Panama Bight

About the Area

The Panama Bight marine ecosystems contain dense mangroves, extensive beds of coral, and cetacean nurseries.
Coral diversity here is lower than on the Caribbean side, but coral cover tends to be much higher - infact, ninety per cent coverage is common, something rarely found in the Caribbean.

Local Species
Selected species include the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis), Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), Common rorqual (Balaenoptera physalus), Sperm whale (Physeter catodon), Red-footed booby (Sula sula), and Black storm-petrel (Oceanodroma melania).

Numerous species of fish inhabit these waters, including those in the families Isophoridae, Serranidea, and Scaridae, as do decapod crustaceans, including many that are endemic to the area.

Threats
Bleaching and coral mortality, assumed to be associated with El Niño events, has been recorded in many areas. Outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) have reduced coral populations. Other threats come from domestic pollution, massive deforestation, spear fishing, soil runoff, mining, dam construction, oil spills, and pesticide use.

Resources

Size:
N/A

Habitat type:
Tropical Upwelling

Geographic Location:
Pacific Ocean off the coast of northwest South America and southern Central America - Columbia, Ecuador, and Panama

Conservation Status:
Vulnerable

Quiz Time!

How does the red-footed booby capture its prey?

Answer:
Whenever it spies a fish near the surface, the red-footed booby dives from the sky to catch its dinner. The bird hits the water at high speed but is unhurt because air sacs under its skin cushion the impact. The sacs also provide buoyancy in the water.

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