Title: STENAPA update
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100100/00024
 Material Information
Title: STENAPA update
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation
Place of Publication: Gallow Bay, St Eustatius, N.A.
Publication Date: December 2009
Copyright Date: 2010
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100100
Volume ID: VID00024
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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December 2009

P Newsletter 4/2009


Learning the Nature of Sharks

In some shape or form, sharks
have been around for about
400 million years. Even before
dinosaurs roamed the earth,
sharks hunted through our
oceans and some rivers and
lakes. Sharks are such good
survivors that they have not
changed much in the last 150
million years.
One of the reasons that sharks
are such successful predators is
that they have what you can
call super senses.
Two-thirds of a shark's brain is
dedicated to its strongest
sense smell. Some sharks also
have eyes with a mirror-like
layer which allows them to see
better in the water so that the
shark can hunt in clear seas or
murky water.
To top it off, sharks have a few
unusual senses. For instance,
they are able to feel vibrations
in the water using a line of
canals that go from its head to
its tail. Called a "lateral line",
these canals are filled with
water and contain sensory
cells with hairs growing out of

them. These hairs move when
the water vibrates and alerts
the shark to potential
prey. Sharks also have a sen-
sory organ called the
ampullaee of Lorenzini" which
they use to "feel" the electrical
field coming from its prey.
Some people have an unrea-
sonable fear of sharks but the
fact remains thatyou are 1,000
times more likely to drown in
the sea than you are to be
bitten by a shark. About 100
people in the world are bitten
by sharks each year. Of these
only five to ten die. The
chance of being killed by a
shark is one in 300 million. The
chance of being killed by air-
plane parts falling from the sky
is one in 10 million.
Having said that, experts esti-
mate that 35 to 40 million
sharks per year are killed for
their fins. This is to make shark
fin soup which is a delicacy in
some Asian countries. The fins
are cut off and the shark is left
to die on the reef as it can no
longer swim. Shark meat is
often too low-value compared
to the target species (e.g. tuna)

so 95-99% of the shark is dis-
carded to conserve space.
Shark fin provides bulk in shark
fin soup, but it has no taste -
the soup has to be flavored
with chicken or other stock. So
it is truly an unnecessary waste
of marine life.
Sharks are very important in
the marine ecosystem. They rid
the seas of sick, injured and
dead fish and animals which
maintains a healthy ocean
ecosystem, enabling the fittest
to survive.
As another example, sharks
feed on their cousins the sting
rays and help keep down their
populations. If sting ray popu-
lations get out of control then
they in turn will decimate the
crustacean population that
they feed on such as crabs,
shrimps and clams. So in es-
sence top predators like sharks
help stabilize ecosystems by
keeping under control the
effects of more abundant
smaller predators.
Every ecosystem is like a com-
munity and every member of
that community is important. If
one is removed it creates
an imbalance that forces
all the other members to
adjust and sometimes
that can have a very
detrimental effect.
Next year the National
Parks Foundation will be
providing more informa-
tion on these amazing
predators to the general
public through an
awareness program.

The Nature of Sharks

Botanical Garden
10 YearAnniversary

Taking Care ofOurTrees 4

Symbiotic Relationships 5

That Thing on Your Back 6

Don't forget...

Guided Hikes: Available for
groups of 2 or more

Botanical Garden: Open from
sunrise to sunset. Great for fam-
ily picnics and BBQs

Kids' Clubs: Snorkel Club, Jun-
ior Rangers I and II and Ad-
vanced Snorkel Club.

Captain Dory Preserve:
The eco-friendly camp site on
island. Call for information and


It is illegal to anchor,
fish, set traps or
spear fish

in the Reserves.

Nothing at all may

be removed

from the Reserves.

Inside this Publication...

-St -sai us:Naionlan Mainears an'd Botanical-Garden


10 Years of the Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Garden

View from above the Palm Garden five years ago. The Garden is
shown here in its first stages

View of the Palm Garden area today.

Ten years ago the Miriam C. Schmidt Bo-
tanical Garden was inaugurated with the
objective of preserving the native flora
and fauna of St. Eustatius. Since then the
garden has grown in size and stature
with public gardens including a Sensory
Garden, Palm Garden, Lookout Garden,
Children's Garden, and Fruit Garden. The
Garden has also been featured in the
2009 publication '1001 Gardens to See
Before You Die', highlightingjust how far
it has come in ten shortyears.

Events to celebrate this important anni-
versary commenced on Sunday Novem-
ber 29th with the first of many daily
guided tours of the Garden hosted by
Nicole Esteban, Manager of the St Eusta-
tius National Parks. Visitors were shown
many of the important plant species that
Statia enjoys and were informed on the
various uses that these plants had histori-
cally and in the present day. The first
visitors also received free copies of the
new Botanical Garden Visitors Guide,
recently funded by Prince Bernhard Cul-

ture Fund (Netherlands Antilles and
Aruba) and launched in conjunction with
the ten year anniversary.

