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Glover's Reef Atoll, the southernmost of Belize's offshore atolls, located approximately 45 km off the mainland, is oval-shaped and runs 32 km long and 12 km wide. The Atoll is considered the prototypic atoll of the Caribbean. It is not only the best developed biologically, but also possesses the greatest diversity of reef types. Its deep lagoon is studded with about 850 patch reefs and pinnacles rising to the surface. Six sand cayes lie on the reef crest along its southeastern edge. The peripheral reef of the Atoll is broken in only three places by deep channels, allowing for the tidal flow of water between the lagoon and the open sea. A large grouper spawning site is located at the northeastern end of the atoll.
The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the Glover's Reef Research Station on Middle Caye. Since opening in 1997, the Station has hosted more than 100 scientific expeditions and has served as a platform for many researchers and students. The Station's mission is to promote long-term conservation and management of the Belize Barrier Reef complex through in-situ research, cooperative management, training, and education.