Research


Decisions made by Turneffe Atoll Trust must be based on sound scientific information and Turneffe Atoll Trust has completed a number of important research projects (see Accomplishments) to support the effective management of Turneffe's fisheries resources. The commercial fishery at Turneffe primarily focuses on the production of queen conch (Strombus gigas) and Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus).  Our current research efforts are focused on these species.

Queen Conch Baseline Analysis
Good baseline information about Turneffe's commercial fishery is vital to its effective  management of the resources.   In 2015,  Dr. Alexander  Zale and Dr. Robert Bramblett from the Montana State University Fisheries Research Unit, along with Master Degree Student Alex Anderson,  finalized a detailed analysis of the queen conch population at Turneffe.  This baseline population analysis was the most comprehensive analysis of a queen conch population undertaken in the Caribbean to date.  It will now be used to define a solid monitoring program leading to a science-based management of this important commercial species.

Caribbean Spiny Lobster Baseline Analysis
A baseline analysis of the spiny lobster population is a more complex and expensive undertaking. Preliminary assessment of a project to provide an accurage baseline population for this fishery has been undertaken.  This will be a larger and more expensive project which we plan to begin in the summer of 2016.


Additional research will be needed for fully informed decision making.  Below are some future reseach priorities:
  • Studies of spawning behaviors and juvenile habitats of key species at Turneffe to ensure they receive adequate protection. 
  • Close monitoring of the health of Turneffe’s coral reef, which may take a variety of directions depending upon specific needs and the work of other organizations.