- The staff from the Belize Fisheries Department based at South Water Caye Marine Reserve
- Andrzej Narozanski at Utila Centre for Marine Ecology (UCME) for assistance with logistics and personnel for the survey work
- Bay Islands Conservation Association (BICA) for their advice and permission to conduct research around Utila.
These last two sites certainly were interesting as they had some major differences to the others.
Pelican Cayes mangroves
The Pelican Cayes are part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System – World Heritage Site (BBRRS-WHS) and are linked to the main reef by a series of deep channels. They have a unique habitat - fringing reefs around mangrove cayes - the root systems of which contain rare species of tunicates and sponges. The biodiversity of the mangrove habitat certainly seemed to be greater than that of the other sites but the full scale of the dissimilarity and if it is reflected on the reef as well will have to wait until the data has been fully analysed. However, a report after a UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission conducted in March 2009 concluded that the property (BBRRS-WHS) is faced with specific and proven imminent danger, and should be considered for immediate inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The area around the Pelican Cayes was specifically sited due to extensive mangrove deforestation, dredging and development. After a stunning small aircraft flight down the reef to Honduras, some busses, taxis and a ferry we finally made it to Utila. Blessed with a couple of days of fine weather we were able to get around the northern side of the island which is predominantly undeveloped and more typical of the system. Unlike most of our sites there are no patch reefs and the island is essentially surrounded by a fringing reef with mangrove and seagrass habitats found within inlets and lagoons. As with all the locations up to date the we were able to engage the help of local NGOs we obtained valuable knowledge of the area from the staff at BICA. Along with the diving assistance from UCMS and the charter of a local dory and captain, the data collection ran like a well-oiled machine. It was great to hear about the work Andrzej is spearheading in Utila including Lionfish competitions between the dive centres and fishermen, the production of a responsible seafood guide and many other projects and campaigns he has on the go. I again want to extend my thanks and appreciation to all those that made this expedition possible and contributed to its success. As I sit here processing and analysing the data we collected I am already thinking towards developing more projects for the conservation of coral systems around the world and can’t wait to get back under the water again. Matthew Jasinski
Select a blog
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!
The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.