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Marine Life in Costa Rica

Information about Rainforest Animals, Environment and Earth Science in Costa Rica


                                Ecosystems & Coastal Environments

All You Can Eat Buffet 

The main reason that there is such a biological richness in the marine ecosystems of this part of Costa Rica is due to a phenomenon called SURGENCIA, which cools the ocean water in the dry season to temperatures reaching 16C.

Marine Birds

The surgencia stirs up the nutrients in the ocean, providing a feast that attracts the entire food chain.

This phenomenon is caused by the upper layers of the ocean being pushed by the trade winds and the cooler, deeper waters laden with nutrients, being brought to the surface, causing an increase in the marine flora and fauna.

 Ocean Food & Nutrients

Ocean Nutrition


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Marine Animals

The richness in species is awakening the interest of many marine scientists, especially in the areas adjacent to the Islas Murcielago (Bat Islands). This has influenced the recent discovery of coral reefs in this area and has led to the creation of a biological station which is dedicated to the marine ecosystem investigation, located on the island of San Jose, the largest on the archipelago Murcielago. §

The different coastal environments that are found include: mangrove forests, sandy and rocky beaches, many inlets that serve as refuges and breeding grounds for marine birds, rocky outcrops that protect many of the commercial fish species, and the coral reefs mentioned earlier.

Mangrove Forest Ecosystems

River Mouth Estuary

Mangrove Swamps

 River Mouth Estuary

Mangroves & Coastal Environments

Mangroves are forests that grow in between the area of low and high tide and have plant and animal associations that are characteristic of this environment. The most important of these are the commercial species of fish that lay their eggs here and undergo part of their lifecycles in the roots of the mangrove trees.

Within this richness of marine habitat is found a huge fish resource, which is one of the most abundant in the country. There is also a large population of sea turtles and many of the coral species found in the Pacific region of Costa Rica.

In the coastal areas of Guanacaste Costa Rica there are six mangrove forests. These ecosystems present the characteristics of mangroves in dry and arid regions in Costa Rica.

One of the rarest mangrove forest ecosystems has a lesser kind of development which is caused by lowered rainfall rates and the increased concentration of salt in the soil. One of the most important is located at Potrero Grande, because it is the most developed mangrove forest in the area and it marks the northern limit of the pinuela mangroves of the Pacific Region of Central America. §

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