Working together–Improving the Oceans

Jon and Jose plug coordinates into the GPS during one of the project's marine survey boat trips in February.

Jon and Jose plug coordinates into the GPS during one of the project's marine survey boat trips in February.

ARCAE (The Costa Rican Environmental and Educational Network) volunteer Jon Schrank (USA) teaches Jose Cortez — a local sea turtle expert from Punta Banco, Costa Rica — how to use a GPS in order to mark the positions of marine fauna they observe during a visual census of the mouth of the Gulfo Dulce along Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific coast.  The study is part of ARCAE’s ongoing conservation programs, and it’s an example of how individuals from different backgrounds can work together to improve the state of the world’s oceans.

The research project has foreign researchers working with local residents on a visual marine fauna survey of the mouth of the Gulfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf).  Once a week, participants board a small local artisanal fishing boat at 6 am and travel a 50 km predetermined pattern through a portion of the project site.  The team takes the exact position with the GPS of any marine animal (sea turtle, dolphin, ray, whale, etc.) they see on the surface.  The project is providing information that will be used for marine management plans and for the creation of locally owned ecotourism businesses.    

The interchange of knowledge between Jon and Jose is an example of how foreign research volunteers can positively impact the residents of coastal communities in this country while being exposed to a wealth of new cultural experiences themselves.  If you would like more information on volunteer and research openings with ARCAE in Southern Costa Rica, please contact Andy Bystrom at a.bystrom@arcae.org.  Also, please see ARCAE’s announcement in this blog’s previous post. 

After each boat trip, the data is analyzed

Before this project, Jose had never used a GPS and Jon had never volunteered his GIS skills to anyone in Costa Rica

 

 

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