Abstract

History of marine research at Cocos Island, Costa Rica. The marine organisms and environments of Isla del Coco (Cocos Island), Pacific Costa Rica, were described by explorers in the late 17th to 19th centuries. Scientific studies of the island initiated in late 19th century, during the Albatross Expeditions. The first expedition by Costa Rican scientists was in 1898. Between the 1920’s and 1940’s, many expeditions visited the island and many papers were published, including descriptions of new species and reports on species ocurrence. There were other minor expeditions until the 1970’s when there was a renewed interest on the island. Since then many scientists have collected in the island, and papers are still being published. Starting in the late 1980´s and especially in the last several years, scientists from the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR; Marine Sciences and Limnology Research Center) of the Universidad de Costa Rica started visiting the island. Around 1100 species of marine organisms have been reported from Isla del Coco. Of a bibliographic database of 300 scientific publications on marine organisms, ecosystems, behavior and processes, around 70% of the papers are on taxonomy, mainly on mollusks, crustaceans and fishes. New collections are being done, and new groups of organisms, ecosystems and events not studied before are being investigated. This synopsis on the history of marine research points to gaps in our knowledge of the marine organisms, environments and processes at Isla del Coco. Rev. Biol. Trop. 56 (Suppl. 2): 1-18. Epub 2008 August 29.
Keywords: Isla del Coco, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, history, marine research, eastern Pacific