Tourism and Conservation in Panama

Panama’s wildlife is just stunning – 10’444 different types of plant species, 678 fern species, 1’500 varieties of trees, as well as 255 species of mammals and 972 indigenous bird species. There is a history behind this rich biodiversity, let’s start from the very beginning: Everything started 65 million years ago; the two continents, North…

The Submarine Explorer by Louie Celerier

The submarine “Explorer” is a submersible built by Julius H. Kroehl and Ariel Patterson in Brooklyn, New York for the Pacific Pearl Company in Panama. The keel was laid down in 1863, was completed in 1865 and placed in service in 1866. In 1869, the submarine was abandoned in the Pearl Islands Archipelago, where it…

Tourism, Education and Conservation in Panama: STRI

Panama has to be considered as one of the leading destinations for students interested in tropical biology and rainforest preservation. As a land bridge between the two continents, Panama is a meeting place of over 970 species of birds from North and South America. Its tremendous biodiversity and the accessibility of its tropical forests make…

Slow-moving shallows put the heat on Bocas Coral

From STRI.org Snorkel-perfect coral reefs in the calm, mangrove-fringed waters of the Bocas Del Toro Archipelago are expected to be among the hardest hit by warmer temperatures that lead to coral bleaching and mortality, a new study finds. These shallows in Panama’s Caribbean are characterized by low water flow, allowing water to reach precariously high…

Tropical forests mitigate extreme weather events

From Stri.org Tropical forests reduce peak runoff during storms and release stored water during droughts, according to researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Their results lend credence to a controversial phenomenon known as the sponge effect, which is at the center of a debate about how to minimize flood damage and…

Chemical from sea hares active against Leishmaniasis

From STRI.org Found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas and oceans, Dolabrifera dolabrifera is a species of sea hare, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Aplysiidae. Researchers working at the Smithsonian in Panama discovered that the digestive gland of D. dolabrifera contains a compound active against Leishmania donovani, the parasite primarily responsible for visceral…

Mercenary ants defend agricultural society

From Stri.org Often superior to citizen soldiers, mercenaries have played an important role in human conflicts since ancient times. A research team working at STRI discovered that a species of agriculturalist ants, Sericomyrmex amabilis, hosts a species of better-armed mercenary ants, Megalomyrmex symmetochus, who come to their rescue when their fungal gardens are invaded. “Newly…

Can secondary forests capture carbon faster?

From:  STRI.org There are an estimated five million square kilometers of abandoned farmland and logged forests in the tropics. This area, which is more than half the size of the United States, could become an important carbon sink if reclaimed by forests. Within 25 years a secondary forest can absorb as much as 80 percent…

What is Smart Reforestation™?

By Stri.org Jefferson Hall looks across hills of rust-colored, nutrient-poor soils and sees a major challenge. “In the future, all the good soils are going to go to agriculture to meet the demands of a growing human population,” says Hall, the director of STRI’s 700-hectare Panama Canal Watershed Experiment. “We need to figure out how…

Not always best to be the brightest

One of the greatest puzzles of evolutionary biology is the color variation of the strawberry poison-dart frog on the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Generally a shiny reddish-orange throughout its mainland Central American territory, Dendrobates pumiliocomes in as many as 30 color combinations on the Panamanian Caribbean island chain. Rising seas separated the archipelago from the…