Panama meeting day #2

Ambitious tree

Had the morning off, everyone got to do their own thing and then the last bunch of attendees arrived and we all had lunch.   I walked down the road this morning and tried a bit of fishing.

A “schoolmaster”

The meeting began after lunch (Twitter hashtag #istmobiome) with Matt Leray who gave an introduction to the project and to microbial symbiosis.  The next talk was Rachel Collins, who is an invertebrate taxonomist and the director of the Bocas station… she gave an overview of the station and the work that happens here.  Jarrod Scott was then tasked with giving an overview of the Panamanian isthmus (“istmo” in Spanish, hence the URL and hashtag).  Jarrod also talked about STRI and the various research facilities they have around Panama.   After a break, Ross Robertson talked about the differences between the two sides of Panama (temp, salinity, nutrients, etc.).   The Pacific is much more productive, but also more variable and stressful.   Ross also touched on some fish gut microbiome work… a teaser of more microbes to come.   Then Haris Lessios gave a talk provocatively titled “So, what is the Isthmus of Panama good for?”.  He gave a number of great reasons, but in particular he talked about the ability to calibrate molecular clocks to the rise of the isthmus.  Allen Herre then gave a talk on Terrestrial Symbioses… a lot more is known about microbial symbioses out of the water.  He asked some great high-level questions about things like community assembly… how general are the patterns we observe?  Or is every system a special case?  Emmett Duffy talked about the MarineGEO program of which he is the director.  He described it as a “healthcare system for marine ecosystems”… a distributed, global, effort to collect “vital signs” data in a standardized way.  The last talk of the day was our own Laetitia Wilkins, talking about the IstmoBiome project to which this site is dedicated.  We started with urchins and porcelain crabs and have now added snapping shrimp and lucinid crabs.

Here’s a collection of pictures from yesterday and today:

Laetitia and Ben looking for clams.
Fish under the STRI dock
More fish under the dock
ROV in action!
Pillar under a weather monitoring station

And here’s the Wakelet of Tweets from the meeting so far:

About David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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