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The Bocas del Toro Field Station is located on Colon Island in Bocas del Toro province near the border with Costa Rica. To the east is the Caribbean Sea and to the west is a large enclosed bay containing extensive coral reefs and grassbeds surrounded by banana plantations, farms, and forests including extensive mangroves. The area is rapidly being developed for tourism.

Between 2002 and 2005, STRI recorded hourly values of oceanographic and meteorological data, including Solar Radiation, Rain, Ocean Temperature, Tide and Wind Speed. By mid-2005 STRI installed an automated weather station over the bay located to the west of the Field Station (9? 21' 02.96'' N, 82? 15' 28.27'' W), and since then it has been collecting oceanographic and meteorological data at 15 minute intervals.

On April of 2015, and in cooperation with the Smithsonian MarineGEO/Tannenbaum Marine Observations Network (, a multi-sensor YSI Exo 2 Sonde ( was installed on the platform. This sensor records the following parameters every 5 minutes:

  1. Algae fluorescence (Falgae)
  2. Chlorophyll Fluorescence (Fchlorophyll)
  3. Chlorophyll Mass (Mchlorophyll)
  4. Conductivity (Cond)
  5. Specific Conductivity (Sp Cond)
  6. Fluorescent Dissolved Organic Matter (Fdom)
  7. Dissolved Oxygen, uncorrected (ODO)
  8. Dissolved Oxygen, corrected for temperature & pressure (ODO Sat)
  9. pH
  10. Quinine Sulfate surrogate for Fdom (QSefdom)
  11. Salinity
  12. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  13. Turbidity
  14. Water Depth
  15. Pressure
  16. Water temperature

For a summary of the most recent data collected, plus long-term averages report, please click on the following link:
Monthly summaries_Bocas

In addition, the program also collects seawater salinity and transparency (Secchi depth).

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4
Sampling Locations
Name Measurements Dec Lat. Dec. Long
Main Platform Electronic air temperature, wind, solar radiation, rel. humidity, tide, water temperature 9.350827 -82.257943
Mangrove A Weekly water temperature and salinity 9.351917 -82.259083
Mangrove B Weekly water temperature and salinity 9.352111 -82.259028
Mangrove C Weekly water temperature and salinity 9.352250 -82.258972
Reef Weekly water temperature and salinity 9.348500 -82.266000
Seagrass Weekly water temperature and salinity, Electronic water temp. 9.351694 -82.257806
Dock (muelle) Daily water temperature, salinity & DO 9.351039 -82.257208
Aquariums (aquarios) Electronic water temperature 9.351635 -82.256852
Isla Cayo Agua Daily water temperature, salinity & DO 9.133611 -82.040278
Isla Roldan o Pastores Electronic water temperature 9.219722 -82.325278
For detailed information on the station and the parameters collected, please download the file Bocas_tower.pdf

Equipment & Methods

Equipment & Methods documents are available for download here.

Parameters Sensor Model Type File Method
Dissolved O2 Manual caricomp_manual_2001.pdf
Rainfall CAMPBELL SCI. CS700 TIPPING BUCKET Electronic cs700.pdf
Salinity Manual caricomp_manual_2001.pdf
Solar Radiation LICOR LI200X PYRANOMETER Electronic li200x.pdf Methods_Electronic_Solar_Radiation.pdf
Temperature & RH Campbell Sci. CS215 Electronic cs215.pdf Methods_Electronic_Air_Humidity.pdf
Temperature (water) 107 Electronic 107.pdf
Temperature (water) Hobo Water Temperature Pro (U22-001) Electronic WaterTemp_Hobo_U22_001.pdf
Temperature (water) Manual caricomp_manual_2001.pdf
Tide 500-AQUATRAK Electronic 500-Aquatrak.pdf
Water Transparency Secchi disk Manual caricomp_manual_2001.pdf
Wind Speed & Direction YOUNG WIND MONITOR AQ Electronic Young 05103 Wind Monitor.pdf Methods_Electronic_Wind_Speed_Dir.pdf
YSI Exo Sonde   Electronic   YSI Exo 2 Sonde.pdf

