Ascidian communities in Southern Belize—a problem in diversity and conservation



  • 1Ecotourism has begun to impact the coral barrier reef of Belize. Pelican Cays, near the southern end of the reef, is one of the least disturbed areas and is rich in ascidian species.
  • 2Both the lack of stress and spatial competition probably contribute to the ability of normally cryptic species to live in exposed conditions. Activities associated with the growth in ecotourism are a potential threat to these unusual communities.
  • 3It is recommended that a rationale for the protection and management of this environmentally important area be developed.