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Belize Reefs - Scuba
Biodiversity and Reef Health Study - Scuba Diving
Coral reefs are the most diverse and complex of all marine communities. In the Western Atlantic Ocean, the best developed coral reef systems are in the vicinity of Belize and Honduras. In a collaborative program with Belizean agencies, the Oceanic Society is conducing coral reef monitoring to provide baseline data on current conditions of reef health along Belize's offshore coral atolls.
Divers are needed to assist marine biologists in the field. The long-term goal of this study is to assess the overall health of the reefs around Turneffe Atoll, to monitor the presence/absence as well as age/size classes of indicator fishes, one invertebrate and one major predator. In addition, this study monitors coral and algae cover on the reefs, and also gathers baseline data on species composition at the study sites. Under the direction of an Oceanic Society Principal Investigator, scuba divers will use non-destructive sampling techniques including quadrants, transects, and still photography. Divers will receive on-site training in sampling methods and will also learn to identify local fish and invertebrates, and become familiar with their behavior, distribution and cover.
A monitoring program and baseline data are essential components of a marine management plan, providing valuable information about reef ecosystems and the human activities affecting them. Expect six days of diving, averaging four hours daily to collect sub-tidal data, with a final dive on the morning of the seventh day. Some opportunities for recreational diving are available during off-hours.
This project offers unmatched diving opportunities while contributing to important coral reef conservation. Divers must be scuba certified and generally competent with buoyancy control but no other special certifications or skills are needed.
Headquarters for this project are at the Oceanic Society Field Station. Accommodations are in beachfront cabanas offering double occupancy rooms with private baths.
Day 1: Belize City/Blackbird Caye.
Day 2: Morning methods training and check-out dive. Afternoon familiarization with first survey site..
Day 3 thru 7: Daily sub-tidal research activities.
Day 8: Blackbird Caye/Belize City.