The Belizean Barrier Reef and Atolls:

The largest natural reef laboratory in the Caribbean

The Belizean Barrier Reef is the second largest worldwide, and offers unparalleled Caribbean opportunity to look at different reef systems in a natural laboratory context, with its three offshore atolls, lagoonal fringe and patch reefs, and the barrier reef all as part of the Belizean reef network. These reefs vary in their oceanographic as well as their urban context: some are quite remote, while others live next-door to resorts or residences. Belize is also home to the Smithsonian Caribbean Reef Ecosystems Program, where Rotjan has been working since 2002, and the Calabash Caye Field Station run by the University of Belize and the Environmental Research Institute, where Rotjan has been working since 2015.

Some of our favorite projects include:

  1. Coral Reef Dynamics & Resilience inside and outside of Belizean MPAs
  2. Parrotfish corallivory & subsequent coral wound healing and repair
  3. Herbivory / corallivory dynamics in barrier reef and atoll systems
  4. The economics and real estate involved in hermit crab shell swapping behavior
  5. Democratizing Belizean Science

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