Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Didier de Bakker

Date: 17 April 2019
Time: 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Aula, building 362, Gen. Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

40 years of change on the coral reefs of Curacao and Bonaire

Group: Wageningen University, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Promotor: Prof.dr. H.J. Lindeboom
Co-promotor: Dr. H.W.G. Meester and dr. F.C. van Duyl


This thesis describes shifts in benthic sessile communities on the coral reefs of Curaçao and Bonaire since the 1970s. It shows how corals have become the victim of increased human activity on a local and global scale. Contrarily, fast growing, opportunistic taxa such as algae and cyanobacteria appear to thrive in these new reef conditions. The shifts in community composition have resulted in a substantial decline in accretion potential of these reefs. The majority of the studied reefs are currently incapable of tracking even the most optimistic projections of sea level rise. The loss of structurally complex reefs increases the risk of inundation of adjacent coastal areas. Yet, despite the overall gloomy findings, this thesis also presents a careful message of hope for coral reefs, because there are sections that appear are still in a relatively good condition even under the harsh global conditions.

Dissertations with full text links

By September we will present an overview of SENSE dissertations on this page, with links to the full texts of the dissertations.