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Latest Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama Stories

Turtle Fossil Found In Colombia Is Round Like A Car Tire
2012-07-12 11:12:35

Paleontologist Carlos Jaramillo's group at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and colleagues at North Carolina State University and the Florida Museum of Natural History discovered a new species of fossil turtle that lived 60 million years ago in what is now northwestern South America. The team's findings were published in the Journal of Paleontology. The new turtle species is named Puentemys mushaisaensis because it was found in La Puente pit in Cerrejón...

2011-12-12 22:07:09

Smithsonian researchers report that the brains of tiny spiders are so large that they fill their body cavities and overflow into their legs. As part of ongoing research to understand how miniaturization affects brain size and behavior, researchers measured the central nervous systems of nine species of spiders, from rainforest giants to spiders smaller than the head of a pin. As the spiders get smaller, their brains get proportionally bigger, filling up more and more of their body cavities....

Image 1 - Air Pollution Fertilizes Tropical Forests
2011-11-04 03:15:28

Scientists braved ticks and a tiger to discover how human activities have perturbed the nitrogen cycle in tropical forests. Studies at two remote Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory sites in Panama and Thailand show the first evidence of long-term effects of nitrogen pollution in tropical trees. "Air pollution is fertilizing tropical forests with one of the most important nutrients for growth," said S. Joseph Wright, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...

2011-10-04 12:18:18

A new report by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Canada's McGill University identifies gaps in forest monitoring and ways to improve data collection. This will produce reliable estimates of greenhouse gas emission reductions from activities aimed at reducing deforestation. Under a United Nations proposal to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, called REDD+, developing countries would be compensated according to their success...

History, Not Ecology, Makes Rainforests Unique
2011-09-23 08:39:48

  History and geology, not current ecology, are likely what has made tropical forests so variable from site to site, according to a new study published in the journal Science, co-authored by Liza Comita, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. "The same ecological processes seem to be working worldwide. The difference is that tropical organisms have been accumulating for vast periods of time," said Nathan J.B. Kraft, post-doctoral fellow at the...

Image 1 - Hitchhiking Snails Fly From Ocean To Ocean
2011-09-15 08:52:04

  Smithsonian scientists and colleagues report that snails successfully crossed Central America, long considered an impenetrable barrier to marine organisms, twice in the past million years–both times probably by flying across Mexico, stuck to the legs or riding on the bellies of shorebirds and introducing new genes that contribute to the marine biodiversity on each coast. "Just as people use airplanes to fly overseas, marine snails may use birds to fly over land," said Mark...

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2011-05-04 08:45:00

A team of scientists, including several from the Smithsonian Institution, discovered that leaves of flowering plants in the world's first rainforests had more veins per unit area than leaves ever had before. They suggest that this increased the amount of water available to the leaves, making it possible for plants to capture more carbon and grow larger. A better plumbing system may also have radically altered water and carbon movement through forests, driving environmental change. "It's...

2011-02-14 15:11:48

A million-dollar question Sleeping Beauty's kingdom was overgrown by vines when she fell into a deep sleep. Researchers at the Smithsonian in Panama and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee received more than a million dollars from the U.S. National Science Foundation to discover why real vines are overtaking the American tropics. Data from eight sites show that vines are overgrowing trees in all cases. "We are witnessing a fundamental structural change in the physical make-up of forests...

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2010-06-28 08:05:21

Why are tropical forests so biologically rich? Smithsonian researchers have new evidence that the answer to one of life's great unsolved mysteries lies underground, according to a study published in the journal, Nature. "We've known for a long time that tree seedlings do not grow and survive well under their mothers or other adult trees of the same species," said Scott Mangan, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin"”Milwaukee and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute...

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2010-04-06 14:02:23

The discovery of a new fossil turtle species in Colombia's Cerrej³n coal mine by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the Florida Museum of Natural History helps to explain the origin of one of the most biodiverse groups of turtles in South America. Cerrejonemys wayuunaiki takes its genus name from Cerrej³n, and emys"”Greek for turtle. Its species name is the language spoken by the Wayuu people who live on the Guajira Peninsula in...


Word of the Day
holluschickie
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'
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