Protecting the rainforest of the sea in Golfo Dulce Costa Rica
Posted by: PLAYA NICUESA RAINFOREST LODGE
Interesting news has been happening recently at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in southern Costa Rica. In an effort to help restore coral reefs in the Golfo Dulce, Nicuesa Lodge staff has been collaborating with the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the National Institute of Learning (INA) on the study project: â€œEcological regeneration of coral populations present in the South Pacific of Costa Rica.â€ Since June 2015, they have been creating coral reef â€œnurseries,â€ transplanting fragments of coral onto artificial structures to grow coral gardens.
So far, according to Nicuesa Lodge Sustainability Coordinator, Natalia Solis, coral is successfully growing and they are planning to create another structure off the beach in the small bay by the Costa Rica eco-hotel.
â€œWe have made an exploratory dive to determine if conditions are optimal at Playa Nicuesa to mount another structure that will serve as a garden to help the ecological regeneration of corals,â€ explained Solis. â€œIn fact, a part of the bay is optimal for the placement of the structure so we will continue to facilitate the care of corals and their monitoring."
Staff and university biologists make regular dives to assess the conditions of the existing coral garden, and to clean the structure of seaweed or sea sponges that could suffocate the coral fragments planted there.
>Coral reefs are considered one of the most diverse and complex ecosystems that exist on the planet. Coral reefs are unique marine ecosystems teeming with life â€" perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depend on reefsfor food and shelter. For this reason, coral reefs are often called the â€œrainforests of the sea"
. They grow in shallow, clear water to a depth of 60 meters (197 feet) in tropical and subtropical seas. Corals are live animals related to sea anemones. Stony corals â€" the most popular coral in the tropics â€" build structures out of calcium carbonate that form tropical reefs.
Coral reefs are very important to humans, providing food (all the fish species), protection of shorelines, jobs based on tourism, and even medicines. Unfortunately, people also pose the greatest threat to coral reefs, which are being destroyed at an alarming rate by pollution, overfishing, accelerated coastal development, sedimentation, and other factors. One-tenth of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed and nearly a third of them are in serious danger, according to scientists.
In the Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, live coral coverage was 29% to 46% at the end of the 1980's, but it was reported as being less than 10% since the end of the 1990's, due to sedimentation by deforestation and other factors.