Collection Data

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Cocos Island 1994

Section Responsible for Processing



Cocos Island, an isolated volcanic outcropping located approximately 550 km off the western coast of Costa Rica and a unit of the Costa Rican National Marine Parks (and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), was the subject of a week-long survey of the marine macroinvertebrate animals. Scientists from the United States and Costa Rica, led by Dr. Joel W. Martin of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, collaborated to survey a variety of marine habitats, including mudflats, coral reefs, coral rubble, and intertidal rock zones. Many of the species collected represent new records for Cocos Island, and some represent undescribed species never previously seen. Species diversity was documented using color photography, and the resulting specimens were divided between US and Costa Rican research institutions for future research.


Cocos Island is a national park of Costa Rica, although they don't have adequate resources to protect it. This expedition targeted decapod crustaceans and echinoderms. The expedition was funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society to Joel Martin in the amount of $4,990. The grant number was CRE #5083-93 (CRE stands for Committee for Research and Exploration). Scientists on the expedition included Drs. Joel W. Martin (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; expedition leader and grant PI), Gordon Hendler (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; expert on ophiuroid echinoderms), Nicholas Gotelli (University of Vermont; expert in marine ecology), Darryl Felder (University of Louisiana at Lafayette; expert on decapod Crustacea), Todd Zimmerman (Long Island University, New York), Lisa Torres (California State University Los Angeles; expert on ostracod crustaceans), Chuck Mitchell (Marine Environmental Consulting), and Ana Dittel (University of Delaware).
The expedition consisted of collecting marine specimens by hand, by yabby pump, by scuba diving, by limited use of traps, and by dip net. Dive and collecting sites numbered more than 100, including the offshore undersea mountain, Calypso. Most of the work was done in relatively shallow water (intertidal down to 20 meters). The work resulted in the collection of thousands of marine invertebrates, primarily decapod crustaceans and ophiuroid echinoderms, as these were the two main groups highlighted in our collecting permits and for which we had on-board expertise. Many of the species proved to be new to science. Specimens were returned to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and to the Zoological Museum at the University of Costa Rica, where they continue to support and fuel biodiversity research on Cocos Island and the eastern Pacific in general.

Collection Location and Dates

Cocos Island, Eastern Pacific Ocean, February 1994.

Taxonomic Contents

Decapod crustaceans including Brachyura, Caridea, Anomura as well as unsorted invertebrates.


See attached "Final Report" to NGS

Description of Collection

Wet preserved specimens housed in the LACM Invertebrate collection room.

Collection Inventory

ca. 134 lots of decapod crustaceans comprised of Anomura, Caridea, and Brachyura; 41 lots of unsorted invertebrates

Collection Assets

Date View or Retrieve File Information
10/15/2014 Retrieve [102.4 kB] Cocos Island Final Report

Curatorial Status (Click to view)