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OEB51 Panama Field Trip 2010

airport kids   airportprof
While we wait in the airport for our flight to Panama City, some people play...   ...and some people work.
station1   station2
The Bocas del Toro marine station: a view of the ramp up to the main station and the dive locker in the background.   Teaching assistants Frederike Alwes and Sebastian Velez outside the station laboratories.
seatables   divelocker
These are the sea tables, large tanks that recieve running sea water so that we can house the animals we collect from the ocean.   A view of the dive locker, where we store our lifejackets, wetsuits, and other gear.
bato   boatce
Heading out on a collection trip.   Cassandra waves hello from the collection boat.
beach   stars
Our first collection site is known as "sea star beach"...   ...because of all the sea stars that live there. The most common species is Oreaster reticulatus; you can see two of them in this picture.
student   studen2
The students jump right into the water to begin collecting.   Even shallow waters harbour a huge diversity of marine life.
pajaros   pajaros
If the weather is calm, we can go to this rocky collection site, called Isla de los Pájaros.   Students exploring the shores of Isla de los Pájaros.
gorgonian   sudenr3
A studnent examines this Gorgonia sp. sea fan.   Wearing a weight belt helps you stay deep in the water long enough to collect evasive samples.
sea grass   fan worm
A "field" of sea grass, corals, and sponges.   iThis fan worm loves among the yellow sponges (likely Aplysina fulva), and is neighbours with a sea anemone (top left corner).
gonzalo   CE
Professor Gonzalo Giribet makes sure we document all of our findings and adventures.   Professor Cassandra Extavour spots a sea cucumber and heads down to get it.
vase   vase2
Sponge diversity is enormous in Bocas - here we see a large vase sponge...   ...and another.
diadema   pencil
The sea urchin Diadema antillarum, often found in groups, has long sharp spines.   In contrast, the sea urchin Eucaridis tribuloides, known as the pencil urchin, has small numbers of short chunky spines.
If you are lucky you can find these flamingo tongue snails (Cyphoma gibbosum) perched on corals or sponges.   These bearded fire worms (Hermodice carunculata) are beautiful, but handle with care - the tufts of white setae contain a neurotoxin that will make your skin burn!
brain   anemone
A group of brain Diploria sp. corals.   The "knobby" sea anemone Ragactis lucida.
shrimp   flame
Cleaner shrimp often live among the polyps of giant sea anemones, which offer it protection.   The flame scallops(Lima scabra) living among the corals (likely Montastraea sp.).
Although this is an invertebrate zoology class (note the broan Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata), we can't help seeing the occasional vertebrate...   ...or donzens of vertebrates!
mollusc   mollusc
Back in the lab, we can get a closer look at our specimens. This is a headshield sea slug (Micromela undata).   Another gastropod molluscs, possibly from the family Aplustridae.
nudibranch   nudi2
The "lettuce sea slug" Elysia crispata.   The common name for this sea slug (Chromodoris kempfi) is the purple-crowned sea goddess!
nudib   mass
Yet another "sea goddess" sea slug - this one is the red-tipped sea goddess (Glossodoris sedna).   Many molluscs deposit their eggs inside of elaborate egg casings - this is one example. The small orange things are the developing embryos.
eggmass   shrimpbros
This gastropod larva moves through the water via ciliary movement - you can see the band of cilia at the bottom.   Gravid crustaceans like this one are a great opportunity for embryologists! The embryos are the small yellow balls on the ventral side.
flatworm   acoel
A gold-spotted flatworm (likely Thysanozoon nigropapillosum).   It might superficially look like a flatworm, but this is actually a nudibranch: the leather-backed doris Platydoris angustipes.
bros   urchinbros
We perform in vitro fertilization in the lab to examine embryonic development of several marine invertebrates. This is a fertilized egg from an ascidian....   ...and thsese are embryos ranging from the eight-cell stage through to blastula stages of a sea urchin.
In addition to our marine collections, we can also find terrestrial invertebrates like this horned beetle...   ...or this katydid (likely Viadana sp.).
sloth   lizard
Some vertebrates also catch our eye from time to time, like this sloth...   ...or this lizard, which felt very comfortable with the students!


Thanks to Gonzalo Giribet for most of these pictures.

See more pictures of the Bocas del Toro OEB51 field trips...