AN OVERVIEW OF THE PHDS WORKING WITHIN THE SEALINK PROJECT

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VIRGINIA SÁNCHEZ BARRANCO

Affiliation: Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) 
Research topic: Three-dimensional dispersal of land-derived substances in the Dutch Caribbean

Experience:

- 2013 Bsc. Biology, UAM, Spain and Monash University, Australia

- 2018 Msc. Marine Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

- 2018-2021 Junior teacher in Sustainability Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

General research interests:

Coral reef ecology; food-webs; distribution of particulate and dissolved substances; water column processes

Research interests on Curacao:

As a part of the SEALINK project I will study the transport and distribution of land-derived nutrients, sediments and pollutants in and around reef ecosystems in the Dutch Caribbean.

My main goals for this project are to:

- Look at how these substances distribute in the water column and their dispersal

- Compare the effect and distribution of substances in the dry and wet season, as in the later big rainfall events and the consequent runoff into the ocean may have a pronounced effect on coral systems

- Use food-web experiments to assess if organisms within the water column are affected or depend on land-derived material

- Determine the reef effect on the benthic boundary layer and establish fluxes from and towards the reef

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DANICK TROUWLOON

Affiliation: Utrecht University 
Research topic: Uptake Strategies for Dutch Caribbean coral reef research

Experience:

I obtained a MSc in Ecological Economics in 2019, after which I worked as a Marine Specialist for a community-based fisheries management project and as a Climate Policy Analyst.

General research interests:

marine governance, small island developing states, climate policy

Research interests on Curacao:

As a part of the SEALINK project I will study the transport and distribution of land-derived nutrients, sediments and pollutants in and around reef ecosystems in the Dutch Caribbean.

My main goals for this project are to:

I am interested in how local communities can be supported by science and policy to manage their environmental resources sustainably in the wake of a changing climate and growing socio-economic pressures. As a Curacao native, I am specifically interested in understanding the dynamics that foster evidence-based decision making that contributes to the sustainable development of Curacao and the conservation of its precious marine and terrestrial resources. As part of the SEALINK research program, I will aim to understand the dynamics that enable or obstruct the uptake of scientific information produced in the context of SEALINK, as well as develop strategies to optimize the uptake of SEALINK research. I will do so in close collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders to ensure that research questions are relevant to potential users, that research methodologies are seen as legitimate, and that research findings are communicated effectively.

Contact information:

email (d.t.trouwloon@uu.nl) and through LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/danick-trouwloon-41a148186/) in Papiamentu, Dutch, English or Spanish.

Bertoncelj V.heic

VESNA
BERTONCELJ

Affiliation: Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) 
Research topic: Numerical modelling of ocean dynamics and transport of substances on Dutch Caribbean reef systems

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REX
STEWARD

Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) 
Research topic: Sustainable land management in the Dutch Caribbean

Experience:

2018: BSc diploma in Water Science and Environmental Engineering at University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
2021: MSc diploma in Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands)

General research interests:

Reef hydrodynamics, Lagrangian particle tracking, computational fluid dynamics, ocean waves

Research interests on Curacao:

As a part of the SEALINK project I will study the transport and distribution of land-derived nutrients, sediments and pollutants in and around reef ecosystems in the Dutch Caribbean.

My main goals for this project are to:

As a part of the SEALINK project I will focus the effects of ocean and nearshore hydrodynamics on the transport and distribution of particulate and dissolved substances that can potentially affect the health of coral reef ecosystem. My focus is on understanding 3D water flow and transport during normal and extreme (e.g. hurricanes) conditions and assessing the preferential pathways of particles with Lagrangian Particle tracking techniques. My research will help link the substances from the land and from the open ocean to the reef systems. I will explore this with a combination of fieldwork and numerical modelling techniques. During fieldwork I will focus on measuring the reef hydrodynamics at the coasts of Curaçao and other Dutch Caribbean islands and ocean hydrodynamics during the field expedition with a research vessel Pelagia..

Contact information:

email: vesna.bertoncelj@nioz.nl.

Experience:

- 2014 BSc. Civil Engineering, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, USA

- 2019 MSc. International Land and Water Management, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands

General research interests:

Participatory land use modeling and decision-making tools in watershed management

Research interests on Curacao:

As part of the SEALINK project I will study the future of land use in Curaçao and work with stakeholders to derive actionable priorities.

My main goals for this project are to:

- Assess how uncertain socioeconomic developments will shape future land use in the Dutch Caribbean

- Investigate potential land use configurations and their implications for Curaçaoan society and the wider Dutch Caribbean

- Explore innovative methods for “co-modeling” with stakeholders

- Identify hotspots and provide spatially explicit tradeoff analysis

- Arrive at specific, targeted management recommendations

Contact information:

Email (r.steward@vu.nl), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/rex-steward)

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LISA
SCHELLENBERG

Affiliation: Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)/ University of Amsterdam
Research topic: The movement of organic matter and microbes through watersheds of Dutch Caribbean Islands

Experience:

2020: MSc, Marine and Antarctic Science, University of Tasmania, Australia
2018: BSc, Earth & Environmental Science (Minor in Biochemistry & Cell Biology), Jacobs University, Germany

General research interests:

Marine Microbiology, Dissolved Organic Matter, Biogeochemistry, Antibiotic Resistance, Genomics, Microbial Ecology

Research interests on Curacao:

Water quality is often cited as a key driver of coral reef health, yet this topic is rarely studied (in detail) in the Dutch Caribbean. In coastal waters, the origin, abundance, and distribution of pollutants and other compounds can positively or negatively affect the survival of coral
reef communities. These substances are mainly introduced to the ocean from a terrestrial source (e.g., groundwater and surface discharge and coastal development). Within the larger interdisciplinary SEALINK project, elucidating how land-derived and waterborne inputs (including sediments, nutrients, pollutants, organic carbon, and pathogens) affect the growth and survival of coral reefs in the Dutch Caribbean, my PhD project will focus on the flow of chemical and microbial agent through the watershed. Using state-of-the-art techniques, I aim to (i) identify the key differences in microbial and chemical players between accreting and degrading reef systems, (ii) characterize the microbial community and trace ecologically-relevant substances from ridge to reef, (iii) identify the occurrence of antibiotic resistance in pathogens, and (iv) examine the effects of substances on organisms and communities on the benthic community (in collaboration with other SEALINK subprojects). Using the information of my research project in collaboration with that of the interdisciplinary team, the SEALINK project will show how natural processes and human influences along the land-sea continuum interact impacting coral reef communities, and
advice on land-use and ocean management scenarios.

 Contact information:

Email by: lisa.schellenberg@nioz.nl