Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Christy C. Visaggi

Second Advisor

Timothy L. Hawthorne

Third Advisor

Jeremy E. Diem


The second largest reef in the world is experiencing a dramatic change in its environment with continued development and an influx in tourism having a direct impact on the physical and ecological balance of the reef. The introduction of hazardous materials and practices have contributed to reef degradation through excess sedimentation, overfishing, and increased shipping and have the ability to influence some of the reef’s most endangered inhabitants. A spatial examination using multiple variables impacting changes in certain populations of endangered and invasive fish species are studied, incorporating integrated species abundance and sighting data as well as potential environmental threats to aim to understand the trends and correlations between Belize’s recent spike in development, and the implications on its barrier reef.