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STRI Panama


Project: Sorting the smooth from the grooved: Documenting taxonomic and functional diversity of tropical marine invertebrates

Project title

Sorting the Smooth from the Grooved: Documenting Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of Tropical Marine Invertebrates

Photo credit: Kristine White

Mentor name

Rachel Collin (CollinR@si.edu)


Naos Labs, Panama City

Project summary and objectives

It has been estimated that as much as 90% of tropical marine biodiversity has yet to be described and very little is known about the biology and natural history of many of the species that have been described. Our lab focuses on discovering, documenting, and understanding tropical marine invertebrates. This ranges from surveying diversity in different habitats or at different sites along a gradient of environmental stressors, to describing the traits that separate cryptic species, to assaying the environmental tolerances of different species. Depending on the level of previous experience and the time available, the intern will either help with one of our core projects or design their own small independent project.

Mentorship goals

Gain expertise documenting biodiversity with field surveys and benthic sampling; Gain experience with basic taxonomic research; Learn how to observe natural history of invertebrate animals; Gain experience planning experiments and writing about scientific results.

Desired Background

Some previous experience in the lab or field is preferred, but not necessary. Candidates with basic laboratory skills and training (especially microscopy or DNA sequencing would be able to start at a higher level, but these skills are not necessary. Ability to work with groups of people from diverse backgrounds is necessary.

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