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Monday, July 6, 2009

GVI attends Mexican Coral Reef conference and succesfully presents results from Pez Maya and Pta Gruesa

The three day conference held in Tuxpan, Veracruz was the fifth of its kind, and was attended by all the big wigs of Mexican coral reef research. Stu and Lluvia (Punta Gruesa and Pez Maya respectively) made the long journey to represent GVI at the conference and present data from previous phases. The conference was opened by different members of the government and the Mexican Coral Reef Association (SOMAC). Several researchers then presented the latest results of studies on coral diseases, bleaching, coral cover, and state of the Mexican Reefs, also having a longer presentation on the threats of global warming to coral reefs, given by Dr. Paul Blanchon of Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In the evening at the closing of the talks there were welcome cocktail drinks where all the participants had the chance to chat about their research in a casual manner.

The second day followed a similar format, this time having a talk given by Dr. Jorge Cortés from the University of Costa Rica where he explained the increasing fields of research on coral reef. GVI then presented two posters on the results of the monitoring programme inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and the first year of study on Punta Gruesa. Several students showed their interest on the programme and the National Scolarship Programme.

On the third day, after the presentations had finished, the SOMAC had a reunion with all the members to change the people in charge and also to organize activities such as the creation of a data base with the latest research on coral reef available on line for the members. GVI now is represented on this society by Lluvia and Stu who are members now. Finally to celebrate the success of the conference there was a cocktail where everybody enjoy some drinks and snacks.

The next day, Lluvia and Stu had the opportunity of going diving at Tuxpans reef. There were amazed with the beautiful scenario, the reef is very different to the reefs in the Caribbean showing lower diversity on species but a bigger size of the colonies (around 2m long and at least 1.5m high) such as Colpophyllia natans wich was one of the most abundant.

The participation on the conference gave the opportunity to see what other people are doing in the country and what are the latest news on coral research. It was a good experience which will increase the knowledge of our already geeky staff.