Exploring Costa Rican Secret Reefs

Latest update August 13, 2019 Started on August 13, 2019
sea

As part of Pelagos mission, we are going to explore the secret reefs of Cahuita National Park in Limón, Costa Rica. Our main goal is to explore unknown coral reefs at depths greater than 50 meters, looking for Lionfish and Acroporids.

August 13, 2019
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Expedition Background

We are a group of young local scientists, artists and hackers who look to communicate the wonders of the ocean, going from local to global context. The Costa Rican Caribbean holds many secrets that still remain unveiled, this part of the country is the less explored, mainly because of weather conditions and ocean currents. Many of these secrets remain of the less explored reef patches such as the outer parts of Cahuita National Park, where few assessments have been made to date, but also where we think we can find the secret for the recovery of a coral species that was almost considered extinct, the staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis). We have mapped along with local communities a colony that seems to be a hybrid and thus one of the few genetic reservoirs of the much less common staghorn coral. We propose that unexplored deeper reefs could have some of the last colonies of this species, which is a key question to conduct future restoration projects that will benefit both the environment and local communities. Also, these unexplored areas hold a variety of clues that could inform about the status of Costa Rican Caribbean reefs, including the densities and abundance of Lionfish, an invasive species that represents an ecological disruption for the native species and biological communities. These and many other interesting questions will now be answered thanks to the technological advances through the support of the Trident ROV, not only to gather scientific data but also to use it as an educational tool for local students and as a marvelous approach to compile the most appealing underwater footage, the one that will show us the secrets of the Costa Rican reefs!

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