Glovers Reef, Belize

James A. Powell jpowell at
Mon Dec 8 19:06:41 EST 1997


Glover’s Reef is a coral atoll situated about 60 km off the coast of
Belize, Central America. The Government of Belize has declared Glover’s
Reef as a marine reserve and recently the reef was designated a World
Heritage Site. Glover's Reef atoll and marine reserve is a major
component of a general comprehensive program for  coastal zone
management for Belize.  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 Caye, 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 only 30 km away.

The WCS research station on Glover's Reef atoll is located on Middle Cay
approximately 30 nm offshore.  The atoll is unaffected by coastal
pollution or sedimentation.  The present facility includes a ranger
station  and visitor's centre, a dry laboratory and work area, dining
and cooking facilities (three meals a day are provided), and housing for
eight scientists and/or students. Tent sites are  also available. There
are  boats for the use of researchers. Aquarium facilities and  air
compressor are available.   The station is completely self-sufficient
with electricity (110 vac) provided by a complementary system of wind
and solar power. Fresh water is available through a  de-salination plant
and rain-water catchment. Toilet facilities are state-of-the-art
pollution-free, containment composition type.  Another aim of the
station is to provide an example of ecologically sound development on
the outer cayes.

Fees for the use of the station, food and accommodation are $20 a day
per person for students and $30-$50 (shared or single room) a day for
senior researchers. Transportation to the Middle Caye is charged
separately or a special “package” arrangement can be made for all travel
costs from Belize City International Airport or the US. Student and
professional groups are welcome. Unfortunately, we do not have any
volunteer or intern positions available at the moment.

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./Fax 501-2-
33855 or send an e-mail message to: jpowell at for more

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