What is DROP? - exploring the deep reefs in Curacao

Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) is the name of the project under which the Smithsonian Institution has been conducting research in Curaçao since they started in 2010. The great collaboration between Substation Curaçao and the Institution has led to an on-going project named as such.

Over the course of these years researchers from the Smithsonian have been active in several areas such as the ARMS (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures) project, been measuring water temperatures at different depths, researching (new) fish species, sponges, crabs and more. More about this can be found on this page.

DROP is a multidisciplinary Smithsonian project exploring the diversity of tropical deep reefs off the coast of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. Deep reefs are natural extensions of shallow water reefs. But because they lie beyond SCUBA diving depths, deep reefs are underexplored ecosystems worldwide.

DROP is a 2011 and 2012 Smithsonian Grand Challenge Award project funded in part by the Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Collecting with the submersible has been one of their main means of ‘transportation’. Although they’ve been using submersibles for many years, it offers them not only a mans of transportation but also the excellent weather conditions that the island of Curacao offers them.

This has finally caught the attention of many other scientists around the world and which also led to the Prime Minister of Curaçao, Ivar Asjes, to have visited the Institution in Washington.

Video credits: Smithsonian Institution