Bocas del Toro Research Station

Bocas del Toro Research Station

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At Colon Island in Panama 's Bocas del Toro region in the Caribbean, STRI has established a site for education and research, providing scientists and students with access to an extraordinary diversity of marine and terrestrial biota. This station is situated among areas of undisturbed forest, a remarkable coastal lagoon system, and numerous islands and reefs.



On Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro province, STRI built a center for a comprehensive program in research and education, focused on both marine and terrestrial environments.

Bocas Lab


Bocas del Toro is a complex region of islands, mainland bays, rivers and forested mountain slopes on the Caribbean side of the Panamanian isthmus. The very high diversity of marine and terrestrial ecosystems makes Bocas an ideal area to study natural environments. However, Bocas is also a socio-politically complex setting—a site with fisheries, growing tourism, agriculture and a significant population of endangered sea turtles and manatees. In short, Bocas comprises a model region for working on the important issue of sustainable multiple use.

Additionally, Bocas del Toro offers an ideal setting for conducting paleoecological studies to answer important questions about the history of the Isthmus of Panama. The rocks and fossils around Bocas hold the key to understanding when and where the Isthmus began rising, and when and where it closed, separating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Pinpointing the time sequence of this division, which triggered the formation of the Gulf Stream, among other major natural events, has huge ramifications across varying fields of scientific inquiry as diverse as evolutionary biology and climatology.