SURVEY OF NATIVE AND NON-NATIVE BIVALVE SPECIES IN BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA**
The Bocas del Toro Archipelago in Panama’s northwestern Caribbean coast is made up of a vast network of islands fringed or covered by mangrove forests that constitute multiple ecosystem services, that include providing habitat for invertebrates and fishes, buffering nearby marine ecosystems, and protecting the coast from erosion. The mangrove’s prop roots extend into sea water and structurally support a diverse assemblage of invertebrate fouling organisms including sponges, tunicates, and bivalves. While the organisms living on or around the mangrove roots contribute to the high biodiversity of the area, human impacts may alter this balance in the future. Heavy shipping traffic associated with the Panama Canal puts the Bocas del Toro ecosystem at risk especially with the introduction of non-native species that threaten to outcompete native species, and are transported globally via the ballast water of container ships. In recent years there have been introductions of non-native mussel species in the Caribbean, such as the green mussel Perna viridis, however its presence is currently unknown in Bocas del Toro. Therefore, this study aims to survey the relative distribution and abundance of native and non-native bivalve species in Bocas del Toro through the use of photographic survey techniques. We will quantify percent cover, number of individuals, number of species, and relative abundance of native versus non-native bivalve species. This work will provide baseline data to further monitor invertebrate fouling communities on the changing coastlines of Bocas del Toro, Panama.
UWG Department of Biology, UWG College of Science and Mathematics
Sparks, John T. Jr.* and Garner, Yvette L.
"SURVEY OF NATIVE AND NON-NATIVE BIVALVE SPECIES IN BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA**,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 76, No. 1, Article 116.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol76/iss1/116