Connectivity, transport and recruitment in Mexican Caribbean MPAs

The Mesoamerican reef connectivity network (ECOSUR/UM/NOAA/MARfund) has been carrying out connectivity research in the Mesoamerican Reef eco-region since 2004. Surveys of recruitment of commercially and ecologically fishes to nursery areas have been carried out with concurrent oceanographic observations at Xcalak National Park in Mexico. This has served as a case study and created opportunities for capacity building in the region in the form of technology transfer and training of trainers with a management and conservation application.
Lionfish larvae have been collected from shipboard surveys. In order to respond to the lionfish invasion in the region, additional information is needed regarding the transport patterns that influence recruitment into coastal MPAs that are located along the barrier reef and nursery areas for recruiting juvenile fishes. This project would create a network of instruments for building time series to detect variability and determine patters that influence recruitment of lionfish and important coral reef fishes that are also transported in the region. This work will complement a simultaneous study led by Dr. Eloy Sosa Cordero to quantify lionfish densities at MPAs in deep and shallow waters along the Mesoamerican barrier reef. The study areas will include MPAs in the Mexican Caribbean such as Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, Parque Nacional Isla Contoy, Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Xcalak. 


The work plan includes deployment, monitoring, data downloads and processing of moored oceanographic information.


The ECOSUR research team has been carrying out deployment, maintenance, monitoring, data downloads and data processing of moored oceanographic equipment in three MPAs from the Mexican Caribbean to support lionfish research.  

Funding by


NOAA/International Capacity building in Mesoamerica