New expedition: Curaçao February 20th


The Baseline Caribbean team is gearing up for another expedition, this time to the sparkling, cerulean seas of the Netherlands Antilles in the Southern Caribbean.

Reefs on these Dutch Islands are in relatively good shape when compared to the rest of the Caribbean. But what were they like in the past?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that sharks were once abundant around these islands, yet empirical data are desperately needed to guide management. Reef fish communities are overfished today, but by how much? When did coral communities begin to deteriorate, and did it depend on their proximity to historical settlements?

To get at these questions and more, we plan to collect nearly a ton of sediment from modern and fossil reefs along the southwest coast of Curaçao. We also hope to get the chance to explore Klein Curaçao — a 1.7-square-kilometer uninhabited island just southeast of its big sister and namesake.

Instead of reading about the results in a stale journal in two years’ time, experience science in action. Beginning February the 20th, join us with daily posts, photos, and short videos from the field on the Baseline Caribbean science blog.

This expedition builds on our previous exploits in Panama, Belize and the Dominican Republic. We see familiar faces return: Erin Dillon (who recently hightailed it to the McCauley Lab), faithful malacologist Felix Rodriguez and ring-leader Aaron O’Dea. We are also joined by some fresh blood in the form of fish ecologist and evolutionary biologist Michele Pierotti and STRI videographer extraordinaire  Ana Endara.

A huge Thank You to our supporters who will make it possible: The Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity field station (CARMABI) who kindly gave us a Research Prize, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), and YOU! – the generous donors who contributed to our crowd-funding campaign. Stay tuned…!







There are 15 hours left in our crowdfunding campaign and we are 101% funded. If you want to make a last minute donation to show your support, there is still time remaining. Thanks  so much to everybody who backed our project during the campaign! YOU are making our work possible.

Stay tuned in February as we travel to the reefs of Curaçao and share our experiences from the field.

First stop before Jimani (1 of 3)

If you love sharks… three days left

$3000 to go with just three days remaining! If you think sharks are cool, consider donating just $5 to support our cause. Also, please share our project campaign across your social media and friend networks. We’ll need to reach our goal to receive the funds, and our field work won’t be possible without your support. We can make this happen!

You can support our work and learn more about the project here.

Denticle SEMs colored

Lab note #1: preliminary observations from Curaçao

A new lab note has been posted for our crowdfunding campaign, which shares some preliminary observations from Curaçao made during our trip last year. You can check it out here!

We’re 25% funded with 19 days to go! Thanks to all of our backers so far. This field work will not be possible unless we reach our funding goal.

N. brevirostris_body_245x, scale 100um

Denticle of the day: Scanning electron microscope image of a lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) denticle at 245x magnification. Scale = 100 micrometers.




Week 1 crowdfunding campaign update

Thanks to everybody who donated during the first week of our crowdfunding campaign! We really appreciate your support. Every little bit counts, and we’ll need to reach our goal of $4,000 in the next three weeks to receive the funds for our next field work mission. Again, please check out our project at and share it with your friends and colleagues. This campaign will help us uncover the history of sharks on reefs in Curaçao and keep the ‘Baseline Caribbean’ blog posts rolling.


Coral reef challenge crowdfunding campaign: starting August 23

Yesterday evening, Aaron and I launched a crowdfunding campaign as part of’s Coral Reef Challenge. We are raising money to support our upcoming field work in Curaçao, which will supplement an award we received at the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean scientific meeting last year. You can check out our campaign’s page and learn more about what we’re planning to do at The campaign participating in this challenge with the most donors by September 13 will win an additional $1000, and our campaign will run for a total of 30 days. We must raise at least our goal of $4000 to receive the funds. We’ll need your support to reach this goal and keep the blog posts flowing as we collect more samples for the Baseline Caribbean project. Donors will receive a shoutout on our Baseline Caribbean blog as we report live from the field, so keep an eye out in February. Thank you in advance for your support!