The evening of Wednesday December
2nd saw another first for the Garden,
with a full-moon guided tour and food
sale staffed by STENAPA board, staff,
interns and volunteers. The tours proved
to be extremely popular with nearly one
hundred people attending. Guests en-
joyed viewing the Garden in a different
light with the full-moon showing a
beauty rarely seen by visitors.

Equally popular was the food sale after-
wards and thanks goes to Treasurer of
STENAPA, Ruth Pandt for providing the
delicious food and equipment.

In the afternoon of Thursday December
3rd, the garden hosted a scavenger hunt
for members of STENAPA's Junior Rang-
ers and other school children. Nearly 40
children attended and had great fun
exploring the whole of the garden while

learning about many of the plants and
wildlife in the process.

The highlight of the week's activities
was a Children's Garden fete on the
afternoon of Friday December 4th
Around one hundred children came to
the Garden and were treated to a
range of activities provided by
STENAPA volunteers, interns and staff.

Page 2

'Chenfflor~gi& i th
CUMI 6' 6,hdt (,mm

Newsletter 4/2009

Jansen, Magiolien Harrigan
and Jadisee Courter, all of the
SLynch Plantation school,
clinched first place.

Face painting in the newly completed
Children's pavilion proved to be ex-
tremely popular, as were events such as
the obstacle course and maze, limbo and
fin races. Other activities included lemon
and spoon races, pin the iguana on the
silk cotton tree, Statia treasure hunt and
free tomato plants for every child.

The afternoon was rounded off with a
prize giving ceremony where the win-
ners of the children's arts, crafts and po-
etry competition and an adult's poetry
competition were recognized with certifi-
cates. In the youngest age group, the
winner was Veronique Windefelde of
Golden Rock school with a beautiful pic-
ture of STENAPA's logo. In the second
age group, a wonderful 3D garden de-
sign from Savannah Lopes, Sonairis

- The oldest age group was
won by Saffira van Engel of
the Gwendolin van Putten
school. Her bright and colour-
ful painting of the Garden impressed the
judges and showed a real talent for art.
The winners from cycle I and 2 received
a boat trip around Statia and a copy of
the new Botanical Garden Visitors Guide.
Runners-up received copies of the guide
and STENAPA t-shirts. The adult competi-
tion was won by Franziska Elmer, whose
poem about life in the Garden captured

Art entry bySaffira van Engel of HA VO 4

the judges' imaginations. The Old Gin
House and Bluebead restaurants kindly
donated the first prizes of dinner vouch-
ers for the teenage and adult categories.

The celebrations continued for two
weeks after as over 200 school children
attended the garden for informative
tours as part of their monthly school cur-
riculum coordinated by STENAPA. There
was also time for exploring other parts of
the Garden and of course, play time in
the newly opened Children's Garden.

More information and images of the
events are available on the web site
(www.statiapark.org). These events were
kindly supported by a number of local
businesses, including the Old Gin House
hotel, Blue Bead restaurant, Mazinga Gift
Shop, Scubaqua and White Wall Con-
struction. Thanks to DROB Department
and the bus drivers for assisting with
bringing hundreds of children to the
Botanical Garden during the 3 weeks.
The activities and work of the Botanical
Garden are assisted by the Dutch Carib-
bean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and the
Netherlands Postcode Lottery.

St Eustatius: National and Marine
Parks and Botanical Gardens

.. . Q .. .. .. .

STENAPA is an environmental not-for-profit foundation on St Eustatius
and was established in 1988. The objectives of STENAPA are to upkeep
the natural environment, to preserve and protect endangered or endemic
species (flora and fauna) and to educate the community about the impor-
tance of the protection of the natural environment.

Areas of responsibility include management of the marine park, the na-
tional parks and the Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens. STENAPA is
legally delegated by the Island Council to manage these protected areas.

National Parks Office
Gallows Bay
St. Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles
Phone/Fax 599-318-2884
Email: semp@goldenrocknet.com

Vice President:

Irving Brown
Ronnie Courtar
Ruth Pandt
Ingrid Walther

Next edition of STENAPA Update available soon with articles on:

* A review of the year 2009
* Where are all the birds in Statia?
* Educational workshop to reduce by catch from ghost fish traps
* Overview from annual Reef Check
* Junior Rangers in action
And a Happy Environmentally Friendly Year for 2010!!!

