Studying the rich biodiversity and functioning of the tropical region
The six islands and large sea area of the Dutch Caribbean are home to a rich biodiversity, including coral reefs. NIOZ is active in this tropical region with a range of research projects, working with local partner institutes.
The Dutch Caribbean covers an area of roughly 81,000 km2 (EEZ) and consists of six islands with a special status within the Netherlands:
Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire are special municipalities of the Netherlands (since 2010).
The area also includes a large submerged carbonate platform, the Saba bank, of ca. 2,600 km2.
The Dutch Caribbean islands and Saba Bank are home to a rich tropical biodiversity. They harbour high-biodiversity coral reefs, sponge-dominated reefs, sea grass and benthic macroalgae-dominated areas, lagoons, shallow inland bays and mangroves.
The area is home to and a migratory stopover for species such as sharks, whales, sea turtles, rays and dolphins, as well as many seabirds and more than 350 species of fish.
NIOZ in the Dutch Caribbean
NIOZ has been active in the Dutch Caribbean since 1957, when the CARMABI Research Station was officially opened. This institute was financially supported by NIOZ until the mid-1980s. It currently runs independently, but continues to host NIOZ scientists and students.