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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.

A small concrete block has 2 coral samples glued to it on purple pads. It is anchored to the coral reef.
Photograph of one station at Uva reef in spring 2016 used to evaluate the ecological condition of reefs in Pacific Panama. The rebar stakes in the background mark a permanent quadrat used to monitor reef condition and the corals affixed to the cinderblock in the foreground were used to assess coral growth and mortality. The photo shows significant bleaching of corals at this site in response to the 2015–2016 El Nino event.

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.

 

Read what else is new at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center.

 

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