Join researchers in the pristine wilds of Costa Rica to conduct critical research on mammals and predators. Your findings may help to develop a permanent marine protected area.
Golfo Dulce, a narrow inlet on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, provides a rich habitat for cetaceans (whales and dolphins). It remains fairly pristine, since the many tourists who visit Costa Rica each year haven’t quite discovered it yet—which makes now a crucial time to investigate what the ecosystem needs to remain healthy. By understanding the behavior and tracking the abundance of the marine mammals and predators in this region, we can ensure we have the information needed to best protect them when tourism starts in earnest in this beautiful, wild place.
For about a decade, we have gathered information on three species of cetacean in the gulf: the pantropical spotted dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, and the humpback whale. Through our focus on these cetacean species, we want to understand how to preserve this beautiful marine ecosystem in general.
We are now entering a new stage in our research and will be expanding our understanding of how the entire Golfo Dulce ecosystem functions by gathering data of the presence of other top predators, including sharks and rays. In addition, this year, for the first time, we will be using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as remote sensors and a noninvasive research platform to document ecological data on cetacean habitat use.
Through our research, and with your volunteer involvement, we will help to develop conservation plans to protect the marine biodiversity in the gulf in the future.