Our Monthly Newsletter offers an insight into the activities at our busy Research Center and details of upcoming events and projects.

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Cassiopea Carrier Doneys

Message from our Research Center Director

Anyone who sets foot in Mahahual cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the place. This paradise is a tribute to the delicacy and importance of coastal ecosystems and the incredible biodiversity of which they are composed. All activity in Mahahual depends on this precious ecosystem, from tourism to fishing. When Takata Experience opened its doors in 2016, the founding members aimed to make a positive change in the face of degrading ecosystems and declining biodiversity. 

Our goal is to make Mahahual a destination where ecotourism can become the engine of healthy and sustainable development, respecting the ecosystems that it comprises. Why not have the ambition to create together a place where the conservation of the environment and the restoration of natural systems are the basis of development actions? Why can´t this be achieved with the inclusion of, and respect for, the local  population?

With this in mind, over the last 3 years, Takata Research Center has established a variety of research and conservation programs and projects, working with the local community in Mahahual. We hope to showcase these programs and provide updates to you each month in the form of our new Friends of Takata newsletter!

Friends of Takata!

This month is all about our feBLUEary campaign! This year we wanted to show you how Takata and the community of Mahahual are working together to become an example of a sustainable and environmentally responsible tourist destination in order to protect our ocean and its ecosystem.

Takata & Mahahual

Since 2016, Takata has engaged in many collective efforts and actions with the village of Mahahual to ensure the future of our ecosystems, working towards making the community aware of the importance of restoring of the biodiversity of the Caribbean sea. Our goals are conserving endangered wildlife and habitat, restoring key ecosystems, enhancing social & environmental awareness, and the implementing a sustainable coastal development. 

Every day, our Research Center members work on different projects alongside local businesses, schools and the government. All our research results are shared with the community. In fact, Mahahual’s community is also consulted about their own perceptions of local socio-environmental issues. Together, Mahahual & Takata developed a common vision; creating a sustainable community to ensure the future of our oceans. Learn more about our Research Center HERE.

The Power of Education

At Takata, we truly believe in the power of education to create a better relationship between the individual, the community & the environment. Our objective is to empower the community by giving them the necessary knowledge and tools to protect the ecosystems upon which we collectively depend. That is why we work with local schools to help children develop an emotional connection with their environment from an early age. 

Our Research Center staff and volunteers participate in weekly activities with the village of Mahahual such as:
  • Environmental education every week to the public and in Mahahual schools.
  • Creation of environmental education activities in the community. 
  • Organization of an environmental festival.
  • Presentation of workshops and talks.
  • Creation of educational content and dissemination on social networks.

Research Internships

Our Research & Conservation activities are divided into a variety of programs and projects, which are open to interns from universities around the world. During their time with us, they conduct theory and field work and are supervised by the Research Center team. Their projects are related to academic fields in biology, environmental management, anthropology, urbanism, tourism, geography, geomatics or education.  We also welcome volunteers throughout the year. 

Thank you!

We ended our feBLUEary campaign with a fundraiser and we invited the people of Mahahual to join us for food, music and activities while learning about solutions that exist to protect our community. With this event, we invited everyone to participate actively in actions that will help us to live in a more conscious & responsible village. We hope we can inspire other people to take actions daily in order to have a positive impact on their community and environment. We would like to thank everyone who participated and donated to our fundraiser. The money raised will be used for the different community-based projects of our Research Center to continue support Mahahual’s goal to be an environmentally sustainable destination.

Exciting News - Coming May 2020!

We are very excited to announce that Takata has been approved as a PADI IDC Center! We are only the 2nd dive center to receive such an accolade in the South of Quintana Roo in Mexico.

We are very happy to announce that the first PADI Instructor Development Course in Mahahual will run in May 2020! If you are looking to turn your passion into your profession, please contact us to find out more!

Friends of Takata!

2020 has gotten off to a great start! We have updates on our Environmental Education Program in the local schools and our Habitat Cartography Program which is focusing on the mangroves and water quality. We also will be launching our annual FeBLUEary event soon –  stay tuned! Thank you to all of you who continue to support and contribute to our programs. 

Environmental Education in Mahahual Schools

Our Environmental Education Program has a new intern on the scene who will be working with the local schools here in Mahahual to build on their environmental sustainability curriculum. The program focus this winter will be on three main components that will compliment the course work that the students are already learning.

Firstly, increasing awareness about reducing consumption and diverting waste from the landfill through composting and recycling programs. Secondly, learning about the ecosystems around Mahahual and their ecosystem services. Finally, we will cover responsible tourism with an emphasis on how students could build a career in this industry that makes up a large portion of the economy in Mahahual and the state of Quintana Roo.

