Summer Volunteer Conservation Projects Mexico
Each summer, Akumal Dive Center is involved with worldwide and local volunteer programs focused on preserving the Xaman Ha reef. This beautiful area of the Meso American reef system is located in between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Most of the dive sites are only a 5 minute boat ride from the Akumal Dive Center. We are strategically positioned in the center of Akumal Bay and our team provides boats and divemasters to help volunteers in coral conservation, mangrove studies and other educational programs focused on reef conservation.
In 2004, the Akumal Dive Center began sponsoring fish population studies for the Reef organization. We also sponsored coral studies by providing boats and divemasters for volunteers who were monitoring coral health during a period when the reef was threatened by bleaching. Since then, the reef has received additional government protections and has rebounded to health. Unlike Cozumel, that has enjoyed many years of government protection as a national underwater park, much of the conservation that occurs in our area is led by volunteers and we are proud to be the primary sponsor of this activity.
Akumal Dive Center also sponsors Expedition Akumal a group that has been very successful in controlling the Lion Fish invasion that has threatened much of the Caribbean. Volunteers hunt for this invasive species who prey on the juvenile population of the local reef. Much of their catch is actually cooked with a taste that resembles lobster. Expedition Akumal also provide coral restoration and science study programs and students are encouraged to apply as a volunteer on their website. Over and above the assistance Akumal Dive Center provides for these programs, many of our staff work afterhours as volunteers for studies that are done after sunset.
Another group that comes each summer to dive with Akumal Dive Center is Operation Wallacea. This is a network of academics from European and North American universities, who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research expeditions. While in Akumal, students study the importance and health of the mangrove and are introduced to the sealife of the Caribbean.
Wallacea supports students who join the program, to strengthen their CV or resume or collect data for a dissertation or thesis. Academics benefit from funding for high quality fieldwork enabling them to publish papers in peer reviewed journals. This model enables the collection of large temporal and spatial datasets used for assessing the effectiveness of conservation management interventions. Students can explore the many programs Wallacea offers in the Akumal area by visiting this area of their website.
At Akumal Dive Center, we love introducing divers and snorkelers to the surrounding reef, but we also know that its well being depends on just the handful of people dedicated to preserving it. Feel free to contact us to learn more about diving in this beautiful area of Akumal.