Special Events Nov

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Family Day on Barro Colorado Island, SNI Honors Cooke and Sanjur, SENACYT’s plans for Coiba lab, Condolences to Kursar and Jackson families

December 3, 2018

Family Day on Barro Colorado Island, SNI Honors Cooke and Sanjur, SENACYT’s plans for Coiba lab, Condolences to Kursar and Jackson families, art meets science, new Fulbright-National Geographic fellow speaks at Naos, scientists host university students , Congratulations to Daney Ramirez, Corotú cafeteria changes hand, New digital giving campaign, STRI participates in local events

Sanjur and Cook Honored by Panama’s Sistema Nacional de Investigacion (SNI)

Jorge Motta, head of Panama’s National Research System (SNI, Sistema Nacional de Investigación), honored STRI’s staff archaeologist, Richard Cooke and Oris Sanjur, STRI’s associate director for science administration, by renewing their memberships in the organization. The SNI was founded in 2007 by Panama’s National Office of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT) to recognize the importance of individual scientists who increase Panama’s productivity, competitiveness, culture and social wellbeing.

STRI participates in the XXII Congress of the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation

Three interns from Rachel Collin's laboratory participated in the Mesoamerican Congress with two talks and the presentation of a poster. The Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation (SMBC) originated in Honduras in 1996 to encourage communication and the exchange of knowledge between professionals and students on the topics of biology and conservation of natural resources. Representing STRI, from left to right: Isis Ochoa, María Sánchez, Luis Rodríguez, Maribel Pinto.

Behind the Scenes at Naos Labs

Eighteen undergraduate biology students from the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí arrived on Friday, Nov. 16th for a tour of STRI laboratories on Isla Naos, in Panama City. As part of a class led by Biology Department Director, Lic. Boris Sanjur, the students attended presentations by STRI research fellows about current projects. Topics included agricultural land use and water resource conservation, migratory bird diversity, ecological dynamics of coral reefs, and paleontological records of Panama’s natural history. Students were also given special access to biological collections.

Fifty engineering students, led by Professor Luis Visuetti, from the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Extensión Chiriquí, also attended a similar tour on Oct. 18th. With encouragement from their instructors, both groups engaged STRI researchers with thoughtful questions. Several students from UTP described the experience as “very informative” and “super interesting”. In turn, researchers at Naos were pleased to connect with members of the public about local ecology. They hope the visits inspire and motivate the next generation of scientific thinkers.

As part of its education and outreach mission, STRI welcomes academic groups to visit research stations around the country throughout the year. For more information, please visit the outreach page on the STRI website.

--contributed by Katie Griswold, Intern in the O’Dea Lab

Coiba as a living lab

Jorge A. Motta, head of Panama’s National Office of Science and Technology (SENACYT) and President of the Board of Directors of the Coiba AIP Research Station, welcomed collaborators to an event held to further SENACYT’s project to build a research laboratory on Coiba Island. Station director, Dr. Edgardo Díaz Ferguson, explained that he has been recruiting researchers and creating a strategic plan focusing on three goals: research, monitoring and conservation; education, outreach and recreation and logistics. STRI, MarViva and the University of Panama, the first three on a long list of strategic partners, signed agreements to support the development of the station. Eleven of 13 research associates were also named: Dr’s Eric Flores, Pedro Méndez-Carvajal, Carlos Ramos Delgado, Magaly Chial, Carlos Vergara-Chen, Mahabir Gupta, Gerard Moncayo, Humberto Garcés, Luis Alberto Ramírez, Ernesto Brugnoli, as well as Sergio Bermúdez, José Julio Casas and Ángel Vega.

Thomas A. Kursar (1949-2018)

Tom Kursar STRI Research Associate and professor at the University of Utah, will be remembered as a calm and jovial presence, as a valued collaborator and mentor. With Lissy (Phyllis) Coley (also STRI RA and U. Utah professor) he co-founded the Panama International Cooperative Biodiversity Group. ICBG, a program to identify plant compounds active against cancer and tropical diseases, combined their passion for understanding plant defense chemistry with their strong desire to contribute to the strength of the scientific community in Panama and to conserve Panama's forests and marine environments. Tom’s studies of drought in forests across the Isthmus also significantly advanced our understanding of the forces that shape tropical plant communities. For his complete obituary.

Remembering Milton Jackson

On Sunday, Oct. 14th, Milton Jackson Anderson, BCI caretaker passed away.

