Belize, Glover's Reef Atoll

James Powell jpowell at
Mon Feb 5 11:06:37 EST 1996


Glover's Reef Marine Research Station  
Belize, Central America  
Wildlife Conservation Society  
P.O. Box 2310  
Belize City, Belize  
Tel: 501-2-33855  
FAX: 501-2--31963  
E-mail: jpowell at  or jcarter at   

Glover's Reef atoll and marine reserve is located approximately 50 km off 
the coast of central Belize. It is considered to be one of the most 
pristine and  important coral reef sites in the Caribbean.  Due to the 
isolation of Glover's Reef atoll,  there is little influence from coastal 
sedimentation or pollution. It is  considered to be one of the most ideal 
sites in the world to conduct coral reef research (Dahl, MacIntyre & 
Antonius. 1974. A  comparative survey of coral reef research sites. In: 
Marie-Helene Sachet and Arthur Dahl. Atoll Research Bulletin. 172: 37-75.). 
Consequently the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in cooperation with the 
Government of Belize has established a permanent research station at  Middle 
Cay  located on Glover's Reef. WCS along with the Government of Belize would 
like to invite  scientists and  graduate level students who are interested 
in working at Glover's Reef to contact James Powell at  jpowell at  or 
Jacque Carter at jcarter at for more information.   

The marine reserve at Glover's Reef atoll  is a major component of a general 
comprehensive program for  coastal zone management for Belize, Central 
America.  In a broad sense the reserve was established to  maintain 
ecological processes, preserve genetic diversity, achieve sustainable yields 
of its resources  through wise management of species and their habitats, 
maintain natural areas for education and research  and provide social, and 
economic benefits through ecologically sensitive recreation and tourism. 
Keenly  aware of the need to protect this world class resource, the Wildlife 
Conservation Society (WCS) purchased  the island of Middle Cay, situated at 
the southern end of the atoll, for the purposes of  providing  a marine 
park headquarters for the Government of Belize and to establish a marine 
research field station. WCS has  completed construction of this facility and 
now provides a base of operations for park rangers and scientists  alike.   

WCS's over-arching mission is to provide for the long-term conservation and 
protection of Glover's Reef  atoll. To accomplish this goal, WCS is working 
in close collaboration with the government of Belize to  develop a 
coordinated research and management program for the atoll. WCS's primary 
responsibility in this  partnership is scientific research. In the coming 
years, we hope that the research on Glover's Reef atoll will  lead to a 
better understanding and management of this coral reef.  The Comparative 
Investigations of Tropical Reef Ecosystems (CITRE) program identified 
Glover's Reef as  the most preferred site  in the Caribbean for "long-term, 
multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional investigation of  coral reef 
ecosystems" (Dahl, MacIntyre & Antonius. 1974. A  comparative survey of 
coral reef research  sites. In:  Marie-Helene Sachet and Arthur Dahl. Atoll 
Research Bulletin. 172: 37-75.). The authors reported,  "In contrast to the 
other reefs surveyed in the Caribbean area, Glover's Reef atoll appears to 
offer the  greatest variety of reef types, and the optimum reef development 
in terms of population density and species  diversity of reef corals and 
associated organisms". In addition to Glover's Reef, Belize's extensive 
barrier  reef is 30 km away.     

The WCS research station on Glover's Reef atoll is located on Middle Cay. 
The present facility includes a  ranger station and visitor's centre, a dry 
laboratory and work area, dining and cooking facilities (meals are  provided 
and we have an excellent cook) and current housing for eight scientists 
and/or students. There are  boats, air compressor and SCUBA  tanks for 
researcher support. Aquarium facilities  will soon be installed.  The 
station is completely self-sufficient with full-time electricity (110 vac) 
provided by a complementary system of wind and solar power.  Fresh water is 
available through a (soon to be installed) de-salination plant and 
rain-water catchment.  Refrigeration is available. Toilet facilities are 
state-of-the-art pollution-free, containment composition type.  One aim of 
the station is to utilize, whenever possible, non-polluting and energy 
efficient technology.   

WCS invites any scientists or students interested in using the Glover's Reef 
Research Station   to please  contact: Glover's Reef Marine Research 
Station, P.O. Box 2310, Belize City, Belize or  Tel. 501-2-33855 or  fax 
501-2-31963.  E-mail messages can be sent to: jpowell at or 
jcarter at .  

James A. Powell 
Glover's Reef Marine Research Station 
P.O. Box 2310 
Belize City, Belize 
e-mail: jpowell at 
ph: (501)2-33855 

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