New resource documents Caribbean marine life of Bocas del Toro
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute release
December 27, 2005
Coral reefs, coastal rainforest, land-grab, industrial bananas and organic cacao, mangroves, tourist boom, eclectic cultural mix: A Caribbean Journal of Science special issue presents the first scientific overview of the marine environment in Bocas del Toro Province near Panama's border with Costa Rica. With color photographic guide to marine invertebrates--the volume, edited by Dr. Rachel Collin, director STRI's research station in Bocas--debuts new species and new records for Panama and provides an essential reference for researchers, tourists and conservationists throughout the region.
Collin encourages interested researchers to contact STRI: "I hope that scientists and students will find the organisms they work with in our online database and decide to visit the station. We already have documented more than 3000 species."
A new, unidentified species of marine worm. Photo by John Norenburg.
In 2003 STRI inaugurated a new, award-winning, low-impact laboratory in Bocas (see links). In addition to providing a state-of-the-art seawater system that makes it possible to conduct experiments requiring living marine organisms, the station is now base camp for surveys of nearby reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves, as part of CARICOMP, a Caribbean-wide monitoring program that STRI has participated in since 1999.
Top: Sponge Samples by Leslie Harris
Bottom: Christina Diaz at the microscope by Leslie Harris
STRI Director, Dr. Ira Rubinoff, placed conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems in Bocas high on STRI's priority list for 2006: "It is critical that homeowners, divers, retirees, investors, sports fishermen, tourists--all of the different interests in Bocas del Toro--realize that they depend upon and benefit from the sustainable management of natural beauty and biodiversity."
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), a unit of the Smithsonian Institution, with headquarters in Panama City, Panama, was established to further our understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, to train students to conduct research in the tropics and to promote conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems.
Ref: Caribbean Journal of Science. Volume 41, Number 3, October, 2005
- Bocas marine biodiversity data base
- STRI Environmental Science Program (environmental monitoring)
- Laboratory building
- Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP)
- Panama Paleontology Project
- Yale-UCSD Coral Bleaching Project
New online photographic guide to coral reef fish larvae unlocks secrets of young fish December 13, 2005
Coralreeffish.com, a coral reef fish research site, today announced the availability of a photographic web-guide to the late-stage larvae of coral reef fishes. The guide is aimed at both assisting researchers in identifying the myriad fish larvae that are caught in reef surveys and providing an overview of this intriguing, and often invisible, world to students and interested laymen.
This is a modified news release from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.