Applying bio-physical monitoring and capacity assessment to Mesoamerican Reef Marine Protected Areas

Bio-physical connectivity & larval transport are vital for coral reef resilience planning with reference to increasing coastal development along the Mesoamerican Reef. However, little is known about the biological oceanography and larval recruitment within and between these regional and international Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Previously, we studied the source/sink dynamics of larval reef fish composition and transport along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System region in order to include this information for (1) improved management of fishery resources, (2) improve available sources of data for improved coral reef resilience and (3) to further advance connectivity science in the region with scientific data.




Our project’s goal was to first assess the current capacity of MPAs and improve their capacity to improve bio-physical monitoring. For this year, our accomplishments include carrying out the 2nd Regional Connectivity Workshop in Mesoamerican Reef workshop hosted in Quintana Roo, Mexico during March 13-14, 2012. The goals of our workshop were to promote a better understanding of the bio-physical connectivity along the Mesoamerican reef and its potential role in ecosystem-scale management of associated protected areas. We combined a conference setting with a practical, hands-on training approach in connectivity research and data acquisition with participants from four countries representing 17 MPAs. As a result of the workshop, we composed multiple protocols to standardize monitoring of 1) coral reef fishes 2) temperature monitoring 3) lionfish monitoring.


Actividades realizadas


The main activity for this grant was to carry out a workshop that would serve as an international and interdisciplinary activity whose primary goal was to train for and coordinate a simultaneous experiment along the reef track involving local managers and scientists in their own back yards. Other partners include MARFUND (an NGO that regularly works in the region as part of its Mesoamerican Reef activities) and Mexico’s CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas). The workshop took place March 13 -14, 2012. Day 1 was carried out at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal Campus with presentations from the MPAs to exchange information since the first regional workshop that took place in 2010. Day 2 was a field oriented day trip to Xcalak Reef National Park, Mexico.


Combining conference setting with a field approach allowed us to take a practical, hands-on approach in connectivity research and data acquisition with participants from four countries representing 17 Marine Protected Areas by NGOs, government and academic partners. In our website, you can find the presentations and preliminary results:


Second Connectivity Regional Workshop
Three points of focus during the workshop were (1) larval fish recruitment, (2) complementary coastal oceanographic data collection and (3) lionfish data collection.


Fuente de financiamiento:


National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, NOAA