MSc internship report
The project Restoration of resilience of nature and society in the Caribbean Netherlands aims to improve the resilience of the coral reefs in the BES (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba) islands, by mitigating the local stressors. One of the methodologies used is water quality monitoring. For this research, the focus was on chlorophyll a and turbidity temporal and spatial variability in Saba, and on how this could be related to anthropogenic and natural land-based local stressors. Chlorophyll a is a key water quality parameter which can give an insight on the eutrophic state of an area, while turbidity can be used as an indicator for coastal erosion and run-offs. These parameters were measured in 13 sampling sites, bi-weekly from May to August 2022, using two CTDs, a sensitive sensor technology. The land-based stressors were mapped as a result of qualitative analysis. Chlorophyll a values were highly variable, and often exceeded the safety threshold (0.2 μg/L) previously chosen, suggesting that the area was in a chronic state of eutrophication. Turbidity instead remained more stable and nearly always below the 3 NTU threshold. On one hand, spatial variability was not always directly linked to land-based stressors, and might be better interpreted including the action of sea currents. Temporal fluctuations, on the other hand, can be only partly explained by the amount of rainfall increasing run-offs from land to sea. Moreover, further research is needed to quantify local stressors, and long-term monitoring is necessary to fully understand the amplitude and nature of their influence on water quality.