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Friday, May 24 2019 @ 12:49 PM UTC

Smythe Conducts Field Research in Panama

Expat Tales Contact: Holly Foster (Hamilton College) Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Ashleigh Smythe spent 10 days in August at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Bocas del Toro field station on the Caribbean coast of Panama. She collected tiny marine worms called nematodes, which are the focus of her research. Nematodes are found in all types of sediment, terrestrial and aquatic. This collecting trip focused on nematodes in sand from coral reef habitats accessible only by scuba diving. Her goal was to collect nematodes from a wide range of taxonomic groups to contribute to the Barcode of Life project, an international initiative aimed at cataloguing the diversity of life with DNA sequence data. In addition, she collected members of the order Enoplida, an evolutionarily important group of nematodes for which she and her research students are reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships.
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