On the second day of OGL’s scouting trip in Mexico, divers explored the breathtaking biodiversity at two locations along Cozumel’s coral reef. Surveys of fish and coral abundance at both sites revealed a variety of corals unparalleled elsewhere in the region. The first dive was on Palencar Reef and took divers through a network of cave-like structures. These revealed four species of black corals and many different species of fish including a spotted drum at 110 feet. The second dive was conducted on San Francisco Wall. The ocean current pulled the dive group along the wall, past outcroppings and overhangs providing refuge for moray eels, king crabs, red spotted hogfish, and more.
In the evening, the group cultivated vital connections with the directors of Mexico’s marine protected areas, as well as local diving, animal care, and medical experts. Dr. Distel presented the mission of Ocean Genome Legacy and demonstrated the purpose-built collection kit designed for the expedition. The meeting laid the groundwork for future expeditions in this region, one of the most diverse of the Caribbean, which will prove vital to expand OGL’s biorepository of Caribbean coral reef species.
Below are photos from the day’s expedition.