Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Research on the impacts of invasive seagrass on juvenile Queen Conch

July 8th, 2017

conch seagrass article

NuStar Energy L.P. recently provided support for local marine research through a generous donation to Ecological Professionals Foundation. This project involving local research partners has been fully funded thanks to NuStar’s donation. The research will provide a preliminary insight into the possible effects of the rapidly spreading invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea on juvenile Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas), which in many regions of the Caribbean are largely dependent on native seagrass beds during much of their juvenile phase.

The growth, survival, and diet of juvenile Queen Conch living in the invasive seagrass will be studied and compared to juvenile conch living in native seagrass. The knowledge this project will generate can be used, if necessary, to adapt current management activities in order to maintain a local and regional sustainable Queen Conch fishery. The project will be conducted under the umbrella of recently established research and training organization, Ecological Professionals Foundation. The research activities will be spearheaded by PhD candidate Erik Boman of Wageningen University, Dr. Johan Stapel, director of the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI), and Tadzio Bervoets, director of the St Maarten Nature Foundation. Hannah Madden, founder of Ecological Professionals, and the collaborative partners are extremely grateful to NuStar Energy L.P. for their financial support of this important project and look forward to commencing fieldwork in the new year.

See also : http://www.soualiganewsday.com/local/soualiga-news-today/item/14418-nature-foundation-starts-conch-and-seagrass-research.html 

Iguana training

January 26th, 2017

From 13 to 23 January 2017, EcoProfessionals together with RAVON provided field training for St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) staff, focusing on iguanas. St. Eustatius is one of the few islands that still supports the endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana, however it is at risk of hybridization from the invasive Green Iguana. In an effort to combat this, STENAPA requested training on iguana spotting, catching, handling, beading, PIT-tagging, and data management.

Intensive searches finally proved successful, when on the final day of fieldwork the team captured a hybrid iguana. While this was cause for a small celebration, searches must continue to prevent further hybridization of the native species. The iguana in question (see photos below) was the offspring of the native Lesser Antillean Iguana mixed with the invasive Green Iguana. The genes of the non-native Green Iguana are so strong that the species outcompetes the native species and eventually causes its extirpation. Key features to look for when identifying hybrids include: black bands on the tail, small bumps behind the neck, flattened/elongated head, longer spines, size and shape of scales along the jaw, and lighter colored patterns on the body.

Climbing trees is part of the job

Climbing trees is part of the job

Tim van Wagensveld (RAVON) demonstrates the best way to hold an iguana

Tim van Wagensveld (RAVON) demonstrates the best way to hold an iguana

Inspecting the iguana for mites and abnormalities

Inspecting the iguana for mites and abnormalities

Giving the iguana a unique colored bead combination for easy identification

Giving the iguana a unique colored bead combination for easy identification

Using the pole to catch iguanas is not as easy as it first seems

Using the pole to catch iguanas is not as easy as it first seems

Measuring a hatchling discovered during a night survey

Measuring a hatchling discovered during a night survey

The participants practiced their spotting skills in the field

The participants practiced their spotting skills in the field

Night surveys revealed many hatchlings and juveniles

Night surveys revealed many hatchlings and juveniles

Tim van Wagensveld and Thijs van den Burg with a captured hybrid iguana

Tim van Wagensveld and Thijs van den Burg with a captured hybrid iguana

Hybrid features include: flattened head, larger dewlap, unusual jaw scales, and a striped tail

Hybrid features include: flattened head, larger dewlap, unusual jaw scales, and a striped tail

 

The team with the captured hybrid

The team with the captured hybrid

 

 

 

 

Welcome to EcoProfessionals.

March 2nd, 2016

A bimaculatus4

We offer ecological research and training services in the Caribbean:

  • Field surveys
  • Data analysis
  • Report-writing
  • Eco tour guide training
  • Species monitoring training
  • Species handling training
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Press articles
  • General advice and information