Lobel, Phillip S. and Lobel, Lisa K. (2011) TOO PRECIOUS TO DRILL: THE MARINE BIODIVERSITY OF BELIZE. Fisheries Centre Research Reports, 19 (6). (Submitted)

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    The Meso-Amercian Barrier Reef (MABR) forms a physical boundary enclosing a large coastal lagoon that runs the length of the country of Belize. This creates a semi-enclosed body of water that is a mix of oceanic water and freshwater river input. Thus, the Belize lagoon ecosystem is unique in the western hemisphere and represents a distinct biogeographical province with special water quality. The majority of coral reef fishes have pelagic larvae that spend weeks in the plankton during their early development. This is a highly dispersive phase of the life history of marine fishes. As a result, most Caribbean species range throughout the Caribbean Sea. Even so, some taxa show strong local selection and restricted biogeographic distributions. In Belize, this is especially evident and probably due in large part to the physical barrier of the reef and the special quality of the marine water in the lagoon system. Recent studies of the fishes inside the MABR have discovered several new species of fishes and many of these are endemic to Belize. A preliminary estimate of endemic fishes in Belize yields a count of 12 species found only in the lagoonal area and another 8 species found on the outer barrier reef and the atolls.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
      Publisher: University of British Columbia, Canada
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACB) Marine
      (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBA) Coral Reefs
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IA) Economic Impacts
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2015 10:11
      Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015 10:11

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