Panamanian students learning about their
environment from STRI Nature Guides.
With seagrass lagoons, mangroves and coral
reef patches, Galeta is one of the most
well-studied Caribbean sites in Panama.
The goal of the trip was to hunt for peanut worms. They are the center of a biological controversy. Are they regular segmented annelid worms that have lost their segments. Or is the un-segmented body with a strange inverting proboscis unique and evolved independent of other worms? We join Tupper Postdoctoral fellow Michael Boyle in a search of these peanut worms.
|Intern Allan Carrillo searches for substrate|
The worms are often found inside rock crevices and coral rubble or mud flats. That’s why, we needed to collect rocks and coral rubble from shallow water (0.3-2 m).
We didn’t just see worms. If course, we saw slugs and snails too. The reef-flat is full of interesting invertebrates and seaweeds.
But, most important, we found them!!! A bunch of specimens of Phascolosoma perlucens and Aspidosiphon sp. that with luck, will spawn. If they do, Michael might use them as a model for his studies of evolution of development.
|Michael carefully cracks open dead |
coral heads to look for the worms.
And....after all that hard work... here he is!
Post prepared by: Allan Carrillo