Taking Caro of Ou Jsl6and Trees

Do you ever stop to think about the trees
that are all around us? Trees play a very
significant role in our well being. The
very air we breathe is improved by the
presence of trees. In order to feed them-
selves, trees absorb harmful chemicals
such as carbon monoxide and in turn
give off oxygen. As well, they filter and
trap pollutants such as smoke, dust, and
ash which then makes our air even

Trees not only absorb water preventing
flooding, but also help disperse rainfall
over a more even area. By retaining wa-
ter, trees help reduce the amount of top-
soil that runs off into our bay front wa-

Trees attract birds and other wildlife and
make the island look green. Compare our
island to the lower ABC islands which are
for the most part desert like and dry be-
cause of the lack of trees. Trees provide
us with shelter and with food. Statia has
changed very much from the past but
there are still areas where wild fruit trees
abound and are easy to get to. The

Northern hills have always been a popu-
lar spot to find Blackberries for instance.

A very real threat to the health of our
trees is the invasive Corallita vine. Coral-
lita grows over the canopy of the trees
and blocks the sunlight from reaching
the leaves. It effectively smothers the
plants that it covers. As we all know it is
very hard to control but simply pulling it
off the trees in youryard or by the side of
the road can give the affected trees some
breathing space to recover.

Even worse for the trees is the parasitic
leafless vine called Yellow Death, Yellow
Love, Love Love or Devil's Shoestring. It
has tightly clinging tendrils that are much
harder to remove than the Corallita vine
and actually feeds on the trees by insert-

ing root-like tendrils into the tree
branches, giving it the name Vampire
plant in some countries. A person notic-
ing this vine should immediately remove
it and destroy it because it not only feeds
off and smothers the trees but can some-
times carry plant diseases.

Fencing your yard is another way to pro-
tect your trees. Roaming animals go to
great lengths to reach the leaves of the
edible trees. Fencing also helps to keep
Corallita out of your yard and away from
your trees as it first completely covers the
fence before intruding further into the
yard which gives you time to remove it.
Let us all do our own little share and we
will be able to once again enjoy the fruits
of our labors as in days gone by.

r1:0St^ par^

STENAPA Extra Focus on Statia Species

Symbiotic relationships on Statia

In this edition we are going to talk about
two symbiotic relationships that exist on
Statia; one on land and one in the sea.

The first can be found during a trip into
the Quill's crater; an area that is home to
large trees, ferns, vines, lianas, mosses and
many species of epiphytes. One of these
trees, Cecropia sp., grows to around 60-80
feet in height and its circular, palmately
lobed leaves are so distinct they can even
be seen from the crater rim.

Named after the mythical first king of Ath-
ens, Cecrops I, Cecropia is a genus of
about 25 species of trees in the nettle fam-
ily (UrticaceaE and is considered a pio-
neer species that thrives in clearings and
disturbed areas. You will find a number of
these trees along the trail in an area of the
crater that is disturbed (probably from a
past hurricane) and lets in more light than
the rest of the local environment. At first
you will spot large, silver leaves (up to 30-
40 cm) lying on the ground, big enough
to be used as an umbrella in case you get
caught in a rainstorm.

b --

Cecropia leaves in photo have fallen prey
to herbivory

Cecropia is a fast-growing tree that sheds
its lower limbs. Look up to the canopy and
you will see the leaves spread out over-
head; these act as solar panels, trapping
sunlight and sending energy to the tree,
enabling it to grow at a faster rate than
most other trees.

Cecropia leaves are a popular food source
among the larvae of various species of
moth, hence the tree's need to prevent
herbivory. Its brown fruits, often known as
snake fingers, are a favourite snack among
bats and birds. Approach the tree trunk

intruders are encountered, the patrollers
work together to pin them down. How-
ever, instead of killing them, they may
simply drag them to the edge of the plant
and drop them off.

Hollow stem ot Cecropia tree.photo by
Alex Wild

and knock: what do you hear? It is hollow
and within these hollow limbs lives a spe-
cies called the Cecropia ant (Aztecasp.).

Although the Cecropia tree has a number
of natural defences, including latex ducts
and tannins to deter herbivory, it still falls
prey to this, which is where the Azteca
ants come in. Cecropia trees, unlike the
other trees in the crater, are rarely covered
in vines or lianas. This is because Azteca
ants prevent competition from other
plants by chewing any encroaching vines.
The ants live in the hollow stems of the
tree. As the plant lays down new stems,
the founding queen chews through a thin
membrane in the area where the opening
is made. Cecropia trees entice Azteca ants
to be residents by producing Mullerian
bodies, small white structures which are
rich in protein, lipids and glycogen, and
which grow in dense areas of hairs just
below the attachment ooint of the leaves.

Azteca ants collecting Mullerian bodies

When mature, these Mullerian bodies are
collected by the ants and carried to their
nest as a tasty snack.

