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Panama PLUMAS Project


The PLUMAS (Precipitation and Land-Use effects on Multiple Avian Species) Project investigates the impacts of forest fragmentation and local climatic variation on bird species in Panama. Forest fragmentation and climate together may pose underappreciated threats in tropical bird species, and particularly in the more vulnerable understory birds. Panama PLUMAS has multiple projects which are being conducted on tropical forest birds along a fragmentation-rainfall gradient (22 sites) across the Isthmus of Panama. Using a variety of bird species, we are investigating everything from demography, sexual and natural selection, physiological variation, cellular aging, and species interactions.

The latest work that is part of the PLUMAS project is investigating how birds that follow army ant swarms vary across the gradient. See MSFA: Ant followers page for more information.

National Geographic logo

Funding sources:

University of Wyoming logo
University of Wyoing Biodiversity Institute logo
Small forest fragment

One of the PLUMAS's study sites, a small (~8-hectare) forest fragment on the West border of the Panama Canal.

Male antshrike

Male T. atrinucha

Forest fragment edge

Forest edge (Dr. Corey Tarwater at lower right)

Corey Tarwater holding bird at net

Dr. Corey Tarwater holding a captured bird.

Female antshrike with leg bands

Female T. atrinucha captured as part of the cross-isthmus study.

View of the Culebra Cut

View of the Panama Canal from one of the PLUMAS Project's study locales.

The edge of forest fragment

Forest fragment edge at the entrance to Camino del Oleoducto.

Ornithologists preparing transmitte

Veteran field techs Laura and Camilo preparing harnesses for radiotransmitters.

Male antshrike, perched

Male black-crowned antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha), most commonly known in the scientific literature as the Western slaty antshrike.

Antshrike in hand, showing leg bands

Male T. atrinucha captured as part of the cross-isthmus study.

Young red-capped manakin

Young male red-capped manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis), showing the new red head feathers that will eventually cover the head.

Laura in the field

Laura in the field

Sign for Pipeline Road, Panama

Sign and field equipment at the entrance to Camino del Oleoducto (Pipeline Road)

Keel-billed toucan, perched.

Keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), a dominant nest predator in central lowland Panama

Chestnut-backed antbird

Chestnut-backed antbird (Myrmeciza exsul)

Male red-capped manakin, perched

Male red-capped manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) on its display perch

Please visit and like the Panama PLUMAS Project Facebook page by clicking on the graphic at right. There, you will receive notifications about field work and publications.

Panama PLUMAS logo and Facebook logo

Dr. Patrick Kelley (University of Wyoming)

Dr. Dylan Maddox (Field Museum of Natural History) website

Dr. Jeff Foster (Northern Arizona University, NAU): lab website

Dr. Luke Powell (Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center) lab website

Dr. Jeferson Vizentin-Bugoni (Universidade Federal de Pelotas)

Laura Gomez Murillo (UW MS student)



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