Skip to main content
Dates: June 18, 2023 - July 1, 2023
Location: Bocas Research Station, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Organizer: Dr. Rachel Collin STRI, Panama
Registration Fee: $800 (includes room and board, STRI registration fee, etc.). Some need-based fellowships are available.


Kristine White

Georgia College & State University, U.S.A

Lauren Hughes

Natural History Museum, England

Course description:

The course is aimed at students, post-docs, or professionals who are interested in learning about the identification and ecology of amphipod crustaceans. Amphipod diversity in coral reef ecosystems is often understudied, limiting their otherwise immense potential to be bioindicators of ecosystem health.

The students participating in this course will:
-Learn to collect, dissect, identify, and describe amphipods
-Learn general biological and ecological characteristics of many amphipod families
-Gain hands-on experience with collecting and identifying amphipods living among the mangroves and shallow coral reefs of the Bocas del Toro region

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 January 20th, 2023. 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.


Nicholas Yoong

Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine
Hello, my name is Nicky Yoong. I am an undergraduate researcher at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. For my undergraduate honors thesis, I am investigating how spatio-temporal heterogeneity impacts seagrass meadows (Zostera marina) and their respective epifaunal ecosystems across the Gulf of Maine. The primary reason for taking this course is to help my amphipod identification. Amphipods make up the vast majority of epifauna I find in my samples, but I struggle to identify amphipods. I believe this class will allow me to conduct more comprehensive studies of the Gulf of Maine and the community ecology of seagrass meadows. Furthermore, I plan to continue to study epifauna and amphipods during my graduate studies, therefore, this class will also further contribute to my future success in studying epifaunal community ecology.

Maria Muciño

National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
I'm a Ph.D. candidate in Biological Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). My research interests focus on the ecology and taxonomy of the macrofauna that inhabits sandy beaches and coral reefs. Currently, I'm studying the diversity and abundance variation of macro-crustaceans from the Mexican Atlantic sandy beaches at different spatial scales. Furthermore, one of my primary interests is the taxonomy of the order Amphipoda. I started studying these crustaceans during my undergraduate studies, becoming interested in their diversity in artificial constructions. Some years later, during my master's degree thesis, I described the faunal composition of amphipods from some Mexican coral reefs. Now, as a teacher, I'm working with citizen science projects and sustainable beach management. I love my work and I enjoy learning new things.

Alexis González

International Maritime University of Panama
Hello! My name is Alexis González and I am coursing my bachelors in marine biology, at the International Maritime University of Panama. On my second year of college, I found my first isopod in the mouth of a red snapper in Pedasi, and that's how my thing for small crustaceans started. I've been collecting isopods from different host in the Pacific side of Panama, and now I have over 300 isopods from the Cymothoidae family. Also, I've been studying fisheries in Panama and how they work... everything I do is by my own outside the university with some help of people in this field and my partners.

Siena McKim

University of California, Santa Barbara
I am a PhD student at the University of California, Santa Barbara where I study the evolution of silk in Crustaceans. Currently, I am focusing on identifying silk genes in amphipods and identifying the origins of amphipod silk glands. I use transcriptomic, phylogenetic, and imaging methods for my investigation. I utilize my art and design background through field and SEM imaging as well as creating professional figures for my publications. Through the course, I want to develop my amphipod identification skills and interact with amphipod species that are not around California to become a more well-rounded amphipod taxonomist and biologist.

Kyung-Won Kim

Dankook University, Korea
I am Kyung-Won Kim, a graduate school student research and completed master’s Biological Science on basic amphipods taxonomy and dominant amphipod species that live in Korean waters. Also, in this year, I will start my Ph.D. degree with amphipod research revolve around species of Family Pleustidae in Korea and studying the morphological taxonomic theory of various amphipod families. I thought that this course was the perfect opportunity for me to learn new research methods and trends. Through this opportunity, I am not only to contribute to the taxonomic research in Korea by applying what I have learnt but also to become a global amphipods expert, building on this experience.

