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Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

Research in Panama!

Welcome to our Panama Travel Blog. A joint trip between the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and St. Norbert’s College started last year.  Each year 10-16 students and faculty travel to Panama to conduct a number of research projects in cooperation with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Station. The research focusses on long term biological monitoring techniques.  Each year data is collected on a suite of ecologically important species.  As this data accumulates over the years it may provide an important measure of change in Panamanian ecosystems. 

For example, in collaboration with Maurice Thomas at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, we are recording the sounds that bats make as they forage for food. These ultra-high frequency calls are used by the bats to echolocate their way through the forests and mangroves on Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro. We are creating a library the echolocation calls of all the species we find and are planning to install a permanent recorder that will record bats throughout the year. We will be able to learn a great deal about the behavior and movements of these bats using this simple technique.

Other data we are collecting are long-term acoustic recordings of forest birds at Gamboa in collaboration with UWGB graduate student Jennifer Goyetteand UWGB faculty Amy Wolf and Robert Howe; underwater glass-bottom boat surveys of marine invertebrates in impacted and pristine areas at Bocas del Toro with UWGB faculty Vicki Medland and Robert Howe; Surveys of spiders in mangroves in collaboration with arachnologists Michael Draney of UWGB and Petra Sierwald at the Field Museum; surveys of soil nematodes in collaboration with Anindo Choudhury faculty at St. Norbert College.