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Smithsonian scientists discover new marine species in eastern Pacific

to the coast of Panama is mind blowing!" said Darryl Felder from the University of Louisiana. Felder will use samples collected on this expedition as part of the crustacean Tree of Life, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, which aims to determine the relationships among all families of crabs and shrimps. Even soft corals, a relatively well-studied group, yielded 15 new species over 3 years in a complimentary project organized by STRI Staff Scientist Hector Guzman.

The scientists hope their data will be useful for ANAM (Panama's environmental agency) and to STRI's Juan Mate, who leads the effort to develop an innovative management plan for Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

What species live here? How much of this biota remains unknown to science? What are the relationships to other world regions? The results of this collection trip will be published in the scientific literature during the next several years, as taxonomists classify each organism.

This adventure is far from over. The STRI team is ideally positioned to thoroughly sample the entire fauna, not just the corals and fishes. Since most studies of the Eastern Pacific date back 100 years, it is vital to obtain current data from the area.


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Source:Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


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