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    UCR and UNA sail on an expedition to Isla del Coco

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    by ALEJANDRA VARGAS M

    Scientists at the University of Costa Rica and the National University set sail yesterday to Cocos Island aboard the tourist boat Undersea Hunter.

    Prepared with the necessary equipment, 12 scientists from both domestic and foreign institutions will begin to study more about the species, the chemical composition of the ocean and changes or alterations in ocean currents in the area.

    “We are thrilled and grateful. This mission was only achieved through the human and financial effort of the national universities,” said Alvaro Morales, director of the Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology (Cimar) at UCR.

    He added: “Our interest is to go ahead and give continuity to the studies made by national scientists there for over a decade, but this time on our own and under our own rules and directions”

    According to the scientist, they hope to reach the island during the early hours of Wednesday 21 April and immediately begin the studies.

    A dedicated team of experts will monitor coral species and perform up to four dives per day around areas like the island or Manuelita Chatham bay.

    Also a subgroup will be formed to monitor ocean currents and to perform experiments with the plankton.

    Among other things, the mission carries a portable weather station to take radiation and temperature data at different points and update the record. In addition, an expert will examine the tiny organisms known as sea anemones. This is just the first of six scientific missions that will be carried out by nationals in the Cocos Island in the next three years.

    The initiative has the support of each university, with a budget of ¢77 million this year and about 60 ¢ or more for the next two. The next mission will be in July.

    Translation and editing by TCRN Staff

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