Waitt Foundation Santa Elena Costa Rica ExpeditionWaitt Foundation

Santa Elena

Expedition Description

Working together with Mar Viva and scientists from the University of Costa Rica (CIMAR-UCR), Equipo Tora Carey, University Vèritas and Misión Tiburón, our expedition ship traveled into Santa Elena Bay in Costa Rica. We conducted scientific survey in support of filling protection gaps in both land and water based Nature Preserves.

302 species documented, including corals, algae, invertebrates, fish, sharks and rays, marine mammals, reptiles and birds.

  • The University of Costa Rica team visited 36 sites and performed 25 dives at depths between 6 and 35 meters, performed 3  deep drag collections for 20 minutes and collected water samples from 23 sites.
  • Scientists analyzed 3,850 underwater quadrants and recorded 55 different categories of substrate and 9,244 invertebrates and 8,790 fish were censed.
  • 41 water samples to analyze nutrients and measure clorophyll were collected for further analysis in laboratory.
  • The multi-disciplinary team executed 12 dives during which 2 turtle species, 3 shark species and    9 ray species were documented.
  • 7 hawksbill and 2 black sea turtles measured, tagged, and documented with blood samples taken to study the connectivity with populations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
  • 15 individuals (4 nurse sharks, 2 eagle rays and 9 sting rays) documented with DNA samples taken during dives to study their populations.
  • 43 individuals of three ray species caught, measured, tagged, documented with blood samples taken to study their local populations and the impact of coastal development on diseases and parasites.
  • 31 whole sea turtle carcasses and over 20 partial carcasses eaten by jaguars and/or pumas were documented on a sea turtle nesting beach.

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