Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


The value of coral reefs for developing countries and areas where tourism is on the rise make the management of the reef a high priority. Akumal, Mexico is no exception. For management to be effective, information for accurately evaluating the condition of the reef is critical. This study was done to test the hypothesis that there has been no change in percent coral coverage (PCC) on Las Redes Reef, in Akumal, Mexico between 1996 and 2001. To test this hypothesis I compared data I collected during the summer of 2001 to PCC data collected by interns and students working in Akumal from 1994 to 2000. A major challenge to testing this hypothesis was that PCC data were collected using different methods during different years. Consequently, statistically meaningful comparisons could only be made within the years 1996-1998 and 1998-2001. Within both of these time periods, there was no significant change in PCC. However, these results are questionable because of the small data sets they are based on. Based on these findings I am proposing a standardized monitoring protocol for the Las Redes Reef in Akumal, Mexico. This protocol suggests the most economical and streamlined method of collection for monitoring the Las Redes Reef. Collecting PCC using the point-intercept method on haphazardly placed transects will do this. It will assure that in the future when data is collected there will be a larger data set in which to analyze and obtain more accurate results. By having a standardized monitoring protocol in Akumal, Mexico it is my hope that data will be collected each year and in the future this data will be used to help manage the reef of Akumal, Mexico.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute