Diversity, Biogeography and Conservation of Endemic Plants on a Tropical Island: Isla del Coco, Costa Rica

EPA Grant Number: U915798
Title: Diversity, Biogeography and Conservation of Endemic Plants on a Tropical Island: Isla del Coco, Costa Rica
Investigators: Trusty, Jennifer L.
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: August 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $78,906
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Biology/Life Sciences , Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Life Sciences


The objective of this research is to identify the presence, insular habitat range, and abundance of the 29 endemic species on Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. The data will be used to: (1) map the distribution of the endemic flora; (2) assess conservation status and prioritize genetic and ex situ research; (3) assist in the molecular and morphological investigation of systematic and biogeographic relationships of these taxa; and (4) investigate the potential floristic link between Isla del Coco and its sister archipelago, the Galapagos Islands.


The initial exploration, collection, and geographic information system (GIS) mapping of Isla del Cocos plant species will form the basis of subsequent research. Ecological data will be collected to assess the habitat range and restriction of endemic species, their demography and population dynamics, and the impact of exotic herbivores. In addition, plant collections will be used for molecular and morphological investigation of the biogeographic affinities of the flora, the systematic relationships of species in the island, and the genetic variability of rare species. This research would provide park officials and conservation agencies the information necessary to make future land management decisions.

Expected Results:

Management of Isla del Coco terrestrial habitats will be aided by GIS habitat and endemic species mapping, while knowledge of the relationship of these endemic species to each other and other continental and insular biotas offers insight into the history of adaptation and speciation of these unique insular plants.

Supplemental Keywords:

Isla del Coco, Costa Rica, island, endemic plant species, plant conservation, biogeography, plant systematics,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Geochemistry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology, International, Ecological Indicators, bioassessment, plant conservation, biogeochemical indicators, diversity, ecosystem assessment, conservation, endangered plant species, ecological assessment, ecosystem management, ecosystem indicators, Costa Rica, endemic species, GIS, conservation biology, ecosystem impacts, ecological research, land use, land management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final