Cocos Critter Count  

Avi Klapfer and Yosy Neeman first sailed the Undersea Hunter to Cocos Island in 1990. They set high standards for one of the only two live-aboard dive vessels to service the remote island. Only a handful of guards stood watch over the park and very few of these officials were SCUBA certified. The scientists who visited the island stayed for only short periods of time. Their research was usually focused on collecting specimens which were preserved and transported back to laboratories where the flora and fauna were examined and catalogued.

Avi recognized that none of the visiting scientists had the access or funds to set up a long term study that would record key Cocos marine species over time. So he set up his own study. Armed with passion for the island's resident species and a commitment to learn more about the ebb and flow of these remote populations, Avi developed a "count sheet" over eleven years ago. Since then, the crew aboard the Undersea Hunter collected over 11,000 sheets of data. Each sheet recorded environmental conditions such as temperature and numbers of key marine species counted on a particular dive.

The crew aboard the Undersea Hunter and now the Sea Hunter continue to collect information on a regular basis. Until recently, all this valuable information continued to be accumulated but was virtually unused. The fact that so many dives had been recorded gave this body of data strong statistical credibility

Last year, Avi turned his thousands of pages of data over to a scientist interested in examining the relationship between Cocos species and temperature. Under his supervision, all the data was entered into a computer database. The findings of this comparison are currently "In Press"

At the Imaging Foundation, we thought it would be interesting to juxtapose different aspects of this data. Comparing hammerhead to marble ray populations during the same time period might show a predator/prey correlation. Examining different species counts at different depths would also be intriguing.

Below, please look at our preliminary graphs. During our Imaging Foundation Expedition, we did additional species counts and then crunched this data with the pre-existing information. We generated the graphs seen below. We hope this information is helpful for your research, or even for deciding the best time of year to visit Cocos Island!


Cocos Annual Population

Hammerheads vs Temperature

Jacks Population

Annual Marine Life Populations

Rays Population

Various Species by Temperature

Detailed Hammerhead Population vs Water Temp.

Various Species by Month



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