(Greenspan 2007) This essay will try to understand the crisis the ecosystem in the barrier reef is facing and shall discuss the efforts already made to further preservation. Biological interrelationships in the area shall be discussed and also the adverse affect caused if no measures are taken against human intrusion.
The barrier reef in Belize is 230 kilometers long and is the longest in the Caribbean. The variety of habitats along the reef supports a large diversity of fauna. “The wide Belize shelf contains an impressive assemblage of habitats: inshore, mid shelf, shelf-edge, and offshore coral reefs, Lagoons Sea grass meadows and mangrove swamps” (UNEP, n.d., p. 4). There is an abundance of micro and macro invertebrate life. The varieties of habitats are used by various species. Many reef and pelagic fish and even several sharks use the mangroves and sea grass beds as nurseries. Tarpon, mullet and stone bass use the inshore waters. The sea grass meadows are also inhabited by the manatees which are an endangered species. The lagoons of the South Water Cay are home to Snook, and Bonefish. The deep slopes are inhabited by Snappers, Hogfish, Groupers, Porgy and Grunt. The variety of pelagic fish found here includes Nurse Shark, Caribbean reef shark, Hammerheads, Bull sharks, Whale sharks. Spiny lobsters and queen conch can also be found in abundance. It is also home to bottle nosed dolphins and three more varieties of dolphins. The world’s largest concentration of the West Indian manatee is found here. Also seen are the Leatherback turtle and the American crocodile. Apart from all this 90 percent of all Scleratinian coral in the Caribbean can be found here. Staghorn coral, Finger coral, Starlet coral, brain corals are some of the variety seen here. Mollusks, Crustaceans, Sponges Hydroids, Ascidians and Copepods have also been recorded here. Thousands of birds visit the lagoon every