Guest lecturers from the local community will be asked to come in to speak on their topics of expertise. This is a program that collaborates heavily with the school directors and teachers as well as educators from other organizations to offer Takata’s expertise and work towards a common goal. Through education we hope to foster an appreciation for our natural environment and a desire to preserve it from a young age.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Reef Ecology Workshop

We are currently offering a stimulating introductory workshop on the state of our reef in today’s climate. The curriculum has been carefully crafted to give you an overall view of the reef ecosystem, associated ecosystems, coral biology, ecosystem services, threats, and solutions to aid survival. Upgrade your experience by adding an interpretation dive to the course and observe the reef in action. During the course you will have the opportunity to meet our engaging research staff and enhance your diving experience by gaining a deeper understanding of marine life. Read more here

What´s in the Water?

We are now starting phase five of our Habitat Cartography Program which focuses on the mangrove forest and its hydrographic network in Mahahual. Researchers and interns will be mapping and characterizing the mangroves, forests, and wetlands in the local area to determine their conservation status as well as identifying sources of pollution to these delicate ecological zones.

As a result of this program we will be able to propose possible interventions for the remediation and restoration of these important habitats. From there we will be able to create a protocol for continuous monitoring of the terrestrial ecosystems that will allow us to understand the state of their biodiversity as well as the water dynamics of the wetlands in the Mahahual territory.

The studies that we have carried out in recent years have allowed us to propose some hypotheses about environmental problems at the local level and are listed below:  

  1. An unknown percentage of the sewage produced in Mahahual is reaching the reef through the underground system or through frequent overflows of the drainage system. It is important to identify these pollution sources so that they can be intervened, perhaps with nutrient absorption pools.
  2. The construction of roads in the Mahahual territory has affected the connectivity of the water system, isolating wetland areas from the natural flow of water to and from the sea. During the dry season, the salinity level of these areas exceeds the tolerance of the mangroves, causing a large number of deaths in certain areas. We need to identify these areas and understand the dynamics of water flow in wetlands in order to plan interventions to restore water connectivity.
  3. Rapid development of urban and hotel infrastructure, as well as illegal land trade, are causing accelerated deforestation of forests and mangroves, as well as drainage and filling of Mahahual wetlands. It is imperative to identify priority conservation areas and ecological corridors that should be included in Mahahual’s urban development planning.

Read more about our Habitat Cartography Program here

Upcoming Event: FeBLUEary!

Starting on Monday, February 17th we will officially be launching our annual feBLUEary event. We will be hosting conservation talks at Takata, plus stay tuned for additional activities! If you’re unable to attend don’t worry, we will be keeping you connected from afar with informative posts through our social media platforms. The specifics of dates and times will be posted soon. Keep an eye on your feed from February 17th-21st for thought-provoking material on the most important topics facing the future of our coastal ecosystems.

Yoga is back at Takata!

We are now offering regular yoga classes at our Takata Dive Center. Come and enjoy the sound of the sea and the calm atmosphere of our space outside of the hustle of town. See you on the mat!

Friends of Takata!

Wishing all of our friends and supporters a very Happy New Year! We are looking forward to more achievements and exciting new projects in 2020! Thank you to all of you who continue to support and contribute to our programs. 

Takata Research Center Annual Report

Welcome to your portal into Takata Research Center’s Annual Activity Report for 2018-2019. Every year you will be able to see the achievements and results of our projects and programs, as well as our partnerships and acknowledgements of the year. This is a great way to learn more about the mission and vision of our organization and dig deeper into the specific programs that interest you! Some of the highlights from this year include: completing an interactive, online map of 12 km of the Mahahual coastline; establishing a recycling program with weekly pickups in the community and from businesses; many successful collaborations with government, local and foreign universities, other NGOs, and researchers; and the creation of a 5-year coral restoration plan including the construction and installation of an underwater coral nursery. You will find more information on all of these exciting projects and more in our Annual Report!

NEW! Responsible Tourism Project

Currently, we have two researchers investigating the supply and demand side of tourism in Mahahual. They are looking into ways in which direct and sustainable benefits can be created for the local community. Through interviews with many community members including: The Mayor of Mahahual, the Director of the Wayak Community Center, local tour operators, hotel and restaurant owners, and people employed in non-tourism positions throughout the town, our interns have discovered support for this goal. The people living in Mahahual truly care about their community and want to see it thrive. They also recognize that there is a lot of work to do. The main areas of concern are cleaning up the garbage in the streets, creating more recreational facilities for youth, dealing with the seasonal sargassum on the beaches, and having stricter regulations around urban planning.

In a town where the economy is extremely dependent on cruise ship tourists, the impact of these visitors is felt in a variety of ways. From where the tourists choose to eat and the cost of housing rentals, to the influx of people moving to Mahahual from other parts of Mexico to work for the cruise ship port and other related tourism businesses.

