Glovers Reef

James Powell jpowell at
Thu Jan 23 09:50:51 EST 1997


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 using  Glover's Reef  as a research site to contact James
Powell at  jpowell 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 housing for eight scientists and/or students. There are
aquariums, boats, air compressor and SCUBA  tanks for researcher support.
Aquarium facilities  are available.  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 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 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./fax
501-2-33855.  E-mail messages can be sent  to: jpowell at 

Please take a look at our WWW page at: 

James A. Powell
Wildlife Conservation Society
Glover's Reef Marine Research Station
P.O. Box 2310
Belize City, Belize
e-mail: jpowell at
Tel/FAX (501)2-33855 or 
Middle Cay Tel: (501)5-22153

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