Office of Public Affairs videographers Johnny Gibbons and Brian Ireley recently headed down to the Punta Culebra Nature Center on the edge of Panama City to meet up with Mark Torchin a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Torchin’s research focuses on invasive marine species and the parasites that they carry with them. He demonstrated how he studies these animals by collecting snails in tidal pools, measuring dimensions and then taking them back to the lab to look at them under the microscope for parasites.
One of the important things Torchin has found is that these non-native parasites can thrive because they don’t have any natural predators or competitors in their newfound environment. Because of this, native wildlife can be adversely affected, especially in areas like the Panama Canal that see such a high volume of international boat traffic, which can carry invasive species all around the world.
Stay tuned to Smithsonian Science news for a video showcasing Mark and his important research.
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