Tag Archives: smithsonian scientists

Two New Bee Species Are Mysterious Pieces in the Panama Puzzle

Smithsonian scientists have discovered two new, closely related bee species: one from Coiba Island in Panama and another from northern Colombia. Both descended from of a group of stingless bees that originated in the Amazon and moved into Central America, the ancestors of Mayan honeybees. The presence of one of these new species on Coiba and Rancheria Islands, and its absence from the nearby mainland, is a mystery that will ultimately shed light on Panama’s history and abundant biodiversity.

At almost 200 square miles, Coiba Island is the largest offshore island along the Pacific coast of Latin America. Rancheria Island is a much smaller neighbor. The species name, insularis, of the new bee from Coiba, Melipona insularis, means “island.” This is the first species in its group to be found on islands near the mainland. (more…)

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Earth’s Highest Coastal Mountain on the Move

The rocks of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta—the highest coastal mountain on Earth—tell a fascinating tale: The mountain collides and then separates from former super-continents. Volcanoes are born and die. The mountain travels from Peru to northern Colombia and finally rotates in a clockwise direction to open up an entirely new geological basin. Smithsonian scientists were part of a four-year project to study Santa Marta’s geological evolution. Their findings are published in the October 2010 special issue of the Journal of South American Earth Sciences.

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Smithsonian and Arizona State University Launch Virtual Classroom

This fall, Smithsonian scientists in Panama and Arizona State University life-sciences students and researchers will talk by means of Vidyo—video-conferencing technology that transports virtual learning into the field.

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