"In 2013, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue declared The Costa Rica Dome a “Hope Spot,” designating it as a special area critical to the health of the ocean. Some Hope Spots are protected, while others, such as the Costa Rica Dome, still need to be safeguarded with laws ensuring their sustainable use.
“The term dome refers to an oceanographic feature that results from cold, deep ocean water rising near the surface,” says Lance Morgan of The Marine Conservation Institute.
He continues, “The water itself doesn’t dome, but a cold water band shaped like a dome comes up from the bottom. As this nutrient-rich water enters depths where sunlight can penetrate it unleashes enormous plankton blooms, fueling the entire ecosystem. In turn this supports a food web of krill, pelagic fishes and squids, predatory tunas, seabirds, and marine mammals. This highly productive region of the eastern tropical Pacific is home to abundant marine life, including critically endangered leatherback sea turtles and blue whales.”
This Costa Rica Dome Expedition explored and documented the migration route of the critically endangered leatherback turtle, which leaves the protection of the shore along the Pacific coastline of Central America to feed on the bounty that exists in this high seas Hope Spot.
Mission Blue’s partner, MarViva works tirelessly with governments in the region to educate leaders about the connections between the coastal areas and the open ocean, and to promote sustainable management solutions that are vital for the conservation of leatherbacks and other species. MarViva’s vision is for a “biodiverse and healthy Eastern Tropical Pacific that facilitates the wellbeing of present and future generations.”"
The Costa Rica Dome is a critical area for marine biodiversity in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. It is located west of Central America and can grow to between 300 and 1,000 kilometers wide. The average position of the core Dome is located near 9 ° North and 90 ° West, in areas beyond national jurisdictions. Its diameter and position varies from year to year and over a typical annual cycle (Fiedler, 2002).
This oceanographic phenomenon resulting from the action of winds and ocean currents that produces the vertical displacement of deep, cold and rich in nutrients that come to the surface, creating a zone of upwelling waters. This upwelling mobilizes a huge mass of water (about 3.5 million m3 / s)1 to the surface.
This mass of cold water is located near the 15 meters of the surface, while around the DTCR is much more depth in February . As he approached the surface, the nutrients in the mass of sunlight combined with cold water, produce large algae growth.
Thus the increased presence of algae exist, first rung of the food chain, there is more food available for zooplankton, causing an explosion in their populations. This in turn will manifest in every link in the food chain, creating an oasis of resources in the sea.
The Costa Rica Dome is so named because of the characteristic dome shape that generates the thermocline as it approaches the surface (Figure 1). By showing this way and settle its average core against the waters of Costa Rica, this phenomenon was baptized by Cromwell (1958) as the Costa Rica Dome.
Figure 1. Average annual southern sections of temperature through the Dome Thermal Costa Rica in March .