The Bocas del Toro Field Station is located on Colon Island in Bocas del Toro province near the border with Costa Rica. To the east is the Caribbean Sea and to the west is a large enclosed bay containing extensive coral reefs and grassbeds surrounded by banana plantations, farms, and forests including extensive mangroves. The area is rapidly being developed for tourism.

Between 2002 and 2005, STRI recorded hourly values of oceanographic and meteorological data, including Solar Radiation, Rain, Ocean Temperature, Tide and Wind Speed. By mid-2005 STRI installed an automated weather station over the bay located to the west of the Field Station, and since then it has been collecting oceanographic and meteorological data at 15 minute intervals.

On April of 2015, and in cooperation with the Smithsonian MarineGEO/Tannenbaum Marine Observations Network, a multi-sensor YSI Exo 2 Sonde was installed on the platform. This sensor records the following parameters every 5 minutes:

  1. Algae fluorescence (Falgae)
  2. Chlorophyll Fluorescence (Fchlorophyll)
  3. Chlorophyll Mass (Mchlorophyll)
  4. Conductivity (Cond)
  5. Specific Conductivity (Sp Cond)
  6. Fluorescent Dissolved Organic Matter (Fdom)
  7. Dissolved Oxygen, uncorrected (ODO)
  8. Dissolved Oxygen, corrected for temperature & pressure (ODO Sat)
  9. pH
  10. Quinine Sulfate surrogate for Fdom (QSefdom)
  11. Salinity
  12. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  13. Turbidity
  14. Water Depth
  15. Pressure
  16. Water temperature

Field Station

Location: 9? 21′ 02.96” N, 82? 15′ 28.27” W

For a summary of the most recent data collected, plus long-term averages report, please click bellow.

In addition, the program also collects seawater salinity and transparency (Secchi depth).

Sampling Locations

NameMeasurementsDec Lat.Dec. Long
Main PlatformElectronic air temperature, wind, solar radiation, rel. humidity, tide, water temperature9.350827-82.257943
Mangrove AWeekly water temperature and salinity9.351917-82.259083
Mangrove BWeekly water temperature and salinity9.352111-82.259028
Mangrove CWeekly water temperature and salinity9.352250-82.258972
ReefWeekly water temperature and salinity9.348500-82.266000
SeagrassWeekly water temperature and salinity, Electronic water temp9.351694-82.257806
Dock (muelle)Daily water temperature, salinity & DO9.351039-82.257208
Aquariums (aquarios)Electronic water temperature9.351635-82.256852
Isla Cayo AguaDaily water temperature, salinity & DO9.133611-82.040278
Isla Roldan o PastoresElectronic water temperature9.219722-82.325278


Equipment & Methods

ParametersSensor ModelTypeFileMethod
Dissolved O2Manual⬇️
Solar RadiationLICOR LI200X PYRANOMETERElectronic⬇️⬇️
Temperature & RHCampbell Sci. CS215Electronic⬇️⬇️
Temperature (water)107Electronic⬇️
Temperature (water)Hobo Water Temperature Pro (U22-001)Electronic⬇️
Temperature (water)Manual⬇️
Water TransparencySecchi diskManual⬇️
Wind Speed & DirectionYOUNG WIND MONITOR AQElectronic⬇️⬇️
YSI Exo SondeElectronic⬇️
Equipment & Methods documents are available for download here.

Data Download

Air Temperature
(max, min, average)
15 MinCelsius⬇️
Ocean Temperature
15 MinCelsius⬇️
15 Minmm⬇️
Solar Radiation Flux
(max, min, average)
15 Minw/m?⬇️
Relative Humidity
(max, min, average)
15 Min%⬇️
Wind Direction
(vect mean, std. deviation)
15 Mindegrees⬇️
Wind Speed
(max,min, mean horiz speed)
15 Minkm/hr⬇️
Water Temperature60 minCelsius⬇️
Air TemperatureDailyCelsius⬇️
Met. conditionsDailyCelsius⬇️
Dissolved OxygenDailymg/l⬇️
Manual rainfallDailymm⬇️
Water temperatureDailyCelsius⬇️
Secchi DepthDailym⬇️
Data is available for download here.

Bocas Biological Censuses

In 1999, STRI initiated a mangrove, seagrass and coral censuses as part of the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) program. CARICOMP was a network of marine laboratories, parks, and reserves in 13 islands and 9 mainland countries throughout the Caribbean basin. Member laboratories monitored physical parameters, coral reefs, mangroves, and grassbeds using a common protocol to provide data for long-term comparative studies of biodiversity and productivity in Caribbean coastal ecosystems. While CARICOMP no longer exists, the censuses continue.

STRI monitors three sites (coral, reef, and mangrove) using the Level 1 protocols in the Methods Manual near the main laboratory in Bocas del Toro (See map).

SiteGradientDec. Lat.Dec. Long.
Isla ColónFringe A, CARICOMP9.351917°-82.259083°
Isla ColónFringe A, CARICOMP9.352111°-82.259028°
Isla ColónFringe A, CARICOMP9.352250°-82.258972°
Isla ColónTransition9.352083°-82.259167°
Isla ColónDwarf9.351944°-82.259361°
Isla ColónLand9.352972°-82.258111°
Isla CristobalFringe9.252833°-82.236333°
Isla CristobalTransition9.252722°-82.235861°
Isla CristobalDwarf9.253389°-82.239861°
Isla CristobalLand9.253389°-82.239861°
Isla PopaFringe9.231444°-82.121306°
Isla PopaTransition9.230194°-82.121722°
Isla PopaDwarf9.231444°-82.121306°
Isla PopaLand9.231444°-82.121306°
Isla SolarteFringe9.309861°-82.202000°
Isla SolarteTransition9.309861°-82.202000°
Isla SolarteDwarf9.310722°-82.199944°
Isla SolarteLand9.310722°-82.199944°

For information regarding sample protocols, the following documents should be consulted.

Guzman et al, 2006 provide a summary of the monitoring program and review of the data collected until 2005.

Global Position System Station (Station Identifier = CN20)

In collaboration with UNAVCO, a permanent Trimble NETR9 GPS station was installed at the Bocas Marine Station in August of 2013. This station now forms part of COCONet. Data from this station are automatically transmitted by satellite to a central server and can be accessed at this Nevada Geodetic Laboratory web site. More information about that station can be found here:

Please read our data use policy before using any data from this page.