Sediment rates and composition surrounding a disturbed outlet in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

The small island of Bonaire has seen a dramatic increase in visitation due to diving tourism. The economy of Bonaire depends on this influx of visitors and therefore has had an increasing demand for the development of new housing, resorts, and commercial areas. This study examines how the increased human development affects sediment deposition and nutrient load in an area surrounding a combined marina and salina outlet in Bonaire. Sediment load, sediment compositions, and interstitial water quality (water found in the sediment) were analyzed to determine if sediment or nutrient load had an effect on the reef community in the area. The results of this study show no significant trend suggesting reef degradation north of the marina due to point source pollution from the salina outlet. The results, however, only apply to the limited 26 day sampling period. There is a possible seasonal link that could not be explored here without further year-round data collection. These results show that while sediment, nitrogen and phosphate are present in the marine environment north of the marina outlet, it cannot be specifically linked to the marina using data collected in this study. Interstitial water analysis showed no detectable refined oil. The methodology implemented here could be modified to collect additional data in future research.

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XIII (Spring 2013)19: 17-22 from CIEE Bonaire.

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