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Herrera, Amalia

Marine Biologist

I have a B.S. in Biology with specialization in Zoology from the University of Panama. And Third Cycle Doctor in Oceanology (Ph. D.) from the University of Aix-Marseille II, in France.

I have been high school teacher at the Ministry of Education in Panama, and researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, with Dr. Jeremy Jackson.

During these last 25 years I have worked on bryozoans from the Caribbean and Tropical Eastern Pacific, doing what I like most: Research in Ecology, Taxonomy and Evolution. And currently, I am Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


Geographic Focus

Background And Education

Education And Training

  • Ph.D. in Oceanology, Universite Aix Marseille II , Oceanology, Etudes morphologiques et bio-ecologiques des Copepodes parasites de quelques poissons marins des cotes languedociennes 1980 - 1986
  • B.S. in Biology, University of Panama , Biology School, Inventario y analisis ecologico de algunos parasitos de peces comerciales, del Pacifico de Panama 1972 - 1978

Professional Biography

  • I have a B.S. in Biology with specialization in Zoology from the University of Panama, in which I also obtained a certificate for teaching at high school. Later I obtained a Doctorate of Third Cycle (Ph.D.) in Oceanology at the University of Aix Marseille II, France.

    My bachelor's and doctoral theses focused on applied biology (aquaculture and fishing). And although I taught at the University of Panama and at public high schools, most of my professional life was developed at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, studying and learning about marine bryozoans from both coasts of the Isthmus of Panama.

    Thereby, I studied their taxonomy by examining the morphology of the exoskeleton and the fleshy parts. The ecology, investigating their distribution and abundance along the coasts and intertidal zones of Panama. The natural history doing experiments on breeding: to study growth, survival and cross-fertilization, with the most abundant species found on the Caribbean reefs. And the evolution using morphometric characters to discriminate the species of recent and fossil cupuladriids, and to analyze their phylogenetic relationships. The specimens used in this work had ages between early Miocene to Recent, and were distributed from the Caribbean to the eastern tropical Pacific.

    I have recently completed the curation of 22 dredging collections and 11 in intertidal zones made in coastal and insular areas of the gulfs of Panama and Chiriqui, between 1986 and 1996. And together with STRI OIT, we have put on line the Database: The Bryozoan from the Pacific. Currently I am working on the description of the new species.

Awards And Honors

Research And Grants


Selected Publications

  • Article

  • Chapter

    • Schäfer, Priska, Herrera-Cubilla, Amalia, and Bader, Beate. 2012. "Distribution and zoogeography of Cheilostome Bryozoa along the Pacific coast of Panama: comparison between the gulf of Panama and gulf of Chiriqui." In Bryozoan Studies 2010. Ernst, Andrej, Schäfer, Priska, and Scholz, Joachim, editors. 287–302. Berlin: Springer. In Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences. 2012
    • Cortes, Jorge, Nielsen, Vanessa, and Herrera-Cubilla, Amalia. 2009. "Bryozoans." In Marine Biodiversity of Costa Rica, Central America. Wehrtmann, I. S. and Cortes, J., editors. 413–416. Springer Science Business Media B. V. 2009
  • Report

    • Herrera Cubilla, Amalia. 2016. Conservacion de Colecciones de Historia Natural Briozoos o "Animales Musgo". Panama, Republica de Panama: Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion and STRI. 2016
  • Webpage

    • Herrera-Cubilla, Amalia. 2017. Bryozoans of The Pacific. Bryozoans of The Pacific. Apr 11, 2017 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. 2017
    • Cheetham, Alan H., Sanner, Joann, Jackson, Jeremy B. C., Taylor, Paul D., Ventocilla, Yira, and Herrera-Cubilla, Amalia. 2010. Bryozoans. Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America. University of Iowa. 2010



Teaching Overview

  • I was a biology trainer for first-year students at the University of Panama. And I teach basic sciences and biology at the Ministry of Education for high school students. From 1980 to 1985 I got a temporary work permit from the Ministry of Education to do the doctorate in France.

Reviewer Of

Teaching Activities

Organizer Of Event

Professional Service Activities


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