Life in Colombia’s Pacific Waters

Latest update February 1, 2019 Started on September 1, 2018
sea

People often believe that there is nothing to explore or that we have seen everything, but at sea, including in the marine protected areas of Colombia, there is still much to be known! Using new and sophisticated technologies - such as ROVs - we will reach beyond the limits explored up to now to expand our knowledge about the biodiversity and marine ecosystems in our MPAs. Join us in our experience!

September 1, 2018
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Preparation

During a cloudy morning in the city of Cali-Colombia, the first ROV tests were made. In these tests, we had the opportunity to test the recording options, the use of flashlights and the management of the controls to direct the ROV vertically and horizontally, as well as to test its speed in its three levels, which, by the way, is amazing! And the reaction time of the ROV before collisions is incredibly fast!


Do not despair! One more test and we will be ready to start exploring the wonders of the existing biodiversity in the two protected marine areas of the Colombian Pacific. We are eager to immerse and share with you the wonders that we will find in our Pacific Ocean, and encourage communities to protect our biodiversity.

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The team of marine protected areas of WCS-Colombia has received the Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) donated by Open Explorer and National Geographic! Thanks! Using it we will explore the seabed of two marine protected areas in the Colombian Pacific: the Regional Integrated Management District "Encanto de los Manglares del Bajo Baudó "and the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary. The ROV will allow us to record videos with its integrated camera, even in areas with little light where the lanterns will facilitate visibility at sea. The cables of 25 and 100 meters and the receiver of information through WIFI, will allow us to observe in real time the underwater wonders that the ROV is registering. Even, GoPro cameras can be adapted to complement the observations. In addition to the ROV, accessories such as the Android controller and the SAMSUNG Tablet that we will use as a remote control, will allow us to live a great experience in the marine protected areas. Stay tuned, because soon we will be sharing with you videos of the tests with the ROV in controlled environments to learn how to maneuver it, before submerging it in the Pacific Ocean.

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Initial exploration to the marine protected area (MPA) Bajo Baudó, Colombian Pacific Coast


We felt the ocean and the wind while the oars transported us through the Regional District of Integrated Management "Encanto de los Manglares del Bajo Baudó” (“Charm of the Mangroves of Bajo Baudó") to explore the different marine-coastal ecosystems and learn about their biodiversity. We enter the estuaries surrounded by large areas of mangroves and in the coastal waters to explore them before submerging ourselves with the Underwater ROV next month. This will allow us together with the communities, to know the different ecosystems and discover all the natural beauty of this area; we will be able to find areas of congregation of snappers, groupers, shrimps, sharks and rays that are part of the conservation targets of this MPA, even with coral reefs and other natural wonders. Thus, we seek to develop a comprehensive strategy of sustainable management, environmental protection and awareness to communities about the beauty they have in their marine territories and the importance of conserving them.

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Expedition Background

We are working with Colombia’s environmental authorities, local communities and scientifics, to create and update the management plans for two Marine Protected Areas: Bajo Baudo and the extended Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. We will be conducting surveys of the marine life of these areas and sharing what we find out. We’re going to go deep! We’re looking in places that are deeper than divers can easily go. And we’ll see what is interesting: Are there invasive species? Can we see some of the species that we usually only witness near the surface, like sharks and sea turtles? Are there new species to find? All this information will help to shape how the areas can be researched and managed into the future.

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Wow your projects sounds amazing! And it is great that you are receiving an ROV. We are also working in Colombia marine environments. We are professors at Uniandes and our focus is taking the research and creating curriculum to provide opportunities for all students to learn. I would love to hear more about how you will use your footage from the ROV. Any ideas to use in schools?

Nice job! I am working in México in the Gulf of California. Our project looks for integrating community on coral reefs monitoring and conservation. We would like to explore mesophotic reefs here and share the information with people that could get involve in our initiative.


Thanks for working with local people!! I am Colombian and feel very happy to know that we are bringing science to people!!

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