Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Joel T. Heinen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ligia Collado-Vides

Third Advisor's Name

Pallab Mozumder


Marine Protected Areas, Marine Conservation, Attitudes, Social, Knowledge, Demographics

Date of Defense



This thesis research analyzed the perceptions of local community residents in Puerto Morelos, Mx., and its affect on the National Marine Park. Social and economic factors affecting the level of support for the marine park were evaluated. Formal semi-structured written surveys were conducted with stakeholders in two major sub-regions affected by the protected zone. The survey allowed for comparison of stakeholders providing qualitative and quantitative information regarding attitudes, regulation awareness, and formation of the marine protected area. The results demonstrated a difference in knowledge level based on location in the community. Demographic indicators including education, nationality and community residency time are significant influences on the community perception of marine protection. There was a significant relationship between economic growth provided by the protected area and the level of support for protection resources. Further understanding of the relationship between social indicators and resource management is needed for conservation of important coastal resources.