Data Download
Parameters Frequency Units Downloads
Air Temperature
(max, min, average)
15 Min celsius Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Air Temperature
Ocean Temperature
15 Min celsius Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Water Temperature
15 Min mm Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Precipitation
Solar Radiation Flux
(max, min, average)
15 Min w/m? Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Solar Radiation, Pyranometer
Relative Humidity
(max, min, average)
15 Min % Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Relative Humidity
Wind Direction
(vect mean, std. deviation)
15 Min degrees Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Wind Direction
Wind Speed
(max,min, mean horiz speed)
15 Min km/hr Bocas del Toro, Platform Tower_Wind Speed
Water Temperature 60 min Celsius
Air Temperature Daily Celsius Bocas del Toro, Station_Air Temperature, Manual
Met. conditions Daily Celsius Bocas del Toro, Station_Climate Conditions
Dissolved Oxygen Daily mg/l Bocas del Toro, Station_Dissolved Oxygen, Manual
Manual rainfall Daily mm Bocas del Toro, Station_Precipitation, Manual
Salinity Daily ppt Bocas del Toro, Station_Salinity, Manual
Water temperature Daily celcius Bocas del Toro, Station_Water Temperature, Manual
Secchi Depth Daily m Bocas del Toro, Station_Transparency, Manual

Metadata Download


Bocas Biological Censuses

In 1999, STRI initiated a mangrove, seagrass and coral censuses as part of the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) program. CARICOMP was a network of marine laboratories, parks, and reserves in 13 islands and 9 mainland countries throughout the Caribbean basin. Member laboratories monitored physical parameters, coral reefs, mangroves, and grassbeds using a common protocol to provide data for long-term comparative studies of biodiversity and productivity in Caribbean coastal ecosystems. While CARICOMP no longer exists, the censuses continue.

STRI monitors three sites (coral, reef, and mangrove) using the Level 1 protocols in the Methods Manual near the main laboratory in Bocas del Toro (See map).

Site Gradient Dec. Lat. Dec. Long.
Isla Colón Fringe A, CARICOMP 9.351917° -82.259083°
Isla Colón Fringe A, CARICOMP 9.352111° -82.259028°
Isla Colón Fringe A, CARICOMP 9.352250° -82.258972°
Isla Colón Transition 9.352083° -82.259167°
Isla Colón Dwarf 9.351944° -82.259361°
Isla Colón Land 9.352972° -82.258111°
Isla Cristobal Fringe 9.252833° -82.236333°
Isla Cristobal Transition 9.252722° -82.235861°
Isla Cristobal Dwarf 9.253389° -82.239861°
Isla Cristobal Land 9.253389° -82.239861°
Isla Popa Fringe 9.231444° -82.121306°
Isla Popa Transition 9.230194° -82.121722°
Isla Popa Dwarf 9.231444° -82.121306°
Isla Popa Land 9.231444° -82.121306°
Isla Solarte Fringe 9.309861° -82.202000°
Isla Solarte Transition 9.309861° -82.202000°
Isla Solarte Dwarf 9.310722° -82.199944°
Isla Solarte Land 9.310722° -82.199944°
For information regarding sample protocols, the following documents should be consulted:

Bocas mangrove manual_eng.pdf
Caricomp Manual _seagrass.pdf

Guzman et al, 2006 provide a summary of the monitoring program and review of the data collected until 2005.

photo 5 photo 6 photo 7 photo 8
Global Position System Station (Station Identifier = CN20)

In collaboration with UNAVCO, a permanent Trimble NETR9 GPS station was installed at the Bocas Marine Station in August of 2013. This station now forms part of COCONet. Data from this station are automatically transmitted by satellite to a central server and can be accessed at this Nevada Geodetic Laboratory web site. More information about that station can be found here:

Please read our data use policy before using any data from this page.