The Little Studied Southern Caribbean Region of Costa Rica: Biodiversity, Environmental Status, Protection, and Challenges
The “La Amistad Caribe” region of Costa Rica, comprising all of the watersheds which drain the huge La Amistad World Heritage Site, from the Continental Divide to sea level, has been home to ANAI since our beginnings in the 1970’s. Over the same period, it has also been the site of many studies aimed at understanding its complex marine ecosystems, principally by CIMAR of the University of Costa Rica. Work by ANAI, CIMAR and others in the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments of the La Amistad complex leads to the realization that we are privileged to work in the most biologically “intense” place on earth – in terms of number of species per area. Now, thanks to an initiative by Dr. Jorge Cortes of CIMAR, ANAI and the UCR will be celebrating that biodiversity with a 3 day symposium “The Little Studied Caribbean Region of Costa Rica: Biodiversity, Enviromental Status, Protection and Challenges” to be held at CIMAR on July 23-25. The event, open to the public, will not only celebrate the biodiversity of the La Amistad area, but attempt to address its problems by bringing together, not just biologists, but students, local governments, protected area administrators, representatives of the ecotourism and agricultural sectors, the indigenous peoples, local communities and the general public.
We see this event as fostering our goal of building connections among researchers, conservationists and the people whose livelihoods depend on the maintenance of healthy ecosystems in the La Amistad Caribe region. One small connection we will be celebrating is the formal description of a new species of fish named after us. Astyanax anai was first perceived as something different by the ANAI team, working together with local residents to assess the health of streams in the Gandoca area; formal description was done by Arturo Angulo of the UCR. This new endemic species becomes one more argument toward protecting the integrity of the entire La Amistad Caribe region.
Putting on this Symposium is costly, and involves a large expenditure of time by ANAI staff. To defray costs we are seeking sponsorships, at levels from $250 to $5,000 or more. In addition to advancing understanding and protection of the biodiversity of the La Amistad complex, sponsors will be widely recognized in pre-symposium publicity and at the event itself. Registration for the 3 day event will be handled by the UCR at the rate of $35/person. Until the registration mechanism is fully functional, you can let us know at ANAI and we will reserve your place. This is an opportunity to be part of something historic. Please join us.