From the Field: Punta Chame–Oysters Galore

Posted by KristenM on December 27th, 2012

by Katrina Lohan

Katrina Lohan and Kristina Hill sample oysters off the rocks near Punta Chame, on the Pacific side of Panama. (Carmen Schloeder)

Some sampling sites are glamorous. Others are not. Our site near Punta Chame was literally off the side of the road. There were lots of rocks just off the road, and then a sandy bank that led to a stream, which led to the ocean. The rocks were covered in oysters, so it was very easy to get all the oyster samples we needed. We found three different species at that site and were able to collect all the oysters and water samples in about an hour.

Interestingly, there were two locations available for water sampling. One spot was an isolated pond influenced by run-off from the road, where the salinity was only 18 ppt. (The average salinity of the ocean is 35 ppt or parts per thousand). The other spot was more of a stream running from the land into the ocean only a few miles away, and the stream’s salinity was 30 ppt. As the salinity of the water can directly impact the parasites, some of which can only survive in high salinity, I opted to take water samples from both bodies of water so I could compare the differences. I’m hoping to get some really interesting results!


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