The marine ecosystems of the south Pacific coast of Costa Rica: state of knowledge and management perspectives. A review of the existing scientific literature on marine ecosystems in the south Pacific of Costa Rica is presented. Most of the information generated to date concentrates on the Golfo Dulce area, a tropical fjord and only anoxic basin in the American Pacific coast. Even though there is a considerable amount of information available, there are still many aspects of the marine ecosystems of the region that remain unstudied. Among these, those concerning circulation patterns, mangrove dynamics, biodiversity of soft sediments and deep waters, and the ecology of commercially important species of mollusks, crustaceans and fish, stand out. Special attention should be placed on the study of Golfo Dulce, Caño Island and the Térraba-Sierpe mangrove system, given their biological importance and unique regional character. Coastal management in the region should be based on the best scientific information available integrating biological, social and economic criteria; and seeking the improvement of interinstitutional coordination in order to achieve integrative solutions to the existing threats to marine resources. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 1): 101-145. Epub 2006 Sept. 30.
Keywords: Costa Rica, eastern Pacific, Golfo Dulce, marine ecosystems, tropical fjord, coastal management, Protected areas