December 20, 2023

Transnational Reef Check Team Surveys Kelp Forest at the Coronado Islands in Baja California, Mexico

In October of this year, a transnational team of Reef Check divers embarked on a trip to monitor and safeguard the vital kelp ecosystems around the Coronado Islands just south of the Mexico/US border. The divers hailed from the coastal stretches of Southern California and Ensenada, Mexico and formed a unique partnership under the Reef Check banner. Fueled by a shared commitment to safeguarding the ocean, these volunteers contributed their time and expertise to monitor and protect the marine ecosystems surrounding these islands.

The Coronado Islands, located roughly 10 miles off-shore of Baja California just south of the US border, became the stage for this cross-border collaboration. Kelp forests are a cornerstone of marine biodiversity here, providing shelter and sustenance for an array of marine life. Along the California coast, Reef Check has documented declines in kelp from the overgrazing by sea urchins, the increasing prevalence of invasive species and other environmental stressors. These ecosystems do not stop at international borders, and data on the health of the kelp forest on these islands is lacking. 

Our transnational team of divers, trained in Reef Check’s rigorous monitoring protocols, assessed the density of kelp, fish, and invertebrates. Their efforts contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the state of the kelp ecosystems on these remote islands, vital for informed conservation strategies.

This expedition was more than a scientific undertaking; it was a celebration of cross-cultural connections. Volunteers from Southern California and Ensenada joined forces, transcending geographical boundaries to unite under the common cause of marine conservation. The bonds forged underwater echoed the universal language of environmental stewardship.

Thank you to the San Diego Foundation, whose generous funding under the Binational Resilience Initiative (BRI), made this expedition possible.