STATUS AND CONSERVATION OF THE CORAL REEF ALONG THE PUERTO MORELOS REGION OF THE MESOAMERICAN BARRIER REEF SYSTEM
O'Leary, Steven Carter
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Coral reefs and reef communities are easily susceptible to degradation due to anthropogenic threats stemming from climate change. Coral reefs are under siege from effects like ocean acidification, ocean warming, sea level rise, and specific local threats. Conservation efforts are pursued in reef communities around the world to gather data and determine what can be done to protect the remaining corals. From January 22nd, 2021 through February 20th, 2021, I worked as a Marine Conservation Intern with Global Vision International (GVI) in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. I was educated on coral reef community biology and their threats. I was trained in multiple underwater monitoring methods to record data on coral bleaching, disease, and mortality. This training allowed me to gain valuable insight into the current state of the coral reef in Puerto Morelos and how it has changed over time with bleaching, disease, and death due to constant threat. I collected data and provided it to organizations that partner with GVI and use this information to analyze the overall health of the reef. This analysis is used to provide policymakers with up-to-date information on the status of the reef so that they can make the best policy and management decisions. This experience showed me how GVI is bettering the region through partnerships with federal organizations, NGOs, and community outreach.