In early January, Marine Biologist, Celso Cawich and Marine Field Techinician, Jani Salazar got to play the role of teacher in offering the ERI’s first Reef Fish and Coral Identification TrainingCourse. The objective of the course was to familiarize participants with critical identifying features of coral and fish species in order to accurately identify a minimum of 95% of species commonly monitored during reef assessments as per Atlantic Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGGRA) and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Synoptic Monitoring Program.
With the completion of the theory sessions, instructors and participants packed up and travelled to the ERI’s Marine Field Station on Calabash Caye. The group spent 3 days on the island where they got hours of in-water identification experience under their belts. This gave participants the opportunity to look for those identifying features in actual coral specimens and became familiarized with the most dominant species found at Turneffe Atoll. Participants also got to experience group discussions particularly as it related to species identification and justifications when identifying a species.