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Sea Cucumber Lead Researcher Publishes in Beche-de-mer

Dr. Rogers conducting research with the assistance of student volunteers

Dr. Arlenie Rogers, UB ERI Marine Research Fellow recently published two (2) papers of her ongoing work on sea cucumbers in the Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin, a journal exclusively dedicated to sea cucumbers. Beche-de-mer is the French alteration of the Portuguese term for sea cucumber “Bicho-do-mar”. In today’s sea cucumber fishery, “beche-de-mer” means processed sea cucumber.

While travelling Belizean waters in September 2016, Dr. Rogers and Canadian sea cucumber expert Dr. Jean-Francois Hamel came about a Nicaraguan Miskito fisher who drew attention on the sea cucumber fishery in Nicaragua. Along with Dr. Annie Mercier of the Memorial University of Newfoundland they decided to conduct further research and publish about this fishery. In this paper, Rogers et al. draw our attention to the fishery in Nicaragua that operates under unethical, unsafe and life threatening conditions. With no alternative, desperate poverty drives fishers to continue fishing, getting decompressed (the bends) while diving for sea cucumbers or dying. Dr. Rogers and team also published a video, Nicaragua Disabled Miskito Sea Cucumber Fisher, to bring this practice to light.

Janel McNab preparing microscope slides at the UB ERI lab

Her second publication as a second author is the result of the BSc Biology thesis by UB student Janel McNab (1st author). This paper looks at the identification of five (5) sea cucumber species by the calcareous spicules (microscopic calcium carbonate structures found in their skin). The results of this paper are critical in identifying sea cucumbers whether dead or alive, especially if they have been cooked, chopped or illegally harvested.

Read Dr. Rogers’ full publications here:

From life-sustaining to life-threatening: The case of the sea cucumber fishery in Nicaragua

Holothuroidea species found in Belizean waters

For more information on her Sea Cucumber research contact Dr. Rogers at

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