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Marine Conservation through Research

To accomplish WCS’s mission of long term conservation of Glover’s Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef, GRRS promotes and supports research that seeks to address critical scientific issues related to conservation and management of marine areas, especially those related to coral reef systems and marine protected areas. Past research, as well as current research, has focused on investigating the trends and status of important species within the atoll,evaluating the effectiveness of marine reserves as a conservation strategy and the importance of the atoll for a variety of different marine species.

Overall, Glover's Reef Research Station and the Wildlife Conservation Society aim to support research projects that focus on one of the following objectives:  

    • Measuring environmental change and provide a source of long-term data about the ecological and biological systems at Glovers
    • Maintaining biodiversity and function of the ecosystem
    • Predicting and monitoring the effectiveness of management policies and actions
    • Restoring and rehabilitating damaged ecosystems
    • Providing a scientific, conservation, and educational presence for partnership and consultation

One of the policy victories that have come out of research conducted at Glover's Reef is greater protection for the Nassau grouper. Thanks to critical scientific research, WCS, with the help of many in Belize,was successful in getting legislation passed to close Nassau grouper spawning sites to year-round fishing, as well as establishing a closed season for fishing of this species. This was a major step towards ensuring survival and conservation of this species and only highlights one of the many accomplishments of WCS staff and researchers at Glover's Reef.   

Looking toward the future, WCS plans to continue researching the effectiveness of Glover's Reef Marine Reserve and to use cutting edge technology, including telemetry, remote sensing/GIS, and genetics, to overcome some of the potential conservation gaps in the design of marine reserves. Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve is also one of two pilot sites which is a part of the Government of Belize’s Sustainable Fisheries Initiative. Established in mid-2011, WCS is a key partner in the design and implementation of this program geared towards restoring fisheries resources and improving fishers livelihoods.