Fieldwork in the Bocas del Toro Region, Caribbean Panama


The Bocas del Toro province, Republic of Panama, hosts a complex of diverse habitats, from coral and sponge reefs, to seagrass meadows and mangrove cays that yield a species-rich marine flora and fauna. Recent investigations have uncovered a biota, although similar to Caribbean Islands, that may be more species-rich than other, better-studied areas. Based on our lab's preliminary recent collecting efforts, done in collaboration with Brian Wysor, Wilson Freshwater, and James Norris, we estimate macroalgal species richness for Bocas del Toro region to be very high. The high diversity is not surprising given the short history of marine botanical investigations in the region.  Our initial studies of the region’s intertidal and subtidal algae have resulted in published new species, many new distribution records for Panama, numerous tentative new species, and revealed that much of the marine floristic diversity for Caribbean Panama is represented by species throughout this unique region.


Our video clips below and to the right show some of the typical subtidal environments in the Bocas area.

dept. biology, university of louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette LA 70504-3601;  tel: 337/482-1291 & 482-5057