Sophie Vonk


I am a PhD-student working at the Environmental Technology department of Wageningen University, and in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO). My work involves looking into the ecological mechanisms underlying ecosystem services, and how greater ecological understanding of these services can contribute to improved protection. In my project I focus on the marine ecosystem of St Eustatius, a Dutch Caribbean island. Currently I am developing a stage-structured population model for the queen conch (a large snail) to study how increased mortality of each life stage will affect the adult population. I addition to this, I want to identify feedback mechanisms present in St Eustatius’ marine ecosystem, and whether these increase of decrease the resilience of the coral reef system. By gaining better understanding of the resilience of individual ecosystem services as well as the resilience of the ecosystem as a whole, I hope to contribute to the improvement of conservation strategies aiming for the protection of ecosystem services.