The aim of Takata Research Center and our tourism interns is to develop a product that would more directly benefit the local community and cater to cruise ship tourism. Two projects have been proposed. The first would be to create a local guided tour around the lesser-known parts of Mahahual where tourists would be able to meet local artisans, learn more about the culture and tradition of the region, and maybe try their hand at cooking a traditional food. The second project would be to start a local market, similar to many others in towns across the country. A local market is the perfect location for tourists to fully experience the diversity of culture and traditions that are found in Mahahual. It would also provide an area for locals to socialize with one another, increasing community feeling, and with tourists. Locals who are not directly involved in tourism would have the opportunity for employment and engagement with tourists. Through the interviews conducted by our tourism interns with Mahahual locals we have seen that there is a strong demand for a local market, and we are now investigating the best ways to take action.

Through these two projects, we hope to bring a greater community feeling to Mahahual, while also providing tourists with a more authentic and local experience of the village they are visiting. We hope to increase a sense of purpose with local people and incentivize better maintenance of the village, especially with regards to trash, as well as more efficient maintenance of infrastructure and facilities.

To learn more about our Responsible Tourism Project check out our website page HERE.

NEW Eco-Mahahual Certified Businesses

This month 3 additional businesses have been certified in our Eco-Mahahual Certification program and 1 got an upgrade! We are pleased to announce that Hayhu Beach Club, Luna de Plata, Maya Luna, and Lunazul have all reached Level 2 or above. Congratulations to all of you! The initiative taken by these businesses is a clear example of leadership and environmental stewardship in the restaurant and hotel service industry here in Mahahual. If you know of a local business or businesses who you believe deserve acknowledgement for the steps they have taken to lower their environmental impact, please reach out to us via email: [email protected] It’s completely free!

Coastal Ecology Program

We are currently running our Coastal Ecology Program taught by two specialized educators: Andres Larrea, who has a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and a Postgraduate degree in Environmental Education, and Juliana Acero who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science, majoring in Ecology and Wildlife and a Coral Reef Restoration Certificate from The Nature Conservancy and the Reef Resilience Network. Students who sign up receive 35 hours of lessons that bring them from the classroom, to the reef, to the mangroves. It is also possible to complete it over 6-8 weeks in conjunction with the Divemaster course, earning you the title of Eco Divemaster! By signing up for this course you would not only expand your scientific knowledge of coastal ecosystems, but also explore topics of environmental ethics and the Anthropocene.

Read more about our Coastal Ecology Program and other eco programs HERE.

Friends of Takata!

We are pleased to announce our new monthly newsletter! Each month we will share with you the updates, progress, setbacks, and calls to action for the Research & Conservation programs we are currently running here at Takata Research Center in Mahahual, Mexico. ~November 2019

Coral Restoration Program

After 1 year of planning and 5 months of studying and monitoring the resistance of our exclusive nursery prototype, we will soon be ready to install our first coral fragments. Stay tuned for what’s to come! This project is inspired by the huge amount of loss that the Caribbean reef has experienced over the past few decades. It is estimated that 90% of corals alone have been lost over the past 20 years.

Recycling Program

Every Thursday a group of Takata’s interns and volunteers made up of locals and visitors drive to local businesses in Mahahual to pick up their plastic & aluminium recycling. We receive so much support from the local community and hope to expand our collections and recycling stations throughout all of Mahahual!

Eco Certification

Takata is certifying local companies in Mahahual who are taking steps towards more environmentally sustainable business practices. We have four levels of certifications that a business can achieve depending on their resource management, waste management, and the eco-responsible products that they use.

Reef Monitoring

Our Reef Monitoring Program allows us to collect data about the state of the reef using the AGRRA standardized methods. This week, in collaboration with Healthy Reefs and Cinvestav, we are helping with the annual monitoring of four reef sites in Mahahual, Xahuayxol, and Xcalak. These sites have been monitored for years and are important when measuring the resilience of the reef.

Turtle Conservation

In collaboration with Proyecto Aak Mahahual we are able to lend a helping hand in three main areas: monitoring the local sea turtle population, surveying and protecting the nesting grounds, and educating the general public about the issues that this fragile population is facing.

Environmental Awareness

Menos Plástico es Fantástico recently hosted a community event in partnership with Takata Research Center and Restore Coral. The importance of these community organisations in supporting environmental projects is critical to bringing people together and making our work as effective as possible in protecting our marine and terrestrial environments.

Habitat Cartography

Through the hard work of our interns and the use of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) technology, we have been able to map 12 km of Mahahual´s coastline and present it in an online interactive map. The reef, seagrass, mangroves, and much more have all been included in this map and we can now use it to monitor changes in the coastal marine ecosystems over time.

Social Perception - Marine Environment

Understanding how other people view the land, sea, and amazing resources that they can provide us is an important part when it comes to deciding what to do to protect it. With this project we are identifying the local stakeholders and interviewing them about what they think is important.

Eco Diving Programs

At Takata Dive Center, we have a number of different eco-focused dive courses and programs for both new and experienced divers. From a Reef Monitoring Program to PADI´s Coral Conservation Specialty, our experienced dive instructors and team of scientists can teach you all you need to know to become a more eco-conscious diver.