Here we go again

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Once again, on December 4, 2016, a scientific team sailed to Cocos Island National Park. Eighteen experts left Puntarenas to continue the work that Conservation International has supported on this World Heritage Site for the past 12 years. In a project developed jointly with CIMAR of the University of Costa Rica, scientists specialized in diverse fields of marine biology have been dedicated to evaluating the health of the submarine ecosystems of the island.

Thirty-six hours are necessary to reach it, and although the planning of the expedition had begun several months ago, the crossing was dedicated to the completion of the preparations. All the members received safety instructions, they were informed about the working protocols, they prepared their diving equipment and became familiar with the ship and its crew.

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Instead of collecting seashells, let’s collect trash

Written by Viviana Araya Gamboa, Costa Rican artist from Pez Cocinado

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I LOVE the immense ocean, but mainly I love those little details that inhabit it, why ?? I don’t know, I just know that being there makes me happy. We usually criticize trawlers, fishermen, but the truth is that from home, from where we are, we can also generate a large impact on all of that life, how responsible are we of our trash !!?? Which with the help of the rain, wind and some of our irresponsibilities, we all participate in shutting down the colors and details that live within all that blue. Continue reading

Our underwater Costa Rica is simply amazing

Written by Eva Salas, marine biologist

We are a small country, but thanks to Cocos Island our territory is very large and is 90% sea. Who knows what is there to be discovered in the seamounts which are part of the island, or the more than 3,000 meters deep pit where the Cocos plate sinks under the Caribbean. Our small country has at least 3.5% of the marine biodiversity in the world … that’s a lot!
We’re lucky, it’s not just any country that has the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea so close! These two bodies of water were separated more than 3 million years ago, so if one looks underwater with a mask and a snorkel, one meets two completely different universes. The fishes look very similar, but there are some differences in the colors. Corals are nothing alike in the Caribbean and the Pacific. One wonders how they got there, how these species evolved?

Los corales que habitan el océano Pacífico (Izq.), son muy distintos de los del mar Caribe (Der.).

Corals in the Pacific Ocean (Left),are very different from those in the Caribbean Sea (Right).

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On a shrimp boat

Written by Silvia Echeverría, Marine Biologist

They may be just a few people who have had the opportunity to get on a shrimp boat. So the first thing is to know is that these boats have nothing to do with a tourist yacht or a boat ride.

Life on the boat has a different feel and its dynamic is unique. Fishermen are a team, they work articulately and each one has a role. Of course I probably lost the real dynamics for two reasons: first, because I spent half the time asleep as a result of motion sickness pills (and the other half throwing up), and second, because being a woman and research biologist onboard, men presented themselves as courteous and polite as they could, not jesting and even watching their vocabulary. Continue reading

Zompopas and fishes

Written by Marco Quesada, Director of Conservation International Costa Rica

It has always surprised me the great ability we have to adapt and get used to what surrounds us. I remember when I was a child, to see ants in my neighborhood and to think it was normal. Among the various species of ants inhabiting my neighborhood, we had the zompopas (leaf-cutters). I got used to see them walking in long lines, carrying huge pieces of leafs and to watch the plants disappear overnight. Many years later, working as a tour guide, I was surprised to see a group of tourists stop for 10 minutes to see a line of zompopas marching through the woods. I had ignored it because I forgot that what is normal for me may be, actually, something special.

It’s something I’ve continued to witness through my life. We stop noticing things, both good and bad behaviours that are around us everyday. We are accustomed to the beauty of our mountains and our beaches, for example. To swimming in a clean sea and to eat seafood from time to time.

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