Rapid Ecological Assessment of Punta Negra Lagoon, Dry Season 2004

Boles, E. and Reyes, J. and Lish-Dooley, L. and Lish-Dooley, M. and Humes, S. and Lambey, J. and Villafranco, J. (2004) Rapid Ecological Assessment of Punta Negra Lagoon, Dry Season 2004. [Other peer-reviewed publication]

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    Abstract

    A rapid ecological assessment of the Punta Negra Lagoon and surrounding area was conducted by a team of students from the Natural Resources Management Program, University of Belize, the Freshwater Initiative Coordinator (TIDE) and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University from March 6-8, 2004. The assessment was undertaken in order to establish baseline information and assess the biological integrity of the lagoon system. This freshwater lagoon and wetland area is an important conservation site sitting in the middle of a major portion of the Meso-American Corridor System, a vital link connecting protected areas of the Maya Mountains to the Port of Honduras Marine Protected Area. Local fishermen use the lagoon for fly-fishing tourists and villagers depend on as a water source during the dry season. The lagoon is sitting within organic and coastal deposit soils, with a thick deposition bed of aquatic plant detritus that may be forming into peat. The deepest site measured in the center of the pond was about 2.5 meters. Much of the sediment surface, at least in the shallower areas, is covered with an algal community rich in cyanobacteria, filamentous green algae, diatoms and an assortment of protozoa and microinvertebrates. This lagoon has a heterogeneous littoral zone and riparian edge, supporting water lilies, bulrush, cattail, cutgrass, some red mangrove and stands of palmetto. Water temperatures measured around 28o to 31o C, pH about 7.6, and oxygen levels were high. Principal macroinvertebrates collected were Caenis mayflies, chironomids, annelids and palaemonid shrimp. The lagoon supports a healthy fish population, including central and Mayan tetras, big mouth sleepers, six species of cichlids, snook and tarpon. Many of these fishes feed on aquatic invertebrates, indicating that a large food base is present. Recommendations for additional assessment efforts are given and more in-depth research on the ecology of the system strongly encouraged. It is further strongly recommended that Punta Negra Lagoon area be placed back under protected status.

    Item Type: Other peer-reviewed publication
    Related URLs:
      Keywords: dry season, rea, assessment, Punta Negra, water quality, ecological
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AB) Birds
      (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACA) Freshwater
      (A) Biodiversity > (AF) Invertebrates > (AFA) Freshwater
      (A) Biodiversity > (AG) Mammals > (AGD) Small Mammals
      (A) Biodiversity > (AH) Plants
      (C) Ecosystems > (CA) Freshwater > (CAA) Lagoons
      (E) Hydrology
      Publication Sources: (2) University of Belize > (2D) Faculty of Science and Technology
      Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2010 13:46
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:51
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/33

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