Monday, June 1, 2015

Belize 2015 | Carrie Bow Cay Snorkel

Staff from the New England Aquarium recently traveled to Belize as part of a long-term research program run by Aquarium scientist Randi Rotjan, PhD, to monitor coral health near Carrie Bow Cay. Today's post by Giant Ocean Tank diver Sean Marden is part of a series about these research efforts.

I recently had the privilege of traveling down to Carrie Bow Cay in Belize with several other NEAq researchers. Since this was my first trip my goal was to learn the protocols of the research and familiarize myself with the area.

Carrie Bow Cay is an intimate little island with lots to explore

We were treated with clear skies and a full moon on most nights

This trip was a great opportunity for me to practice identifying the numerous Caribbean fish species that live near Carrie Bow. As a Giant Ocean Tank diver I work with a lot of adult fish but rarely get up close and personal with young juveniles. As practice I spent an afternoon snorkeling on the reef that borders Carrie Bow and was treated to an incredible diversity of fish. Check out the video below and see if you can identify any of the animals, especially the juveniles!

Reef and sea grass beds are important areas for small juvenile fish. The cover provided by these habitats helps the fish avoid predators and gives them time to grow up to adults. That is why it is important for us to protect and study these delicate areas. I am glad I had the opportunity to observe them first hand! 

Catch up on previous trips to Belize—lots more amazing pictures!
  • Sean most recently visited this past spring
  • See the beauty of hermit crabs and ride out a tropical storm during their 2013 trip
  • Learn more about threats to corals, plus signs of a late-night visitor to Carrie Bow Cay, in 2012
  • See what other researchers are up to at the research station in 2011
  • And read the exciting post where the marine protected area was announced in 2010

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