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Panamas biodiversity

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  1. 1. PANAMA ANAYANSI CASTILLO Masters of Science in Environmental Assessment INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT Panama: The Bridge, The Barrier, it’s Biodiversity (BBB). Trafalgar group May 22nd, 2016 Gamboa Resort
  2. 2. Initially, Pangaea about 225 M years ago was one mass of land and splits to present day Earth.
  3. 3. Pacific Ocean Before the Isthmus emerged Atlantic Ocean South America North America Strong Current W eak Current Tropical Heat to Pacific
  4. 4. Completion of collision of Central America With South America 6 Million Years ago South American Plate Caribbean Plate Guatemala Honduras El Salvador Nicaragua Future Costa Rica Future Panama Future Colombia
  5. 5. After the isthmus is closed Equatorial Current North America South America Strong Gulf Stream CaribbeanCurrent Transport of salty warm tropical water to northern lats. Pacific Ocean
  6. 6. Blue represents where the Conveyor Belt is on the bottom;Blue represents where the Conveyor Belt is on the bottom; pink where it is at the surface.pink where it is at the surface. The world ocean “Conveyor Belt” system of currents
  7. 7.  Panama changed the oceanic circulation. ThePanama changed the oceanic circulation. The temperatures in Europe increased causing mildertemperatures in Europe increased causing milder winters which prevent the freezing over of ports.winters which prevent the freezing over of ports.  It contributed to the Ice Age era making AfricaIt contributed to the Ice Age era making Africa drier.drier.  Lossing tropical forest in Northern Africa mayLossing tropical forest in Northern Africa may have contributed to the human ancestorshave contributed to the human ancestors becoming more terrestrial evolving into modernbecoming more terrestrial evolving into modern mankind.mankind. “The Panama Effect” “We are all Panamanians.”
  8. 8. Cats Horses Dogs Pigs Bear Camels Anteaters Armadilos Porcupines Opossums Sloths Panama: The Bridge (the 1st B) • 60% of the Mammals in the South are originally from the North. Cats, Bears, Canids, Deer, Horses, Camels, Tapirs, Mastodonts, Peccaries, Mice, Rabbits, Raccoons • Three species survive from the South: porcupines, opossum and armadilo. Spiny rats, Sloths, anteaters, Capibaras, Carnivorous giant birds, grazing marsupials, Marsupials, Pacas , toothless herbivores,
  9. 9. NORTH AMERICA’S TERRESTRIAL BIOTA North America had efficient open-country land mammals due to invasions from Eurasia and even Africa, such as rodents, artiodactyls, perissodactyls. How does this biota vary over different parts of the region in relation to environmental differences and geographic factors? What fundamental trade- offs drive this variation?
  10. 10. BIRD MIGRATIONBIRD MIGRATION THROUGHOUT THETHROUGHOUT THE AMERICASAMERICAS.. Panama has aboutPanama has about 1000 bird species, a1000 bird species, a third are migratory.third are migratory. WHALE NURSERY –WHALE NURSERY – Bay of PanamaBay of Panama
  11. 11. The completion of the isthmus set in motion a naturalThe completion of the isthmus set in motion a natural experiment: populations of marine animals and plants wereexperiment: populations of marine animals and plants were split and isolated in different and changing environments thatsplit and isolated in different and changing environments that forced their evolutionary divergence and changes in theirforced their evolutionary divergence and changes in their biology.biology.  2 very different oceans (or 3 or 4)2 very different oceans (or 3 or 4) PANAMA: THE BARRIER (2nd B)
  12. 12. FundaciónAlbatrosMedia Caribbean Sea vs Pacific Ocean Which one is more biodiverse?? Why???
  13. 13. SW NWBay of Panama Zone of upwelling Sea Level Zone of high productivity Cold nutrient- Rich bottom water Panama City THE UPWELLING OF THE PACIFIC
  14. 14. 18 The Panama Canal Gatun LakeCaribbean Sea Pacific Ocean Miraflores Lake Gatun Locks Pedro Miguel Locks Miraflores Locks Canal Waters Time 24 hrs Canal construction “joins back the barrier” Makes a “freshwater bridge”
  15. 15. Panama Canal with expansion
  17. 17. Smithsonian expeditions 1910-1912 Panama Canal construction
  18. 18. Lake Gatun and Barro Colorado Island from the air, 1927
  19. 19. camels & peccaries Oreodonta rhino Floridaceras whitei Fossils Gastropods – Gatun Formation Kirby, 2006 O’Dea 2006 Paleontology and Geology of the New Panama Canal Carcharodon megalodon
  20. 20. Hub for international shipping Ballast water AverageNumberofarrivals/year Panama Houston Chesapeake Bay New Orleans Seattle More shipping than largest US ports NumberofTransits Increase in Canal transits over time Invasive Species The Panama Canal: unique opportunity to study biological invasions Year
  21. 21. BIODIVERSITY (3rd B) PLANTS Plants have been invading South America ever since it separated from Africa 100+ million years ago, Ex. Competitive, fast-growing, ant- defended pioneers like Cecropia.
  22. 22. .Panama Canal Watershed
  26. 26. TO CONCLUDE: The movement of plants and animals through Panama has been crucial to maintaining species diversity, genetic diversity within these spp & trophic structures. This is critical for competition, abundance of mutualism and resistance to exotic invaders. Learning what advantages are derived from moving long distances is crucial to learning how interdependence underpins diversity & productivity. Self-sufficiency is the enemy of productivity in natural ecosystems & human economies.
  27. 27. BIBLIOGRAPHYBIBLIOGRAPHY  www.pancanal.comwww.pancanal.com  www.stri.orgwww.stri.org  www.miambiente.gob.pawww.miambiente.gob.pa