June Kim

Dankook University, Korea
I am a master’s degree student studying in the Department of Biology at the Dankook University, Korea, and interested in evolutionary and phylogenetic research using amphipods. Currently, I am studying the classification of Hyperiid amphipods from Korea. Morphological and genetic studies are being conducted to classify Hyperiidea more precisely. The genetic information I’m getting now will be used for evolutionary research using Hyperiidea. I am excited to take this course. Through this course, I’m looking forward to improving my classification research skills and learning various research methods so that I can produce better research results when I come back to Korea.

Piero Guardales

National University of San Marcos (UNMSM)
I am Piero Fabio Guardales Martel, I have a degree in Biology from the National University of San Marcos (UNMSM). I am currently a thesis student at the shallow marine environments consulting and evaluation laboratory, where I have been developing a project on benthic amphipods in rocky intertidal environments of the central coast of Peru.

Jonathan Tempesti

Department of Biology of the University of Pisa (Italy)
I am a post-doc in marine ecology at the Department of Biology of the University of Pisa (Italy). During my academic formation, I am specialized in the study of marine benthic communities ecology, mainly focusing on macrozoobenthic organisms, with a strong taxonomic approach. My main research topic concerns the study of benthic communities in anthropized environments, especially port areas, with a particular focus on non-indigenous species (NIS). In this context, I conducted several studies on Mediterranean port hard bottom communities (fouling) in order to highlight their patterns according to different anthropic pressures, considering both whole and alien assemblages. Moreover, the relationships between basibionts and associated macrofauna have been investigated, as well as the role played by the substrate three-dimensional morphology in these associations. In the last years, I have also co-developed a project aimed at the study of biological communities associated to Mediterranean marine shipwrecks, especially focusing on the ecological effects on local benthic assemblages. Moreover, I have been recently included in a global project aimed at the ecological study of macroalgal habitats, for the taxonomic identification of associated macrofaunal assemblages in the Mediterranean sites. I have collaborated to local environmental monitoring plans of Cyprus, assessing marine arthropod assemblages from shallow and deep-sea environments. During the years of academic/research activities, among all benthic taxa, I mainly specialized on the taxonomic identification of Mediterranean marine arthropods, especially peracarid crustaceans.

Mario Correal

Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano
Hi! My name is Mario Correal, I´m from Colombia and I’m finishing my undergrad studies in Marine Biology from the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. I´ve had participated in research projects involving ecology of benthic macroinfaunal communities with the UTadeo, I´ve had the opportunity to work as a research assistant in the Makuriwa Museum and also in environmental consulting at INVEMAR. My undergrad thesis is focused on the distribution of amphipods in soft bottoms ecosystems and how does environmental factors affect them. My interests on the course are mainly learning more about amphipod ecology and the role they have in different ecosystems. I´m a sea enthusiast, SDI Advanced diver and I love working and learning about peracarid crustaceans. My goal is to contribute to the knowledge of amphipod and peracarid diversity and ecology.

Sally Sir

Georgia College and State University
I enjoy learning about all organisms, but especially aquatic organisms. After spending a few years participating in amphipod taxonomy, I have a special fondness for macroinvertebrates and their incredible diversity! I am grateful for the opportunity to visit Bocas again and am looking forward to learning lots!

Claire Murphy

University of California Davis
I'm a PhD candidate in Population Biology at the University of California, Davis. I am interested in how seasonal and spatial variation in habitat structure influence predation risk, and in turn, prey community structure. To study this, I am using field and laboratory experiments focused on four morphologically distinct peracarid crustaceans found in seagrass beds around Bodega Harbor and Tomales Bay, California. During this course, I am excited to learn more about broader amphipod species and trait diversity, and how this relates to their ecology.

Elizabeth Durham

Georgia College and State University
My name is Lizzie Durham, and I am currently an undergraduate biology student at Georgia College & State University. I also intend on pursuing my master's degree from Georgia College. I am very excited to continue working with Dr. White in better understanding amphipod taxonomy and biodiversity local to Bocas del Toro, Panama. I previously attended a collecting trip in 2020 to Bocas, where I can gratefully say I first discovered my love for field work.

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.