning, January 25th, 2015. 

There is only space for 20 participants, so secure your spot and register by calling 786-5229 or send an email to washingtonpark@stinapa.org. Registration is required for participation. Children 10 years and up may participate if accompanied by an adult. Put on hiking shoes and bring your own water bottle and a snack. Admittance fee for this walk is $10 per person.  Participants should be at the entrance of the park no later than 5.15 AM on Sunday morning.  Enjoy an authentic Bonaire sunrise!  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 22, 2015 at 4:18pm AST
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Thursday, January 08, 2015

First CIEE Public Lecture of 2015 to be Held on January 13th, 2015

CIEE will begin their new year with a free public lecture on January 13th, 2015 about the effect of anchoring on the reefs of the British Virgin Islands, an area with lots of sailing vessels.  Although anchoring is not permitted on Bonaire, except for fishing boats of less than four meters and with the use of a stone anchor, the presentation by Dr. Graham Forrester will prove just how important such regulations are for the health of Caribbean reefs.

Dr. Forrester is a professor at the University of Rhode Island, USA.  The presentation will take place at the CIEE headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26, in Kralendijk, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  All are welcome, and entrance is free.  (Souce:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 08, 2015 at 1:21pm AST
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Debris Free Bonaire + Facebook = Chance for a Free Dive Vacation

Since Debris Free Bonaire started in December 2012, volunteers have collectively removed over 180 cubic meters (6,356 cubic feet) of marine plastic debris and it continues to pour in. This coastal clean-up program was designed to provide volunteers, both visitors to Bonaire as well as island residents, the opportunity to assist with coastal cleanups on their own time.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer can visit any Dive Friends Bonaire location to pick up a few mesh gear bags and then collect debris from the east coast at their convenience. Then, they must return the bags to a 10 cubic meter collection container at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis. At the debris container, they will pose for photos (or selfies) with their collected plastic to show off how much they’ve collected.

In order to raise awareness about the program, Debris Free Bonaire volunteers have the opportunity to win a free dive vacation. The grand prize will include a 7 night stay at Villa Makoshi Penthouse for two guests and 6 days of unlimited shore diving compliments of Dive Friends Bonaire for 2 divers.  To be entered into the raffle for a free dive vacation, volunteers must post their photos on Facebook and share them on the Dive Friends Bonaire Facebook page between December 21st and January 4th.  The raffle drawing will take place on January 5th. The Dive Friends Facebook link can be found by clicking here.

At all other times of the year, smaller prizes are raffled to volunteers every time the container is filled.  In the end, the environment of Bonaire will be the biggest winner of all! Additional information about the project is available at: www.debrisfreebonaire.com. (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 22, 2014 at 10:02am AST
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sunrise Hike Up the Brandaris in Washington Park on Sunday, December 21st, 2014

STINAPA invites everyone to another sunrise walk in the park...........this time hiking up Brandaris! 

STINAPA is offering an early morning hike to the highest point of Bonaire.  This walk will take place on December 21st. Participants should be at the entrance of the park no later than 5.15 AM.  There is space for only 20 participants. so secure your spot and register by calling 786-5229 or send an email to washingtonpark@stinapa.org. Registration is required for participation. Children 10 years and up may participate if accompanied by an adult. Put on hiking shoes and bring your own water bottle and a snack. Admittance fee for this walk is $10.00 per person.

Enjoy beautiful Bonaire from the its highest point!  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 17, 2014 at 9:53am AST
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Friday, December 12, 2014

It’s a Busy Saturday and Sunday on Bonaire with Tree Planting, Wine Debuts, and Christmas Markets

This weekend there’s enough happening on Bonaire to keep anyone happy!  Start the day with a tree-planting with Echo, and then chill later in the day with a great glass of just-debuted wine, before attending a Christmas market on Sunday.

Echo, the foundation which protects Bonaire’s loras and prikichi (parrots and parakeets), is hosting a tree planting at 8:00 AM tomorrow at Dos Pos in the northern region of Gotomeer, near to their headquarters.  This is to help bring back Bonaire’s native forest, decimated hundreds of years ago.  Come and help out, or come and watch!  Bring strong shoes, outdoor clothing, water, and a shovel and pick axe if you have one! 

And always at this time of year, Antillean Wine Company debuts the new Beaujolais Nouveau, after a long sea journey from France.  They assure us it’s a great wine, but try it for yourself tomorrow from 7:00 PM until 9.00 PM, when, instead of their regular wine tasting, they will be serving Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 Chateau Cambon.  Buy a bottle and share with friend at $18.00 per bottle, or try a glass at $ 4.00.

On Sunday from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM, do your Christmas shopping at the Christmas Market.  There’s free entrance to the local arts and crafts, and lots of other gifts to be perused, along with food and drinks to make it merry.  The market is being held at Hotel Roomer at EEG Boulevard #97.

Have a great Bonaire weekend!  <(Source:  Echo, Antillean Wine, Club Roomer Bonaire Foundation)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 12, 2014 at 3:40pm AST
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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Farewell, But Not Goodbye, to Ramon de Leon, Bonaire National Marine Park

After over a decade of fighting the good fight to keep Bonaire’s reefs and marine environment in tip-top shape, next year, Ramon de Leon will move on to other pursuits.

Although he will depart from his position as manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park effective March 1st, 2015, Ramon will continue his efforts in nature conservation on both the local level, as well as in the international arena.  Although everyone will miss Ramon’s insight and expertise, we wish him all the best in his next endeavors.  Thank you, Ramon! (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 09, 2014 at 3:48pm AST
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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Upcoming Events on Bonaire

There are some interesting upcoming events in the next week for those on Bonaire.  On Saturday, the Kriabon Famers’ Market will hold its Christmas Fair.  And, next week, on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, CIEE will host an interesting discussion about the effects of tsunamis on Bonaire.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Kriabon’s headquarters will take on a much different look, with a multitude of stands with Christmas items, paper, decorations, and local art.  Of course, this is all in addition to the normal Farmers’ Market stands with locally produced fruit and vegetables, plants, sweets, drinks, and local food.  From 9:30 to 10:30, enjoy live music from the Panchito Choir.  Kriabon is located at Kaminda Jatu Baco #55.

Then enjoy the radio transmission of a live performance of Handel’s Messiah on Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 6:00 PM, on radio 89.5 FM, courtesy of Trans World Radio.  Pre-concert programming begins at 2:30, and there will be an interview with Dr. Rodney Wynkoop, the music director, at 2:55 PM, just prior to the concert beginning at 3:00 PM (more or less, since it’s a live event!).  What a way to get into the holiday spirit!

On Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, CIEE will be offering a free presentation by Max Engel, Jan Oetjen,and Simon Matthias May, who come from the Institute of Geography at the University of Cologne, in Germany.  They will discuss the studies that have been done since the late 1990s, on the fields of massive boulders and coral rubble deposits aligning the coast of Bonaire to prehistoric extreme-wave events such as tsunamis or hurricanes. This research has intensified in the last decade, and it is now accepted that some of the largest boulders and also subsurface sand layers found in some of the bays are the result of one or several tsunamis of the last millennia. By combining information drawn from the sediments with computer models of potential tsunamis reaching the shores of Bonaire, we aim at assessing the risk potential on the island. The talk sums up research activities of the past and provides insights into our initial modelling scenarios.  CIEE is located at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26 in Kralendijk.  All are welcome, but do arrive on time, as the presentations are started promptly.

Enjoy!  (Source:  Kriabon and CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 04, 2014 at 12:24pm AST
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