Belize Expedition, 2011
I am so excited to have another guest blogger join us! Below you'll hear from Scott Jones, the Program Coordinator of the Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program, who (along with Zach Foltz, also of SI), have been collaborating on the establishment of a monitoring program for Carrie Bow Caye. Scott is overly kind below - don't let him fool you, he and Zach work just as hard! ;-)
From Scott Jones:
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know we are wrapping up a very busy week here at the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station. Looking back on the past few days, I feel excited to be a part of a great partnership between the New England Aquarium and the Smithsonian’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Program. We are very glad to be hosting the first official coral monitoring program associated with the newly created South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Environmental and biological monitoring is an important way to support marine reserves. They measure their effectiveness, provide feedback that allows management plans to adapt to changes, and lend support to the creation of more marine protected areas.
As a research program, we are interested in the ecological questions that can be answered by surveying the reef and fishes both inside and outside of the reserve boundary. Coral reefs face many threats, both global and local in scale. Marine protected areas are one of the few immediate changes we can make that may offset the impacts that are affecting coral reefs globally.
A spanish grunt amidst the Agaricia lettuce coral.
On a personal note, I am amazed by how much we were able to accomplish this week, and even more impressed with how hard Randi, Pete, Jay and Walter have worked during their expedition, they just don’t quit! I am very much looking forward to working with them in the future and carrying our new monitoring program forward.
-Scott Jones, Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program