From October 2010 - January 2011, I worked at The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama with three different scientists -- Juan Mate, Alexandra Hiller and Ross Robertson.
With Juan, I worked on a couple of booklets for Coiba National Park, an island in the Pacific that was once used as a penitentiary and has now been protected as a National Park.
- A booklet describing the new management plan of the Park
- A tablet for fisheries surrounding the park
- Diving and snorkeling site maps for a comprehensive dive guide
Alexandra Hiller studies porcellanidae crabs. They are precious tiny crabs with unique anatomy. Although they are called crabs, they're not actually true crabs. If you notice, they have only three legs. Crabs have two arms and four. They use a lot of core strength to sort of grab the substrate and suction themselves. This gives them the ability to crawl along vertical surfaces! They're so cool! Alexandra has been working on an online identification software called CAT -- Computer Automated Taxonomy. Using the provided crab illustrations, identifying characteristics in a clear and attractive way.
In the final month I was there, I worked with ichthyologist, Ross Robertson. Currently, Ross is also working on identification software including an app for Eastern Pacific shorfishes. I'm partial to the gobies which illustrate the very slight differences between the common green banded goby and red-cheeked goby, a new species found in Honduras.