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Young Belizean Scientist Wins Grant to conduct research on New River

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Posted: Friday, September 17, 2021. 10:38 am CST.

By Dr Marisa Tellez: Dr. Tellez is the co-founder and Executive Director of the wildlife and scientific non-profit Crocodile Research Coalition based on the Placencia Peninsula.

Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) Research Biologist Jonathan Triminio, a native of Orange Walk, has been granted funding by Marine Conservation Action Fund Early Career Ocean Professionals Award (MCAF EOCP) program to lead a research project on New River.

The project titled “New River Pollution Crisis: The impact of contamination on Crocodylus moreletii in northern Belize” will utilize the Morelet’s crocodile as an indicator species to examine the health and pollution issue of the New River. As a top predator, crocodiles accumulate contaminants up the food chain thus can provide a good snapshot of what the crocodiles (as well as animals and communities) are being exposed to.

In 2017, communities along New River contacted CRC in regards to increased mortality of crocs, as well as an increase in sick crocs. CRC began collecting crocodile tissue and blood samples for future heavy metal and agrochemical analysis under a permit granted by Forest Department.

Under mentorship by CRC Executive Director Dr. Marisa Tellez, Jonathan has been leading research surveys of New River since 2019, and now can further his research with the recently received grant.

“This grant will not only provide further funding for this important research but will give more opportunities for Jonathan to grow as a leading environmental scientist in Belize and the region.”– Dr. Tellez

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