Belize Barrier Reef System, Belize

  • Vanda Claudino-Sales
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 28)


The Belize shelf, in Central America, is a submarine extension of the Yucatan Platform, forming a drowned low-relief karst surface composed of drowned river channels and sinkholes. The system of reefs that developed in this area, the world’s second-largest reef and the longest in both the Northern and Western hemispheres, provides a classic example of the evolutionary history of reefs, containing superlative natural phenomena and areas of exceptional natural beauty. The system has inshore, mid-shelf, and shelf-edge coral reefs. There are also offshore atolls, coastal lagoons, large seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, and sand cays. The site illustrates the whole range of coral reef development and provides the habitat for a very large number of fish species, as well as for threatened animals such as marine turtles, manatees, and the American marine crocodile.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanda Claudino-Sales
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal University of Ceará StateFortalezaBrazil

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