UAUCU Student Research Exchange Collected Papers 2016 (Vol. 2)

Introduction to the second edition of the UAUCU Student Research Exchange Collected Papers

In this publication you will find papers and reflections that were written by thirteen participants in the UAUCU student research exchange project 2016, a project that offers students from University College Utrecht (UCU), University Utrecht (UU) and the University of Aruba (UA) the opportunity to conduct research in a multidisciplinary international student team. All students have submitted papers that reflect the diversity of approaches that the students have followed. The 2015 edition of this program has proven to be successful: three papers have led to international publications and two papers have resulted in thesis that received awards. We wish the same for the participants in the 2016 edition.

On the following pages you will find papers on language and culture, health care development, international relations and diplomacy, labor and productivity, organizational transitions and sustainability. While reading you will notice that the research was in different stages of completion at the time of publication of this book: for some of the participants, the field research is completed but data still need to be interpreted, for some the field research still has to start, and for some, the research and analysis have been completed. Some students are still struggling with the interpretation and presentation of their findings. Based upon this fieldwork the student will write their bachelor’s or master’s thesis. The research interests of the students are diverse but show a common interest in sustainable development and it is clear from the final products that the collaboration in the multidisciplinary team has influenced their approach to their research topics.

Every student has written a reflection on his or her experiences during the project that you will find in this book. It is an interesting experience to read the reflections of the participants and to see how strong the collaboration and support has been among the students. These reflections tell you more about the core of this project: it is not only about doing research and about making student research meaningful; it is also about the realization that we can achieve more if we approach problems from several perspectives at the same time, and work together in teams that are multidisciplinary and as such complementary.

The papers in this volume are the product of peer to peer learning: the students in the research team have provided each other with feedback on content, method, style, language and structure. The papers have been published as they were submitted by the students; including the odd spelling mistake, grammatical error, raw opinion or hasty generalization.

Looking back at this second year of the project, one realizes how many people have been involved. It is impossible to name everybody; many people are crucial to the success of a project like this. For everybody who has been part of this project as (guest) lecturer, supervisor, manager, initiator, facilitator, student, interviewee, respondent, guide, coach or mentor: thank you very much for your support!

Eric Mijts & Jocelyn Ballantyne, Project coordinators UAUCU



Language and Culture

Anne Maamke Boonstra - UCU

The Performance of Gender & Sexuality During Carnival on Aruba

Maja Vasić - UU

The preferred language of instruction in the higher education in Aruba: attitudinal, situational and motivational aspects

Fardau Bamberger - UU

The role of English in Aruba’s linguistic landscape


Health and Care Development

Felishah Ponson - UA

The emotional impact on people with disabilities striving to be independent in Aruba

Dahariana Evertsz - UA

A situational Analysis of the relevant welfare services and social security programs for the older population of Aruba: implications for policy

Nurianne Dhalía Arias - UA

Diabetes Management in a Changing Society


International Relations and Diplomacy

Ghislaine Nicolaas - UA

Economic Diplomacy in Sub-National Island Jurisdiction


Labor and Productivity

Giancarla Lobbrecht - UA

Absenteeism in the Public Sector

Gianira Maduro - UA

Satisfaction of the ‘Bezoldigingsregeling Ambtenaren’


Organizational Transitions and Sustainability

Mirjam Snitjer - UU

“The Sexiness of Sustainability” Perspectives Towards Sustainability of Aruban Citizens

Anniek van Wezel - UU

The utility and waste management sector in the 2020 vision of Aruba

Lizanne Takke - UU

Aruba’s sustainable transition: leadership used in an organizational transition towards sustainability from a management perspective

Jochem Pennekamp - UA

Does the Model Fit the Format? A Re-contextualization of the Triple Helix Model(s) in a Small Island Setting

Data type
Research report
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location

Linking removal targets to the ecological effects of invaders: a predictive model and field test


Species invasions have a range of negative effects on recipient ecosystems, and many occur at a scale and magnitude that preclude complete eradication. When complete extirpation is unlikely with available management resources, an effective strategy may be to suppress invasive populations below levels predicted to cause undesirable ecological change. We illustrate this approach by developing and testing targets for the control of invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) on Western Atlantic coral reefs. We first developed a size-structured simulation model of predation by lionfish on native fish communities, which we used to predict threshold densities of lionfish beyond which native fish biomass should decline. We then tested our predictions by experimentally manipulating lionfish densities above or below reef-specific thresholds, and monitoring the consequences for native fish populations on 24 Bahamian patch reefs over 18 months. We found that reducing lionfish below predicted threshold densities effectively protected native fish community biomass from predation-induced declines. Reductions in density of 75- 95%, depending on the reef, were required to suppress lionfish below levels predicted to over-consume prey. On reefs where lionfish were kept below threshold densities, native prey fish biomass increased by 50-70%. Gains in small (<6cm) size classes of native fishes translated into lagged increases in larger size classes over time. The biomass of larger individuals (>15cm total length), including ecologically important grazers and economically important fisheries species, had increased by 10-65% by the end of the experiment. 

Crucially, similar gains in prey fish biomass were realized on reefs subjected to partial and full removal of lionfish, but partial removals took 30% less time to implement. By contrast, the biomass of small native fishes declined by more than 50% on all reefs with lionfish densities exceeding reef-specific thresholds. Large inter-reef variation in the biomass of prey fishes at the outset of the study, which influences the threshold density of lionfish, means that we could not identify a single rule-of-thumb for guiding control efforts. However, our model provides a method for setting reef-specific targets for population control using local monitoring data. Our work is the first to demonstrate that for ongoing invasions, suppressing invaders below densities that cause environmental harm can have a similar effect, in terms of protecting the native ecosystem on a local scale, to achieving complete eradication.

Data type
Scientific article
Research and monitoring