Guess what?!? We have another eco-adventure ahead! I just received notice that my recent proposal was approved by Friends of the Osa (www.osaconservation.org). I have been granted another Greg Gund Memorial Fellowship to continue my conservation research in Costa Rica, so I’ll be returning to the Osa Peninsula this July! Woo hoo! I can’t wait to see all my friends and get back on the waters of Golfo Dulce (http://brookebessesen.com/blog/?p=162).
I have posted many blogs about the Multi-Species Marine Sighting Survey of 2010, so you are well aware of the joys and challenges and rewards of that project (http://brookebessesen.com/blog/?p=880). We did our initial survey in January and February mostly because it was the dry season and the dry season is… well, drier. Clear weather made our work easier as we collected data that ultimately answered some questions about how marine life utilizes Golfo Dulce.
But as we finished that survey, we began wondering… what changes might be seen during the rainy season? That’s the nature of science, answers only raise more questions.
By collecting 20-30 additional days of sightings during July and August, our baseline data will be expanded to give a more comprehensive look at Golfo Dulce, and important seasonal shifts may be illuminated.
Mike is generously donating his boat again and Guido remains my scientific sounding board (http://brookebessesen.com/blog/?p=128). Of course I will be working with my right-hand man, Jorge! As before, our study goals are to document which species enter or reside in the Gulf during the survey period and look for distribution patterns. I know we will record sea turtles again and those amazing pelagic sea snakes! But we’re also crossing fingers we’ll document southern hemisphere Humpback whales (http://brookebessesen.com/blog/?p=24) and maybe even whale sharks.
I’m especially excited to learn more about the resident Bottlenose dolphins. By analyzing my photographs after the last survey and using scars and the distinctive shapes of dorsals and tail flukes, I was able to identify up to 40 individuals. So we can now chart the movement of those recognized dolphins within the marine habitat. That alone should reveal some cool insight into the Gulf ecology.
There is a lot of work ahead and no doubt some logistical hassles, but I am already beaming as I begin preparations. In just five months I will be back in the wild! You’ll be there too, taking in the sights and sounds through blog and facebook postings. I’m even taking a small video camera to upload clips. So let’s gear up and get ready for another exciting trip to Costa Rica!