Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

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STRI special events,
August 2023

August 31, 2023

Bird Friendly Coffee, Book Fair 2023, Congratulations to David Roubik, Golden Frog Festival 2023, Plankton Workshop and more.

Bird Friendly coffee and cacao workshop at STRI

On Thursday, August 24th, at the Earl S. Tupper exhibit hall, STRI’s Bird Friendly Program offered a workshop to members of the STRI community, during which program manager Melissa Mazurkewicz spoke about bird-friendly coffee farming in the region, and welcomed the team of Nomé Chocolate, a local artisanal chocolatery, to show how cacao is harvested in Panama and how chocolate is made. Participants learned about the Bird Friendly Program, which promotes tropical organic agriculture and biodiversity conservation through a certification granted to coffee and cacao farms that provide high quality habitats to birds and other wildlife, by conserving native shade trees and forest patches. The Bird Friendly Program is part of the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) and STRI, and part of the Resilience Initiative.

Credit: Jorge Aleman, STRI.

Congratulations to David Roubik

During the XVIII Central American and Caribbean Congress of Beekeeping Integration and New Practices, Roubik was invited as emeritus lecturer where he received a special recognition for his 44 years of contribution to the development of beekeeping in Panama. The event was organized by the National Association of United Beekeepers of Panama (ANAPUP) and the Central American and Caribbean Federation of Beekeeping (FEDECCAPI), at the headquarters of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino) in Amador, with the support of the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA), with the participation of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), the Agricultural Insurance Institute (ISA), the Institute for Agricultural Development and Research (IDIAP), INDICASAT and representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.

Photos courtesy of Enrique Moreno, STRI.

Visit of the U.S. Embassy

On August 12, the Smithsonian Research Station in Bocas del Toro received a delegation including the security team of U.S. Ambassador Maricarmen Aponte. Plinio Gondola, scientific coordinator of the station received her with Adriana Rebolledo, Carolina Cesar, Ricardo Cossio and Teague O'Mara, scientists working at the station. The visit began with a tour of the laboratories where they were shown some of the research being done, as well as a boat ride around the bay to see the mangroves.

Open House celebrating the 2023 Golden Frog Festival

Guides from Punta Culebra, along with staff from the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project (PARC), researchers, fellows and interns collaborated to assist school groups from public and private schools. Students and teachers had the opportunity to observe the endangered frog species that the project is trying to save, including the golden frog, Atelopus zeteki, one of Panama's natural treasures. They also met scientists, learned about their research on animal behavior, reproduction, feeding, climate change, and other topics.

STRI at the 2023 International Book Fair

The Smithsonian participated in the 2023 International Book Fair on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13 in collaboration with other scientific institutions in partnership with Fundación Ciencia en Panamá. The activities shared with the public were Q?rioso Detectives, based on the research carried out on Barro Colorado Island. The guides also conducted games with the participation of adults and children who enjoyed the collections, in addition to a brief reading shared with the public by the Q?rioso Program coordinator, Andreina Ríos of the book Martina and the Bridge of Time, about a young comic book heroine that travels through Panama’s deep history.

Invite: Plankton Workshop

Interested in learning about innovative methods and techniques for studying plankton?

The Smithsonian invites you to participate in the Techniques of Plankton Monitoring Workshop from October 17 to October 20, 2023. This workshop is aimed at students in search of a thesis topic or in the process of a thesis, personnel from governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Venue: Naos Laboratories, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Limited Seating. The workshop and meals will be free of charge for selected applicants. Transportation and lodging expenses will not be covered.

Send your application to

Deadline for applications: Saturday, September 30, 2023.

Welcome Rowan and Laura

STRI welcomes Rowan McGinley from Australia, he is at the beginning of a 5-year postdoc, jointly funded by the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and by STRI. In this picture, he’s accompanied by his partner, Laura Segura from Costa Rica who recently completed a PhD on pseudoscorpions. She will be teaching the Gigante course this fall.

STRI at the Isaac Rabin School

Nair Cabezón, research technician in the laboratory of staff scientist Rachel Page in Gamboa, presented a talk about science and the importance of bats in Barro Colorado Island to young students of different ages, during the student science fair at the Isaac Rabin School celebrating their science week, in which the theme was based on the celebration of 100 years of research at the Island. We would like to thank Ms. Jaqueline Joseph from the Isaac Rabin School for her invitation to this event and for giving us the opportunity to share the knowledge generated at STRI.

Breaking Barriers

Observing Women's Equity Day, STRI’s personnel was invited to the talk "Breaking Barriers, Empowering Change: Women's Journey Towards Equality" aimed to promote gender equality across all societal realms, to establish a safe space for dialogue regarding gender equality, identify persistent challenges, and explore strategies for continued improvement. STRI employees shared their perspectives on how we can collaboratively work to construct a more equitable and just environment for women.

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