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Central American Dome – Playa Grande, Costa Rica Expedition

In January 2014, MarViva and Mission Blue launched a film expedition with Dr. Sylvia Earle to highlight our Central American Dome Hope Spot.  Partners supporting the expedition were LightHawk, The Baum Foundation, Bula Bula and National Geographic. The ecological and commercial value of the Dome’s resources were documented to raise awareness and support for the protection of its species and habitats. The film below, produced by Mission Blue and MarViva, takes viewers on a journey to learn about the Central American Dome (CAD) and why sustainable management of this High Seas Hope Spot is so important for the region: In 2013, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue declared The Central American Dome a “Hope Spot,” designating it as a special area critical to the health of the ocean.…
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Leaping Mobulas and Turtle tracks

On Sunday morning I had the privilege of joining Dr. Sylvia Earle and director Kip Evans on a scientific aerial survey over Las Baulas National Marine Park and surrounding areas. The Lighthawk team did an amazing job during the flight giving us the opportunity of filming some great aerial footage. We were looking for sea turtles swimming near the Marine Park, or perhaps their tracks on the sand, left the previous night after they had nested – lonely impressions on the sand showcasing the resilience of these marvelous creatures. During the afternoon we switched our mode of transportation hoping to find them in the water. Dr. George Shillinger joined us aboard the Boos Adventures boat, providing valuable knowledge on sea turtle behavior.…
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Expedition Day Two – Leatherback nesting in Playa Grande

Tourists from all over the world come to the beaches of Playa Grande in Costa Rica to have the awe-inspiring experience of watching giant leatherback turtles lay their eggs after returning to the coast from waters of the Central American Dome Hope Spot offshore. In addition to the undeniable value of the leatherback within the marine ecosystem, this critically endangered species holds promise as a focal point for sustainable development in the coastal communities surrounding their nesting beaches. Local leaders have created a Community Association training locals to greet visitors to Marino las Baulas National Park, share a brief educational presentation, and ensure that visitors have a minimal impact on this critical leatherback habitat. The volunteers reminisced about the old times when “one could barely walk on the beach,” due to the large number of nesting leatherbacks.…
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Central American Dome Expedition Team Arrives!

High seas ecosystems are intricately linked to those in the coastal regions. The Central American Dome Expedition mini documentary will highlight the need for more conservation policies in international waters and how they work alongside protection efforts on the coast. Our focus is the largest sea turtle on earth, the leatherback.  These leviathans travel from Playa Grande in Costa Rica, out into the Central Pacific Dome region and continue their migratory route to South America. Ocean currents also transport leatherback hatchlings through the area. Day 1: Critically endangered, leatherbacks are priceless in the marine ecosystem. Egg harvesting and fisheries by-catch have drastically reduced their population during the past two decades. We visited The Leatherback Trust’s team at Baulas National Park in Guanacaste to learn about conservation measures being worked on with local authorities.…
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Central American Dome Hope Spot Expedition Underway

This week,  MarViva and Mission Blue are launching a film expedition with Dr. Sylvia Earle to highlight our Central American Dome Hope Spot.  Partners supporting the expedition are LightHawk, The Baum Foundation, Bula Bula and National Geographic. The ecological and commercial value of the Dome’s resources will be documented to raise awareness and support for the protection of its species and habitats. “The term dome refers to an oceanographic feature that results from cold, deep ocean water rising near the surface,” says Lance Morgan of The Marine Conservation Institute. “The water itself doesn’t dome, but a cold water band shaped like a dome comes up from the bottom. As this nutrient-rich water enters depths where sunlight can penetrate it unleashes enormous plankton blooms, fueling the entire ecosystem. …
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Stakeholders Gather in Panama to Discuss Protections for the Central American Dome

By Lance Morgan, Marine Conservation Institute for Mission Blue Originally published at National Geographic Ocean Watch Last week an alliance of conservation organizations took a big step forward towards protecting the Central American Dome. Also referred to as the Costa Rica Dome, this highly productive region of the eastern tropical Pacific is home to abundant marine life including critically endangered leatherback sea turtles and blue whales. The term Dome refers to an oceanographic feature that results from cold, deep ocean water rising near the surface. The water itself doesn’t dome, but a cold water band shaped like a dome comes up from the bottom. As this nutrient rich water enters depths where sunlight can penetrate it unleashes enormous plankton blooms, fueling the entire ecosystem. …
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