|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||20 May 2013|
The world’s longest known flooded coastal caves are hidden in the karst of the Yucatan Peninsula. Within these extended anchialine (meaning “near the sea”) cave systems, subterranean rivers flow toward the coast linking terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The objectives of this project unfold in three complementary directions:
(2) Contaminant transport within the underground passages will be investigated. Environmental threats due to rapid development, fertilizers, absence of drainage, leaking septic tanks, and deep well injection of sewage are all contributing factors to the contamination of groundwater and anchialine systems in the region. Numerous water quality parameters will be measured within the cave system and nearby habitats to gain better knowledge on the level and extent of pollution in association with these ecosystems.
(3) We will raise awareness locally and internationally of the threats of contaminating anchialine caves and cenotes. A short educational video will be made to increase awareness of the importance of anchialine ecosystems by emphasizing their biological, ecological and economical values. In addition, this film will share novel scientific findings with the most affected communities rapidly and educate the public on the importance of conserving these habitats.
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