This expedition would take place either in the Opwall marine research site on Utila Island or on the mainland at Tela. If you are not dive trained you would start with a PADI Open Water dive training course before spending your second week completing a Caribbean reef ecology and survey methods course where you would learn how to identify some of the major fish and coral species likely to be encountered in the Caribbean. If you arrive dive trained you would start on the Caribbean reef ecology and survey methods course before spending the second week acting as an assistant on some of the many marine research projects running. These include 3D reef modelling, stereovideo surveys of fish, lionfish and urchin surveys amongst many other projects.
In the Caribbean, there are a number of core issues that have been affecting the biodiversity of the coral reefs – including the mass mortality of keystone sea urchins that have allowed algal colonisation of reef areas, an invasive species originally from the Indo-Pacific (lionfish) that acts as a predator on reef fish which has been spreading across the Caribbean, and overfishing of reef fish by local communities. Opwall has two monitoring sites in Honduras: one is on the island reefs of Utila and the second on the coastal barrier reef of Tela. At both sites, teams of Opwall scientists and students collect annual monitoring data to assess temporal patterns of ecosystem change, alongside novel research to address key management priorities and gaps in our current understanding of tropical marine coastal ecosystem function.
Our marine sites are hot and usually dry, but with occasional storms.
Fitness level required
Low – Moderate. Some fitness is required for in water activities, but conditions are relatively easy.
Facilities are comfortable but basic. There is phone signal and limited wifi that is often unreliable.