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The Caribbean is stressed out

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Forty percent of the world's 2.5 billion people live in coastal cities and towns. A team including Smithsonian marine biologists just released 25 years of data about the health of Caribbean coasts from the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP).

Jaguar conservation depends on neighbors' attitudes

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) A survey of residents near two major national parks in Panama indicates that jaguars deserve increased protection. But because most residents still support road-building in the parks, the survey team recommends further education to emphasize the connection between healthy ecosystems and jaguar survival.

Boat traffic threatens the survival of Panama's Bocas Del Toro dolphins

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Bottlenose dolphins in Panama's Bocas Del Toro Archipelago should be designated as endangered say the authors of a new study. Biologists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered that the roughly 80 dolphins in the archipelago do not interbreed with other Caribbean bottlenose dolphins. Show More Summary

Boat traffic threatens the survival of Panama's Bocas Del Toro dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins in Panama's Bocas Del Toro Archipelago should be designated as endangered say the authors of a new study. Biologists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered that the roughly 80 dolphins in the archipelago do not interbreed with other Caribbean bottlenose dolphins. Show More Summary

Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Estimates of the carbon stored by tropical forests rarely take tree roots into consideration. Smithsonian scientists report that almost 30 percent of the total biomass of tropical trees may be in the roots.

Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool

Ask someone to draw a tree and s/he will invariably draw a trunk and branches—leaving the roots out of the picture. In a unique study of tropical tree roots at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute published in PLOS ONE, roots accounted for almost 30 percent of the total biomass of young trees. Show More Summary

Scientists edit butterfly wing spots and stripes

An international research team working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama knocked-out a single control gene in the DNA of seven different butterfly species. In the Sept. 18 Proceedings of the National Academy of...Show More Summary

New porcelain crab species from Colombia named

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) New, hairy-clawed porcelain crab species discovered in the southern Caribbean.

Cleanliness is next to sexiness for golden-collared manakins in Panama

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Juvenile male Golden-collared Manakins on extra testosterone cleaned up their display area before performing for females, according to research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama published in Animal Behavior. Female manakins got more aggressive when given testosterone.

Panama's native tree species excel in infertile tropical soils

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Smithsonian scientists and collaborators including the Panama Canal Authority confirm that native tree species performed very well in field trials and would be preferable to teak in the poor soils of the Panama Canal watershed.

Disease-carrying mosquitoes rare in undisturbed tropical forests

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) A new study by scientists from the Smithsonian, the Panamanian government and the US Environmental Protection Agency, among other institutions, concludes that conserving old-growth tropical rainforest is 'highly recommended' to prevent new outbreaks of viral and parasitic mosquito-borne diseases.

Smithsonian manatee count informs policy recommendations

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Smithsonian scientists use sonar to estimate Antillean Manatee populations in the murky waters of Panama's internationally protected San San Pond Sak wetlands.

Comparing the jaws of porcupine fish reveals three new species

Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and colleagues compared fossil porcupine fish jaws and tooth plates collected on expeditions to Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil with those from museum specimens and modern porcupine fish, revealing three new species.

Comparing the jaws of porcupine fish reveals three new species

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and colleagues compared fossil porcupine fish jaws and tooth plates collected on expeditions to Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil with those from museum specimens and modern porcupine fish, revealing three new species.

Researchers use carrion flies to survey tropical forest mammals

How many mammal species live in a tropical forest? Some are nocturnal. Others are small, furtive or live at the tops of trees. Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama tested a new technique: recruiting carrion-eating flies to detect mammals. Show More Summary

The undertaker's census

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama tested a new technique: recruiting carrion-eating flies to detect mammals. This new method surpasses standard techniques, detecting more species than researchers could count along trails or photograph with hidden cameras.

Litter bugs may protect chocolate supply

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Mother's microbiome seems to protect baby cacao plants, a result with important implications for protecting the world's chocolate supply.

Litter bugs may protect chocolate supply

Those who crave brownies or hot cocoa may be happy to hear that heroes too small to be seen may help to protect the world's chocolate supply. Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama found that exposing...Show More Summary

Is this the long-sought answer to the question of tropical biodiversity?

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) The question of 'Why so many species of tropical trees and other organisms' has challenged biologists for centuries. A group of 50 scientists from 12 countries think they have the answer.

Is it sometimes ok to cheat?

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) When both partners benefit from a relationship -- husband and wife or pollinator and flower -- the relationship is known as a mutualism. Sometimes partners do not deliver their side of the bargain while still reaping the rewards. Show More Summary

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