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Project: Documenting Diversity in the Panama Canal

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Project title

Documenting Diversity in the Panama Canal

Mentor name

Rachel Collin,


Naos Lab

Project summary and objectives

The intern will be working on a project to document the diversity of aquatic organisms in the Panama Canal. We are currently in the process of broadly surveying the Gatun and Miraflores Lakes to determine what species of organisms are in the lake.  The intern will assist in this work by choosing one group of zooplankton and becoming an expert in that group.  They will sort this group from bulk samples that they assist in collecting. They will then using light microscopy and the Zooscan to determine how many different kinds of animals there are in this group and learn how to photograph the animals. They will then learn how to use existing taxonomic keys and other literature to identify the species.  Once photo-documented and identified representative individuals from each species will be prepared for DNA sequencing.  The groups to be studies include copepods, cladocerans, ostracods, rotifers, and insect larvae.  As part of this work, the intern will prepare information to add to the invertebrate database of Panama, and will work with others on the team to prepare the results for publication.

Mentorship goals

Mentor Goals and Intern benefits:

Gain expertise identifying aquatic invertebrates

Gain experience using a microscope, using image analysis and preparing material for SEM analysis

Gain experience writing about scientific results.

The intern will work ~40 hours per week collecting, sorting and identifying plankton using various methods.

List of suggested readings


Contact information

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