Research Arribadas

Location: Playa del Ostional, Costa Rica |

We are Leon, Joost, Rosalie and Mathilde – 4 students from the TU Delft. We are currently working on a research project in Costa Rica, focused on a specific beach in Costa Rica: Playa del Ostional.

Thousands of sea turtles (Olive Ridley sea turtles) arrive on this beach several times a year to lay their eggs, this phenomenon is called an “arribada”. This beach is very vulnerable and can disappear (erosion) due to the sea level rise and the increase in severe storms in this region due to climate change. This can have major negative consequences for both the sea turtles that nest here and for the local residents. The local inhabitants must be protected against the rising sea level and the increase in severe storms, so that they can continue to live safely in this region.

As part of a PhD research by Jakob Christiaanse, our project will map the possible influence of different beach characteristics and other factors on the nesting behavior of these sea turtles.

If the sea turtles no longer come to this beach to nest, for example due to a possible retreat of the beach inland and therefore a lack of space for nesting, a large part of the income for the local population will disappear. Furthermore, the sea turtles that come here to nest are an endangered species and their numbers are decreasing every year. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that the sea turtles can continue to nest here during the “arribadas”. Appropriate measures will need to be designed to protect this sea turtle nesting area and to protect local residents from sea level rise and climate change. Our project contributes to this.

During our research we will spend 2 weeks in San José, the capital of Costa Rica. Then 2 weeks on Playa del Ostional, for the fieldwork of the research, and then back in San José for the last few weeks to process the results.

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