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  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

Options include:

  • 2 weeks (marine only) dates available:
    21 July 2021 to 3 August 2021
  • 4 weeks (marine only) dates available:
    23 June 2021 to 20 July 2021
    7 July 2021 to 3 August 2021
  • 6 weeks (marine only) dates available:
    23 Jun 2021 to 3 Aug 2021

Utila and Tela marine biodiversity research

This research team is split across two centres – one on Utila Island and one on the mainland at Tela – and has published 60 papers from just the last few seasons. For your first week at the centre you will take part in one of the courses, either learning to dive to PADI Open Water level, or completing the Caribbean reef ecology course if you are already dive trained or have chosen to snorkel instead. If you are spending two weeks or longer at the marine sites, you will then either complete the Caribbean reef ecology course in your second week or help the researchers with multiple marine research projects. On these projects, you will help collect valuable data to contribute towards our Caribbean research and conservation goals, and you will have the choice of rotating between multiple teams or focusing on a single project, depending on your own interests. Projects will either focus on the use of technological solutions in coral reef research (e.g. stereo-video surveys of fish biomass, machine learning in reef health surveys, and 3D computer modelling of reef architecture), or on improving our understanding of the ecology and behaviour of key coral reef organisms (e.g. cleaning interactions, invasive lionfish).

Honduras Marine Research Objectives

In the Caribbean, there are a number of core issues that have been affecting the biodiversity of coral reefs, including the mass mortality of keystone sea urchins that have allowed algal colonisation of reef areas, an invasive predator (lionfish) originally from the Indo-Pacific that has spread across the Caribbean, and overfishing of reef fish by local communities. Opwall has two marine research sites in Honduras where these issues and many more are studied: 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 in reef community health, alongside novel research to address key conservation priorities and gaps in our current understanding of these fragile ecosystems. Honduras is also home to Opwall’s pioneering efforts to integrate technological solutions into the monitoring and study of coral reefs, including our 3D computer modelling method. Opwall’s team of marine scientists in Honduras helps to support not only international academic research and new method development, but also supports local non-governmental organisations with their efforts to improve marine conservation in Honduras.

  • Gain an internationally recognized SCUBA qualification
  • Dive or snorkel on a range of Caribbean coral reefs
  • Complete a week-long training course on Caribbean coral reef ecology
  • Collect ecological survey data on coral reef health and diversity
  • Attend our Caribbean marine research evening lecture series
  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights into and out of San Pedro Sula
  • Cost of internal travel to and from the start and end point of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. This costs around £225 or $325 on average. Extra nights’ accommodation in San Pedro Sula costs around £49 or $71.
  • Dive equipment rental – £50 or $75 per week for a full dive kit. If you only wish to snorkel and want to hire snorkel equipment, the cost is £25 or $38 per week. Please note that wetsuits/rash vests cannot be provided – you should bring your own.
  • Park entrance fees – £14 or $20
  • PADI manual and PIC card (if you are completing your Open Water qualification) – £69 or $87 approx.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified

Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.

Climate
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.

Creature comforts
Facilities are comfortable but basic. There is phone signal and limited wifi that is often unreliable.

Locations

  • Honduras
  • Utila
  • Tela

Want to get involved with this project?

Preparation

Want to get involved with this project?

   Latest from our blog

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    Posted on 9th September 2020
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  • Honduras – Rebuilding the Caribbean One Sea Urchin at a Time

    Posted on 28th February 2019
    Written by Dr Max Bodmer Photos courtesy of David Exton and Carol Battram Published in The Marine Biologist magazine Since the birth of the package holiday, sea urchins have wreaked havoc with the appendages of holidaymakers. For most people the waters of...
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Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
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