Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program

The Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems program operates out of the Carrie Bow Cay field station, located on the unique Meso-American Barrier reef in Belize. Carrie Bow Cay has been in operation since 1972 and hosts up to 100 scientists annually. The work done at the station investigates the vital interactions between species and their environment, not only on coral reefs, but also in the important and interconnected seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. Discoveries made at Carrie Bow Cay impact the preservation of these critically endangered systems.

Investigating Bacteria

Marc Frischer, a microbial ecologist at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography , collects bacteria at the Smithsonian Institution’s field station in Belize. Smithsonian scientists and colleagues from around the world are...

Mangrove Roots Up Close

Dip your head below the water's surface in a mangrove forest and an entirely new ecosystem is revealed. The twisting mangrove roots, some of which don’t make it to the seafloor, support a great diversity of life—including...

Investigating Nutrient Pollution's Impact on Mangroves

At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. See a...

Mangrove Support System

Arching mangrove roots like these help keep trunks upright in the soft sediments at water’s edge. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story .