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Table of Contents: PLoS ONE: Biodiversity of Saba Bank

COVER

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Saba Bank is the largest submarine atoll in the Atlantic Ocean, adjacent to the nearby island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles. The submerged platform is large, ~2200 sq km, with a 50 km fringing reef crest along the platform edge at an average depth of 25 m. Large vessels traveling to and from an oil terminal on nearby St. Eustatius Island routinely anchor on Saba Bank, damaging benthic habitats. Marine biodiversity research was necessary to help inform any national and international protective measures.

This collection of articles represents an international collaboration to characterize the richness, diversity, and habitat affinities of marine taxa on Saba Bank. Multibeam bathymetry, satellite imagery, scuba transects, roving surveys, remotely operated vehicles (ROV), and fish and crab traps were used to study the biotic assemblages. This poorly studied region of the Caribbean was found to have unusually high biodiversity, including several undescribed species.

Photos: Juan Armando Sanchez, Diane Littler, and Jeff Williams. Composite image: Paul Hoetjes, Department of Environment & Nature of the Netherlands Antilles.

Overview

Research Articles

Marine Macroalgal Diversity Assessment of Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles

Mark M. Littler, Diane S. Littler, Barrett L. Brooks

Biodiversity Assessment of the Fishes of Saba Bank Atoll, Netherlands Antilles

Jeffrey T. Williams, Kent E. Carpenter, James L. Van Tassell, Paul Hoetjes, Wes Toller, Peter Etnoyer, Michael Smith

Preliminary Assessment of Sponge Biodiversity on Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles

Robert W. Thacker, M. Cristina Díaz, Nicole J. de Voogd, Rob W. M. van Soest, Christopher J. Freeman, Andrew S. Mobley, Jessica LaPietra, Kevin Cope, Sheila McKenna