Skip to main content
Dates: July 15, 2024 - July 26, 2024
Location: Bocas del Toro Research Station, Panama
Organizer: Dr. Rachel Collin STRI, Panama
Registration Fee: $875 (includes room and board). Some need-based fellowships are available.


Elizabeth Torres

California State University Los Angeles

Dr. Simone Brandão

Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco

Course description:

Ostracods are ubiquitous and sometimes abundant components of the benthos and plankton, inhabiting virtually all kinds of aquatic ecosystems from temporary and tiny habitats, like bromeliad tanks, to the deepest marine environments (hadal ecosystems). Most ostracods are meiofauna-sized, but some belong to the macrofauna (e.g., Macrocyprididae) and other measure up to 30mm in length (Gigantocypris Müller, 1895).

Due to their calcified carapaces, ostracods have a diverse and abundant fossil record since the Ordovician (oldest record from 440Ma) and serve as tools for understanding the Earth’s environments, oceanography and climate during most of the Phanerozoic Era. Ostracods are also widely used as ecological indicators of ecosystem health and can assist the establishment of priorities for conservation.

The course goal is to provide an overview on the current knowledge on ostracods, including the geological history, morphology, paleo/ecology, paleo/biogeography, phylogeny and evolution, and especially the taxonomy of the (geologically) recent taxa.

Students will develop short projects on the taxonomy of selected ostracod groups and contribute to the completeness of their taxon of interest in the “World Ostracoda Database” and “STRI Marine Life of Panama Portal”.

During the course we will:

1) Sample ostracods from diverse marine settings of Bocas del Toro;

2) Process the samples in the laboratory;

3) Sort, photograph, illustrate, and identify the ostracods;

4) Contribute to the World Ostracoda Database and STRI marine portal on the selected ostracod taxa;

5) Prepare a checklist of the ostracod species from Bocas del Toro to be published as a data paper

Application: Please e-mail your CV, 1 letter of recommendation and a 1-2 page statement explaining your background and reasons for taking the course, to before March 5th, 2024. To be considered for a need-based fellowship, applicants should send a description of their need, their efforts to obtain funding from other available sources, and a travel budget.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) through an award titled “Collaborative Research: ARTS: Understanding Tropical Invertebrate Diversity Through Integrative Revisionary Systematics and Training” (DEB-1856504). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.