Smithsonian Joins Mission Blue Submarine Expedition in Panama

on March 9, 2012 10:02 AM EST

DeepSee Descends
Scientists create video transects and collect deep ocean creatures from the DeepSee submersible. (Photo: Kip Evans)

From Mar. 4-10, Eldredge Bermingham, Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Staff Scientist Héctor Guzmán joined Mission Blue, founded by Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and environmental advocate, to survey the fauna of Panama's Hannibal Bank and environs.

Panama's Coiba National Park and Special Zone of Marine Protection is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. With Costa Rica's Cocos Island, Colombia's Mapelo Island and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Coiba forms part of one of the most productive and biodiverse marine areas in the world that is still largely unexplored.

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With bioprospecting teams from Panama's government research institute, INDICASAT-AIP and the University of Panama, Guzmán conducted the first ever faunal survey of the seamount aboard the submersible DeepSee.

The Smithsonian thanks the SEAlliance Foundation, the International Community Foundation, benefactor Joan Siedenburg, Panama's National Secretariat for Science and Technology, SENACYT, Natural Resources Authority, ANAM, and Marine Resources Authority, ARAP, for making this expedition possible.

Source: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

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