USGS scientist travels to Pacific Panama to complete study on the impacts of climatic and oceanographic variability on coral reefs

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Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth will travel to Pacific Panama from February 26th–March 15th to collect data on the growth, erosion, and oceanography of coral reefs in Pacific Panama.

Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth will travel to Pacific Panama from February 26th–March 15th to collect data on the growth, erosion, and oceanography of coral reefs in Pacific Panama. On this trip, Toth and her collaborators from Florida Institute of Technology, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and Northeastern University will collect final measurements from a network of oceanographic and ecological monitoring stations that have been surveyed bi-annually since the Spring of 2016 as part of a NSF-funded project. Toth will visit the Gulf of Chiriqui, a region that experienced severe coral bleaching and mortality in response to the 2016 El Niño event, and the Gulf of Panama, which did not experience coral bleaching because the waters were cooled by seasonal upwelling. While in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Toth will also teach a graduate-level field course in coral-reef ecology for Northeastern University's Three Seas program that will use her research to provide students hand-on training in marine-science research. Panamanian reefs are especially sensitive to environmental disturbances and may, like "canaries in a coal mine," help scientists predict the future of coral-reef ecosystems on a global scale.