Funeral services were held at Catedral de Oración in El Tecal, Vacamonte.
Our sincere condolences to his family.

Congratulations Daney Ramirez! Panama Heroine

Almost a third of all pregnancies in Panama (31 percent) are teen pregnancies. Before coming to STRI, Advancement Manager Daney Ramirez directed the Las Claras Center, a Panama City NGO dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and shame for adolescent mothers—many of whom also suffer abuse. The Las Claras Center, named for Clara González de Bering, Panama’s first female lawyer, and associated with La Fundación Voces Vitales, opened its doors in Felipillo in 2015 to 15 to 19-year-old women who have one child or are pregnant and have finished 9th grade. For her role in bringing hope, education and decision-making skills to at-risk mothers, TVN-2 recognized Daney as one of 2018’s Heroes for Panama.


Comic book style enlivens paleo research

STRI paleontologist Aaron O’Dea invited illustrator Ian Cooke Tapia to accompany his expedition to core coral reefs in Coiba National Park. Cooke presented a set of his journals and preliminary sketches at the Naos Friday talk series. In addition to his work with O’Dea on a children’s book illustrating the history of the Isthmus of Panama, he is also working on two other major visual storytelling projects: Coyote Crosses the Continent and An Incomplete Timeline of Isthmian Identities. See his website. http://iancooketapia.com/illustrations/

Fulbright Fellow Passionate about Microalgae

On Friday Nov. 23 at the Naos Laboratory conference room, Jenny Gil, a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow in Rachel Collin’s lab, presented The Invisible Story of Microalgae. During her time at STRI, Jenny will collect samples microalgae from both oceans and from the Panama Canal. She will document her work in Spanish and English by blogging, microscope photography and video. For more information visit: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/find-explorers/jennifer-a-gil-acevedo

Guest photographer: Jeremy Starn

On Nov. 29, guest photographer, Jeremy Starn, presented the BAMBI seminar: Land Art: Toxic Masculinity to Environmental Reclamation. In addition to inventing a way to use photography to read out-of-reach dendrometers—part of staff scientist Helene Muller-Landau’s project to calculate carbon storage values for lowland tropical forests—he will be working with the Communications Office to document research projects. See examples of his work here.


Corotú Cafeteria changes hands

From Dec. 1 through Jan. 14, the Corotú Cafeteria at the Tupper Center will close for improvements. However, the new concessionaire, Continental Express, will offer lunches on a limited basis. The cost of each meal will be $5 for the inexpensive combo, and $8 for the executive combo. 

Each week the menu for the following week will be sent in advance by e-mail and it will include a vegetarian option. If you don’t have STRI mail service, please request a menu at the address below. Orders should preferably be made before 10:00 am the previous day at express@cateringpanama.com or info@cateringpanama.com  Payment for meals will be made using a pre-purchased food card (either $15 or $25) that you will be able to buy on Friday of each week beginning on Nov. 23 in the third floor reception area starting at 10:30 am until 1:00 pm.

Orders will be delivered to the area outside the cafeteria between 11:30 am and 12:30 am in biodegradable packaging. At the moment of withdrawing your order, the card will be marked as debit. The balance on the card will not expire and can be used after the restaurant opens again.

Payments may be made by cash or check or online: It is important that you register your name with the payment, either in the transfer itself or by sending a separate email to administracion@cateringpanama.com

Bank information

Continental Express SA

Bac Bank

Cuenta Corriente 104066097

BCI Family day

Recently, Barro Colorado Island hosted employees from different departments at STRI as well as researchers and their families. The visitors talked with scientists on the Island about their research and hiked the island's trails.

STRI at INNOVA-NATION Fest and Expo Ambiente 2018

Jennifer Ríos, guide at the Punta Culebra Nature Center represented STRI at Expo Ambiente at ATLAPA Convention Center as part of the XXII Congress of the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation.

Public programs’ Adriana Ríos and Lina González also took STRI’s Q?cart to the Innova-Nation Fest the first entrepreneurship and innovation festival for young people in Panama at the Town Center in the Costa del Este neighborhood.

New Digital Campaign

This year, we are highlighting the work of academic fellows who power STRI science and bring fresh, new ideas to our work. Spark scientific discovery by making a gift to STRI to support rising stars in tropical science! https://goo.gl/3E3Dwk #STRIFellows

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