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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 ~2200 sq km, with a 50 km fringing reef crest. 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, and fish traps were used to study the biotic assemblages. This poorly studied region was found to have unusually high biodiversity, including several undescribed species.
Image Credit: Photos: Juan Armando Sanchez, Diane Littler, and Jeff Williams. Composite image: Paul Hoetjes, Department of Environment & Nature of the Netherlands Antilles.