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Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 29, 2022
Location: Bocas Research Station, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Organizer: Dr. Rachel Collin STRI, Panama
Registration Fee: $995


Steven Haddock

Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Otto M. P. Oliveira

Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Federal University of ABC in Brazil

Erik V. Thuesen

Ph.D., is a Member of the Faculty in Zoology at the Evergreen State College in Washington, USA

Stefano Piraino

Ph.D., is a Professor of Zoology and Marine Biology at the University of Salento in Lecce, Italy

Dr. Rachel Collin

STRI, Panama

Course description:

This course is intended for graduate students, post-docs, or professionals who are interested in learning and applying knowledge about the taxonomy, evolution, and ecology of ctenophores, Medusozoa and other gelatinous zooplankton.

The students participating in this course will achieve the following:

1. learn to describe and identify ctenophores and pelagic cnidarians, focusing on the most common species living in the Bocas del Toro region;
2. learn general biological and ecological characteristics of other gelatinous groups;
3. gain hands-on ecological and taxonomic experience with tropical ctenophores and medusae;
4. learn fundamental sampling and survey techniques; and
5. learn how to conduct physiological experiments with fragile gelatinous organisms.

This course seeks to give the participants the necessary tools to continue studies on the taxonomy, systematics, ecology, and/or evolution of ctenophores and medusozoa. This edition of the course will also include discussions of the origins of Metazoa, and the relative phylogenetic placements of sponges, cnidarians, and ctenophores. The course will last 21 days, with the first week mostly dedicated to taxonomic training. During the second week, students will study ecological and physiological aspects of gelatinous zooplankton with special attention to techniques used to work with these very fragile animals. During the last week of the course, students will carry out a focused research project and present their results.

Daily activities will include morning and afternoon lectures, fieldwork, laboratory work, and evening seminars or talks.

Application: This course is directed towards advanced graduate students, post-docs, and young investigators, and will be conducted in English. 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 January 31, 2022. 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. For more information see:

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science & Engineering (OISE) through an award titled “IRES Track II: International Training to Understand the Relationships of Non-Bilaterian Animals” (OISE-1828949). 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.