The Unidad Académica Puerto Morelos is the focus for coral reef research in the Western Caribbean and is the CRTR Program’s Centre of Excellence for Mesoamerica and the Western Caribbean.
Unidad Académica Puerto Morelos is responsible for maintaining close ties with national and local organizations including government agencies in charge of fisheries, the environment, science and technology. It also maintains research partnerships with numerous institutions in Mexico and abroad, as well as contact with local and regional NGOs.
The CoE links the scientific results to local managers and policy decision-makers by participating in local, regional and national forums including the National Scientific Advisory Council on Coral Reefs for the Mexican Federal Government, and in maintaining constant communication with the management community through the participation at advisory committees and workshops.
UAPM is located at 2.5 km of Puerto Morelos, a little village situated 30km south of Cancun, in the proximity of a reef lagoon. The Puerto Morelos reef lagoon is delimited by a fringing reef located between 550m and 1.5km from the coastline. The lagoon is relatively shallow with a depth average of 3m, being 4.5m the deepest depth. Mean surface water temperature is 28.5°C, with an average minimum in January of 26.6°C, and an average maximum in August of 31°C. The reef lagoon substratum consists of coarse carbonate sediments, colonized by submarine prairies dominated by the seagrasses species Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme.