Animations & DEMS - Post-glacial Sea Level rise on the Isthmus of (1.33 GB)

Post-glacial Sea Level rise on the Isthmus of Panama

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posted on 11.03.2020 by Max Titcomb, Aaron O'Dea
Digital Object Identifier: 10.25573/data.11919276

The Isthmus of Panama is a narrow strip of land that connects the continents of North and South America and separates the Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific oceans. It is rich in native biodiversity, with tropical rain and cloud forests, island archipelagos, coral reefs, mangrove and estuarine ecosystems.

In this study our aim is to model how post-glacial sea-level rise changed the land- and sea-scapes of the Isthmus of Panama. This helps provide more precise historical context to better understand modern biogeographical patterns of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems on the Isthmus. In collaboration with the GIS unit at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute we combined bathymetric and topographic data with historical sea level data of the Western Atlantic and Tropical Eastern Pacific to produce digital elevation models, maps, and animated videos showing the changing land and sea-scapes of the Isthmus through time.

A more detailed description of the project and methods can be found here:

Aaron O'Dea Lab - Max Titcomb
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


O’Dea A, Aguilera O, Aubry M-P, Berggren WA, Budd AF, Cione AL, Coates AG, Collins LS, Coppard SE, Cozzuol MA, de Queiroz A, Duque-Caro H, Eytan RI, Farris DW, Finnegan S, Gasparini GM, Grossman EL, Johnson KG, Keigwin LD, Knowlton N, Leigh EG, Leonard-Pingel JS, Lessios HA, Marko PB, Norris RD, Rachello-Dolmen PG, Restrepo-Moreno SA, Soibelzon E, Soibelzon L, Stallard RF, Todd JA, Vermeij GJ, Woodburne MO, Jackson JBC. 2016. Formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Science Advances. e1600883.

Kenneth G. Miller, Michelle A. Kominz, James V. Browning, James D. Wright, Gregory S. Mountain, Miriam E. Katz, Peter J. Sugarman, Benjamin S. Cramer, Nicholas Christie-Blick, Stephen F. Pekar. 2005. The Phanerozoic Record of Global Sea-Level Change. SCIENCE. 10.1126/science.1116412

Redwood, S. D. 2020. Late Pleistocene to Holocene sea level rise in the Gulf of Panama, Panama, and its influence on early human migration through the Isthmus. Caribbean Journal of Earth Science, 51, 15-31. Geological Society of Jamaica.


Financial support was given by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SENACYT, Panamá).