From 18–21.10.2016 we went to beautiful Bonaire to discuss the state-of-the-art of Caribbean research on ecosystem dynamics, issues with coastal erosion and the cultural heritage with a very broad group of colleagues from basically all scientific fields. Next to a core group from the Netherlands, many invited speakers gave an overview on their ongoing activities.
The meeting was hosted in the Beach Plaza Resort in Kralendijk, a wonderful place for diving, but also for this conference. The conference was organized by TNO and the Dutch Geological Survey to initiate and establish a sound network of scientists and stakeholder dealing with issues and threats to the Caribbean caused by global change and human impact. The very multidisciplinary character of the conference provided a wonderful, sometimes scary picture on the developments of the precious reefs and marine / terrestrial ecosystems, the long archaeological record of the early Amerindian settlements on the islands and the enormous threat by largely uncontrolled exploration of the coasts. From the Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology groups, Francesca gave a talk on harmful algae blooms. Rike was member of the organization, and Karin joined in as highly motivated (former) MSc student.
Networking went extremely well during this hot (in terms of air temperature and discussions) and I was very happy to meet our fellow palynology colleagues Ligia Urrego from the National University of Colombia and Gerald Islebe from ECOSUR in Mexico. They are true experts on tropical palaeoecology and had amazing data to show and stories to tell.
Now we are preparing a mission statement on what the community considers prime targets for further research in the Caribbean serving the socio-economical needs of the area.
For details on the conference see: