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I will be working as a Research Assistant for 4 weeks in Mexico. The first 2 weeks will be spent carrying out habitat quality and forest structure surveys in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is an extremely important wildlife corridor and thus research towards its sustainable management is vital. The second 2 weeks will be spent in the small coastal town of Akumal. Akumal is home to numerous turtles and their nesting sites which were under threat from overfishing in previous years. Now the primary threat is the increase in dive tourism which has lead to a loss of important nesting habitats, loss of the mangrove habitats that clean the water and problems of tourists causing stress to turtles. My role will involve data collection to determine the carrying capacity of tourists to ensure the delicate marine ecosystem is protected whilst also ensuring a suitable income is generated for local people through methods such as seaweed harvest as opposed to overfishing. I will undertake coral reef surveys, seagrass monitoring, green turtle identification and nocturnal nest surveys. The data will then be used by the Operation Wallacea to establish an annual monitoring programme for the marine ecosystem which can be proposed to the Mexican government.
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