Caribbean coastal marine productivity program: 1993-2003.

The Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) Program is a regional scientific effort to study land-sea interaction processes, to monitor for change, and to provide appropriate scientific information for management of the coastal resources in the wider Caribbean region. The Program focuses on understanding the productivity, structure and functions of the three important coastal ecosystems: mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs, throughout the region. Within the wider Caribbean region there is general agreement that many coastal systems are changing for the worse. The ultimate causes

are explosive population growth and human- induced changes, including intense tourism development. Because the underlying causes of this decline are diverse, there is no agreement on how the ecosystems can be stabilized and restored, or even on what constitutes sustainable development.

The CARICOMP program was therefore conceived as a Caribbean-wide initiative to identify the factors responsible for sustaining mangrove, seagrass and coral reef productivity, to examine the interaction between these ecosystems, and to determine the role of terrestrial and oceanic influence on them. Scientific monitoring of these three ecosystems is performed on a daily, weekly and annual basis throughout the region using the same monitoring protocol, as outlined in the CARICOMP Methods Manual which is available at manual.html.

The CARICOMP Program was launched in 1985; however the network did not become established until 1990 and became fully functional in 1993.

The CARICOMP Network

The CARICOMP network is comprised of the laboratories, parks and reserves, which are committed to conducting the CARICOMP protocol, the Steering Committee and a central data archiving and management centre at the Caribbean Coastal Data Centre (CCDC), University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Steering Committee

The Steering Committee was established to bring management commitment and responsibility to the development and

implementation of the program. The Committee is recognized as the key "decision making" body for the CARICOMP Program and is responsible for the negotiation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with participating institutions. The MOUs specify the responsibility of each institution to the network, including the nomination of a Site Director and the obligation of the network in terms of equipment and logistical support. The Steering Committee membership is dynamic and currently has 11 elected and 2 ex-officio members: Co-chairs, John Ogden and Eric Jordán-Dahlgren, David Bone, Jaime Garzón- Ferreira, Rahanna Juman, Björn Kjerfve, George Warner, Ernesto Weil, Bill Wiebe, Jeremy Woodley, Jay Zieman and ex-officio members Dulcie Linton and Dean Milliken.

CARICOMP Sites and Institutions

To date the network has established links with 30 institutions in 13 islands and 10 mainland countries. Of the 30 institutions, 18 are actively participating and send data regularly to the Data Centre, 8 are currently inactive and 4 have not yet implemented the protocols. 

Data type
Other resources
Research and monitoring

The Lesser Antillean Iguana on St. Eustatius: A 2012 population status update and cause for concern

To assess the status and current population densities of the endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima) on the island of St. Eustatius, we spent more than 80 h searching for iguanas and covered more than 63 km of trails and tracks — but found only 22 iguanas, for an overall average of 3.7 h per iguana. Overall population density was 0.35 iguanas per hectare, which represents 0.5–1.0% of densities documented elsewhere in healthy populations. Population densities have declined across all habitats since the last assessment in 2004. The lack of nesting sites and high iguana mortalities due to anthropogenic causes were the two core factors limiting recovery of iguanas on St. Eustatius.

Our principal recommendations are to:

  • (a) Train and equip border officials to prevent potential entry of mongooses and Green Iguanas from neighboring islands;
  • (b) implement enforcement and upgrade protective legislation;
  • (c) develop and maintain new additional nesting habitat, a measure that is both easy and inexpensive; and
  • (d) establish a program to promoto "iguana-friendly" gardens as the main means of reducing cumulative mortality.

Finally, we propose the development of an in situ husbandry and breeding program to help bolster the overall recovery program, a move that would also benefit islanders by offering a relaxed setting in which they could better learn to appreciate this emblematic island species.

Data type
Scientific article
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius