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Punta
Culebra

Nature Center

8.91°, -79.52°

A rocky intertidal zone and sandy beach
at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

Seminars

Currently, we have no upcoming seminars. For more information click here.

With a crab-filled sandy beach and a hilltop forest full of birds, sloths and iguanas, our principal outreach center showcases many of the tropical ecosystems we study. Visitors explore touch tanks teeming with marine organisms, catch glimpse of endangered amphibians rescued from a fatal disease, and learn about STRI research directly from our scientists. Visited by some 100,000 people every year — most of whom are Panamanian school students — Punta Culebra is often the first unforgettable experience for future scientists. Adjacent to our Naos Marine Laboratories, Punta Culebra’s intertidal zone is used for scientific research.

Research

With huge differences between high and low tides on the Pacific, Culebra’s rocky shore and sandy beach are ideal locations to study how intertidal life forms — crabs, snails, fishes and barnacles — have adapted extreme environmental conditions. The beach is famous for its hosts of fiddler crabs, which have been a source of groundbreaking studies on animal behavior and evolution for decades.

People

Punta Culebra Nature Center has highly skilled staff of scientific themed events for the public staff.

Mark Torchin

Mark Torchin

Staff Scientist and Scientific Advisor
TorchinM@si.edu

Jimena Pitty

Jimena Pitty

Javier Jara

Javier Jara

Site/Facilities Manager
JaraJ@si.edu

 

Rebecca Rissanen

Rebecca Rissanen

Office Administrator
RissanenJ@si.edu

 

Resources

Punta Culebra provides access to rocky shore and beach habitats that been protected for decades. The sand beach has healthy populations of crabs, isopods, amphipods, intertidal beetles, worms, clams and diatoms. These invertebrate populations attract shorebirds, including migrants that visit during the northern winter. The rocks are rich with encrusting algae, snails, limpets, chitons, barnacles, and crabs. The tide pools are havens for a diversity of fish, sea slugs, echinoderms and marine worms.

Beyond its natural ecosystems, Punta Culebra does not have research-related resources. Scientists who work at Culebra use are typically based out of the Naos Marine Laboratories, which are just a short walk from the center.

Maps & Directions

Punta Culebra is approximately 3.5 km from the entrance to the Amador Causeway and 15 minutes (depending on traffic) from the heart of Panama City. Taxis are easily available and bicycles can be rented at the entrance to the causeway. Panama's Metrobus also offers service along the causeway.

Island and facilities

Island and facilities

Directional map

Directional map

Contact us

Public

For all inquiries please call reception

Contact

+507 212.8793

Visiting Scientists

For information about working in the intertidal zone

Javier Jara

Assistant Scientific Coordinator
+507 212.8711
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