Episode 5

What were these reefs like thousands of years ago?  

A team of paleo scientists is traveling back in time to search for clues about the ocean’s past that may help us better prepare for the future of marine ecosystems.

Arte por Paulette Guardia.

How have tropical oceans endured periods of environmental change over centuries and millennia? Did the reef environment shift after the arrival of humans in the isthmus of Panama thousands of years ago? These are some of the questions that scientists in the O’Dea lab at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute are hoping to answer by coring the ocean floor with six-meter-long aluminum pipes and then analyzing the contents extracted. In this episode we join the O’Dea lab in a coring expedition around Isla Iguana, a volcanic island in the Panamanian Pacific, and then back in the lab to explore some of their preliminary findings. For more information: stri.si.edu/biodiversa 


  • Host:
    Leila Nilipour
  • Lead Series Producer:
    Leila Nilipour
  • Associate Producer:
    Ana Endara
  • Field Recording:
    Leila Nilipour y Ana Endara
  • Script Writer:
    Leila Nilipour
  • Script Editors:
    Ana Endara, Beth King
  • Audio Engineer:
    Melissa Pinel
  • Episode Artwork:
    Paulette Guardia
  • Website
    Johann González
  • Marketing Support:
    Jess Sadeq y Sharon Bryant
  • Photo and Video
    Ana Endara

Special thanks to Linette Dutari, Lina González, Erin Blasco, Jorge Alemán, Juan Pérez and to all STRI colleagues for the support.



Episodio 1

¿Qué habita en las montañas submarinas de Coiba?

Seis científicos descienden en un submarino para explorar por primera vez los montes subacuáticos de la cordillera de Coiba.

Episodio 2

¿Por qué se estresan los delfines?

Una grabadora submarina en el archipiélago de Bocas del Toro revela pistas sobre las conversaciones de los delfines.

Episodio 3

¿Qué pasa en los arrecifes tropicales cuando se enfría el océano?

¿Puede un pequeño crustáceo marino causar un desequilibrio en el ecosistema que afecte hasta a los grandes tiburones?.

Episodio 4

Are these tropical corals immune to climate change?

A Brazilian coral physiologist is in Panama delving into the cells of corals to understand why some of them may be resistant to environmental change.

Episode 5

What were these reefs like thousands of years ago? 

A team of paleo scientists is traveling back in time to search for clues about the ocean’s past that may help us better prepare for the future of marine ecosystems.