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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


Shrimp aquaculture is an important industry in Republic of Panama, providing jobs and infrastructure, while supplying the country with seafood and export income. Aquaculture is accompanied by many negative impacts on mangrove ecosystems, and subsequently offshore marine stocks. The abundance and diversity of gastropods and shrimp were sampled in the Salado coastline of Aguadulce, Panama to evaluate the impacts of aquaculture disturbance on mangrove forests. Gastropods were sampled at 3 sites on 9, 100m transects in a “pristine” and disturbed forest. Shrimp were sampled using a push net in 24 sites in tide pools and abandoned shrimp ponds of the two areas. The “pristine” location recorded a higher biodiversity, and a significantly higher abundance of gastropods than the disturbed site. Gastropods of the Potamidae family dominated the disturbed site, while the “pristine” site harbored significant populations of the Littorinidae, Potamidae and Neritina families. Significantly more shrimp were found in the “pristine” site, and only a few individuals were documented in the disturbed site. The disturbance caused by shrimp aquaculture affects the composition and habitat complexity of mangrove ecosystems. The findings of this study illustrate the drastic impacts of aquaculture on mangrove ecosystems and marine faunal populations.


Agricultural Economics | Agricultural Education | Agriculture | Biodiversity | Biosecurity | Work, Economy and Organizations


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