On March 28, 2023, the workshop to present results of the project called “Scientific studies of the marine-coastal habitats of 3 ACOPAC Protected Areas (Manuel Antonio National Park, Isla San Lucas National Park, National Wildlife Refuge Playa Hermosa-Punta Mala)” was held. With the presence of the administrators and officials of the three protected areas, the professional team of RPT delivered the main results.

This project, financed by the Costa Rica Forever Association (ACRXS), had the purpose of generating baseline scientific information on the state of conservation of the Focal Element of Management “Rocky Reefs” of the PNMA, PNISL and the RNVSPHPM, based on the application of the protocol for Marine Ecological Monitoring of Rocky Reefs and that allows the promotion of management actions that contribute to the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

Rocky ecosystems are highly dynamic habitats, where communities and their organisms are exposed to tides, currents, waves, and even more so in the context of climate change and changing oceanographic conditions. These zones are characterized by the high energy released by waves and tidal changes that affect the distribution of the organisms that live there. Wave action and materials carried by the water, such as sand, rocks, and driftwood, affect the density of invertebrates and algae, depending on whether that side of the rock is protected or exposed to the waves. These subtidal communities are represented by various groups of organisms at different levels of the trophic web that assemble to form a complex network of interactions.

These ecosystems represent a clear opportunity for research and monitoring with a view to obtain quantifiable information that allows the construction of indicators that signal trends in the face of a changing climate scenario, and that constitutes the information base for management decision-making. In this sense, this initiative constituted an important contribution to the generation of skills and competencies in ACOPAC officials, both in terms of diving in safe conditions and the application of the protocol for monitoring rocky reefs (PRONAMEC) in the field – said Felipe Thomas, Marine biologist of RPT.