Aztecaants are not happy about finding
other species on their host tree. When

ntruderlet.Pht byAlex Wild
intruderr al/et/ Photo byA/ex Wld

The Cecropiatree gets defence and a sup-
ply of nitrogen from the ants. Some say
the nitrogen comes from the bodies of
decaying ants, others from their waste
matter. Some may question whether or
not this should be called a symbiotic rela-
tionship, since the tree benefits much
more than the ant (some studies show the
plant benefits more from the nitrogen
than the ants get from the Mullerian bod-
ies, which may be only about 20% of ca-
loric intake). Regardless, it is clear that
both species benefit from the relationship:
the ants could not survive without the
nesting sites, whereas even though Ce-
cropia trees could survive without the
ants, their contributions in terms of nitro-
gen and defence certainly increase the
chance for tree survival and reproduction.

Azteca ants share a tender moment:
photo byA/ex Wild

So the next time you are in the Quill cra-
ter, look for the large leaves of Cecropia
trees and search for angry-looking ants.

Page 5

STENAPA Extra Focus on Statia Species

What's that thing on your back?

Divers who visit Statia and are lucky
enough to see a shark or large ray, may
also notice an odd-looking fish that ap-
pears to be stuck to its skin. This fish is
called a remora, sometimes also known as
suckerfish or sharksucker, which is an
elongated, brown fish in the family
Echeneidae. They grow to 30-90 cm long
(1-3 ft), and their distinctive first dorsal fin
takes the form of a modified oval sucker-
like organ with slat-like structures that
open and close to create suction and take
a firm hold against the skin of larger ma-
rine animals. By sliding backwards, the
remora increases suction, or it can release
itself by swimming forward. Remoras

Some remoras associate primarily with
specific host species. Remoras around
Statia's waters are often found attached to
sharks, manta rays, whales and turtles.
Smaller remoras also fasten onto fish like
tuna and swordfish, and some even travel
in the mouths or gills of large manta rays,
ocean sunfish, swordfish, and sailfish.

The relationship between remoras and
their hosts is most often taken to be one of
commensalism, specifically phoresy
(where one organism transports another
organism of a different species). The host
they attach to for transport gains nothing
from the relationship, but also loses little.
The remora benefits by using its host as
transport and protection and also feeds
on materials dropped by the host. There is
some debate as to whether a remora's diet
is primarily leftover fragments, or the fae-
ces of the host. In some species, consump-
tion of host faeces has been found in gut
dissections. For other species, such as
those found in a host's mouth as men-
tioned above, scavenging of leftovers is
more likely. For some remora and host

genus name Echeneiscomes from Greek
echein ("to hold") and naus ("a ship"). The
ancient Romans actually attributed the
death of Emperor Caligula to remoras.
They were believed to be fastened onto
his ship, holding it back and allowing the
enemy ships to overtake it. The ancient
Greeks and Romans had written widely
about remoras and had ascribed to them
many magical powers such as the ability
to cause an abortion if handled in a cer-
tain way. Shamans in Madagascar to this
day attach portions of the Remora's suc-
tion disk to the necks of wives to assure
faithfulness in their husband's absence.

Because of the shape of thejaws, appear-
ance of the sucker, and coloration of the
remora, it sometimes appears to be swim-
ming upside down. This probably led to
the older common name reversus, al-
though this might also derive from the
fact that the remora frequently attaches
itself to the tops of manta rays or other
fish, so that the remora is upside down
while attached.

Remoras sometimes attach to divers

sometimes even attach themselves to di-
vers or boats. They also swim well on their
own, with a sinuous, or curved, motion.

Remoras are primarily tropical open-ocean
dwellers. In the mid-Atlantic, spawning is
quick and usually takes place in June and
July. The sucking disc begins to show
when the young fish are about I cm long.
When the remora reaches about 3 cm, the
disc is fully formed and the remora is then
able to hitch a ride. The remora's lower
jaw projects beyond the upper, and unlike
most fish they have no swim bladder (an
internal organ that contributes to the
buoyancy of a fish).


pairings the relationship is closer to mutu-
alism, with the remora cleaning bacteria
and other parasites from the host.

The remora's suction power is so strong
that some cultures use them to catch tur-
tles. A cord or rope is fastened to the rem-
ora's tail, and when a turtle is sighted the
fish is released from the boat; it usually
heads directly for the turtle and fastens
itself to the turtle's shell, and then both
remora and turtle are hauled in. Smaller
turtles can be pulled completely into the
boat by this method, while larger ones are
hauled within harpooning range.

In Latin remora means "delay," while the

http://www.marietta.edu/-biol/costa rica/ani
mals/cecropia ants.htm

era/Azteca/9321705 K2VsV/1/630091285 o
bwiC#630091285 obwiC

(Remora) http://en.wilkiedia.org/wiki/Remora

Page 6

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