Tuesday, June 25, 2013

D for Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is known for lush, tropical beaches, its food and its rich culture. It is also considered one of the most biologically diverse countries in the Caribbean. The country is part of the Caribbean Challenge. The goal of the Challenge — currently endorsed by five Caribbean nations — is to not only permanently establish a network of 20 million acres of marine parks across the territorial waters of at least 10 countries, but also to ensure that once established, the protected areas also receive sufficient and sustainable funding. Last year, by Presidential Decree the Dominican Republic added 31 new protected areas into its national protected areas system. The new protected areas encompass a total of  3.2 million acres — of terrestrial and marine habitat.

Nevertheless the country's biological wealth needs to be inventoried and the Hispaniola Barcode of Life Initiative is a first step. It aims to inventory and generate DNA Barcodes of the animal species that inhabit a small wildlife refuge in the city of San Pedro de Macorís (see map). 

The project is funded by a small grant from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of the Dominican Republic and led by two enthusiastic researchers: Dionel López and David Hernandez from the Universidad Central del Este.

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