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Exploring Beneath the Waves: A Reef Expedition to the Miskito Cays of Honduras

Updated: Oct 23, 2023


Photo Credits : Patric Lengacher


In May, we organized an expedition from Roatan to Cayos Miskitos. The main objective was to conduct a reef health evaluation in different sites in the Miskitos Cays that have been previously evaluated to make a "before and after '' comparison. This was done by implementing the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) methodology and installing baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS). The expedition also aimed to determine if there are signs of the presence/spread of SCTLD in the reefs around the Miskitos Cays and, as no presence was observed, it is possibly the last place in Honduras and one of the last in the Caribbean, to remain free from this devastating disease.


Video Credits : Patric Lengacher


In a study conducted in 2019 and published in 2020, 7 sites around Cayos Miskitos were evaluated using AGRRA methodology. The objective of RMP’s technical staff in visiting this remote area of the country is to compare the reef health data from 4 years ago with the current one and verify that the disease is not present. In the most recent expedition, 4 of the seven sites evaluated in 2019 were visited, and an additional site was included to collect more information. A total of 11 dives were carried out to collect data on the diversity and abundance (biomass) of fish, as well as the variety and quantity of benthic populations, including corals and other invertebrates.


Photo Credits : Patric Lengacher


The BRUVS technique was also implemented, which consists of placing iron structures on reef substrates or sandy patches of relatively shallow depths and with varying degrees of water turbidity and other conditions. With this technique, it is expected to be able to passively or remotely capture more information on the biomass of herbivorous fish and fish of economic importance, with a particular focus on the status of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays).


A Reef Expedition to the Miskito Cays of Honduras

Video Credits : Patric Lengacher

The expedition lasted eight days, five full days of fieldwork. A combination of diving and BRUVS installation was carried out in the early morning and afternoon hours. A total of 11 dives were conducted, and 30 BRUVS were installed around the Miskitos Cays.


We are in the process of analyzing the data collected through these efforts in order to update our partners, donors and general public on the health of these unique ecosystems.



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