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Adios Coiba, Until we meet again

© Kip F. Evans – Mission Blue The Minister of Science and Technology (SENACYT), for the country of Panama, Ruben Berrocal joined us to learn more about our underwater observations in Coiba National Park and shared with us his scientific vision and plans for developing a research station on Coiba. He was interested in learning more about the Hannibal bank expedition, and Smithsonian Director Biff Bermingham and Sylvia Earle described the life they’d seen. © Kip F. Evans – Mission Blue We also toured Jean Pigozzi’s Liquid Jungle Lab ( and heard about some of the research that has been done by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Jean has worked to develop an excellent research lab facility for researchers to better understand the surrounding ecosystem.…
Posted in Coiba National Park, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |

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Onward and Downward!

Dr. Sylvia Earle © Kip F. Evans – Mission Blue Today, the wind picked up making the waters quite choppy. The Sea Hunter delayed heading out to Hannibal bank but once there was able to achieve one spectacular survey, despite the weather. STRI Director Biff Bermingham and Sylvia Earle led the rest of the Mission Blue team on two dives today. “Washing Machine” was the name of the first site and was a set of submerged rock peaks off Isla Jicaron. Before we descended, we saw what looked to be 6 recreational fishing vessels within the park. How can the few fish schools that remain (as far as what we’ve seen) have much of a chance against such pressure? As we descended into the deep, Philippe rang a bell of sorts by clanging a whistle to get our attention.…
Posted in Coiba National Park, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Google Ocean, mission blue, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |

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We All Live in a Yellow Submarine

Ricardo Cisneros and I joined Hector Guzman’s science team over at the Sea Hunter ship just in time to see them pull up the collected specimens from the morning science exploration dive. Collected by a manipulator arm around 200 meters depth, Hector placed the specimens into white trays for further analysis. There were corals, tube worms, black coral, a sea pen, bryozoans, pink stylaster coral, a brittle star, and a black solitary cup coral.  After sub dive training and a review of a 3-d terrain model of Hannibal Bank, where Hector pointed out what we’d next be first exploring ever, Ricardo and I donned our jumpsuits and prepared to get in the sub. Ricardo was filled with great enthusiasm, as it was his first sub dive ever and he never thought he’d get to be a real aquanaut!…
Posted in Coiba, Dr. Sylvia Earle, national geographic, Panama, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |

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Coiba – Today was a magnificent day in Panama!

By Jenifer Austin Foulkes, Oceans Program Manager, Google and Mission Blue Board Director Tuesday, March 6, 2012   © Kip F. Evans – Mission Blue Kip Evans and Shari Sant Plummer left early in the morning to rendezvous with the Undersea Hunter support ship for the DeepSea sub.  Shari and David Shaw made a 350 foot (120 meters) dive in the sub to explore Hannibal Bank, where they saw numerous stomatopod Mantis shrimp, who mate for life. Kip and Biff did a 120 foot dive to photograph the sub descent. They saw a dead fish carcas at 300 feet being eaten by crabs. They also saw pink coral with white fringes, and a coral that looked like a taco-salad in a flour tortilla bowl.…
Posted in Coiba National Park, mission blue, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |


Coiba Expedition Blog – First Dives

Coiba, Panama March 5, 2012 © Kip F. Evans – Mission Blue We awoke eager to go diving but were delayed as the dive boat was held up helping our companion ship, the Sea Hunter, to launch their DeepSee submersible.  Biff Bermingham, Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here in Panama, showed Sylvia a map of the current Isla Coiba marine park, highlighting which areas are protected, as well as where fishing is still allowed. Local people hope to get support to protect more of the ocean in the surrounding area. Finally around noon, I took my first dive at Coiba off  “Desert island” with Sylvia Earle, Kip Evans, David Shaw, Shari Sant Plummer and Beverley. When I first got into the water, I saw a large silver plate-shaped permit swim away followed by other big fish with jack like shapes, and long tail fins with rainbow colors.…
Posted in Coiba National Park, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |


Mission Blue Expedition to Coiba, Panama Launched

Coiba National Park, located off the southwest coast of Panama, is made up of Coiba Island, 38 smaller islands and the surrounding marine areas within the Gulf of Chiriqui. Protected from the cold winds and effects of El Niño, Coiba hosts exceptional diversity on the land and under the ocean. Considered a precious jewel of the Pacific, Coiba is a critical part of the Eastern Pacific Seascape, a broad ocean area within the waters of Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador. Photo: Hector Guzman, STRI Coiba Island is the biggest island in Central America and is also the largest uninhabited island in all of Latin America. It was declared a World Heritage site in 2005 and it provides a key ecological link to the Tropical Eastern Pacific for the transit and survival of pelagic fish and marine mammals.…
Posted in Coiba National Park, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Hector Guzman, hope spots, Kip Evans, mission blue, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |


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