Collection Data

Page Contents: Section | Significance | Background | Location & Dates | Taxonomic Contents | Documentation | Description of Collection | Collection Inventory | Collection Assets

Panama Exotics Expedition

Section Responsible for Processing



While there have been several regional studies of biological invasions in temperate marine and estuarine waters, little has been published assessing such invasions in tropical marine waters. This study was an early comprehensive review of exotic organisms in Caribbean waters. This Rapid Assessment survey assessed exotic marine organisms on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Panama in the vicinity of the Panama Canal. This project was an extension of the San Francisco Bay survey to assess the role that the Canal has played in transporting marine species between the oceans.


Dr. Andrew Cohen, then of the San Francisco Estuary Institute, received a $150,000 marine conservation fellowship from the Pew Charitable Trust. Part of the money was used to fund this survey.

Participants included Don Cadien, County Sanitation District of Los Angeles County; Dale Calder, Royal Ontario Museum; Ernesto Campos-Gonz·lez, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California; John W. Chapman, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University; Leslie H. Harris, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; Gretchen Lambert and Charles C. Lambert, University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories; Fabio B. Pitombo, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Sergio I. Salazar-Vallejo, El Collegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Mexico; Brian S. Wysor, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

Results from the expedition were incorporated into Cohen, A.N. 2006. Chapter III. Species introductions and the Panama Canal. Pp. 127-206 in Gollasch, S., Galil, B.S., Cohen, A.N. (Eds.) Bridging Divides: Maritime Canals as Invasion Corridors. Monographiae Biologicae 83: 316 pp.

Specimens from the survey were used in the papers listed below, and in an upcoming series of papers on the polychaete families Flabelligeridae (S.I. Salazar-Vallejo) and Terebellidae (J.M.M. Nogueira & L.H. Harris).
Calder, D.R., Kirkendale, L. 2005. Hydroids (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) from shallow water environments along the Caribbean coast of Panama. Caribbean Journal of Science 41(3): 476-91.
Carrera-Parra, L.F. 2006. Revision of Lumbrineris de Blainville, 1828 (Polychaeta: Lumbrineridae). Zootaxa 1336: 64 pp.
Bastida-Zavala, J.R., ten Hove, H.A. 2003. Revision of Hydroides Gunnerus, 1768 (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) from the western Atlantic region. Beaufortia 52(9): 103-178
Tovar-Hernandez, M.A. 2003. Sabelidos (Polychaeta) del Caribe mexicano con una clave taxonomica para el Gran Caribe. Ms thesis, ECOSUR, Mexico, 147 pp.
Tovar-Hernandez, M.A., Salazar-Vallejo, S.I. 2006. Sabellids (Polychaeta: Sabellidae) from the Grand Caribbean. Zoological Studies 45(1): 24-66.
Tovar-Hernandez, M.A. , Knight-Jones, P. 2006. Species of Branchiomma (Polychaeta: Sabellidae) from the Caribbean Sean and Pacific coast of Panama. Zootaxa 1189: 1-37.

Collection Location and Dates

All collections except one are marine intertidal from Pacific and Caribbean areas adjacent to the Panama Canal. The exception came from the hull of a tuna fishing boat in dry dock which can be considered marine shallow subtidal. Sampling was done during 2 weeks in May-June 2002.

Taxonomic Contents

The collection held by the Museum contains polychaetes only.


Harris’ (Polychaete section) has the written field notes and original Excel data sheets.

Description of Collection

All specimens were fixed in 5-10% formalin-seawater. In 2009, they were briefly rinsed in fresh water, and transferred to 70% ethanol for long term storage.

Collection Inventory

135 vials polychaetes

Collection Assets

No collection assets available.

Curatorial Status (Click to view)