After a number of years studying different environmental parameters in the various coastal areas of the province of Colon, located on Panama’s Caribbean coast, the places where Gracilarias de Panama today carries out its experimental marine farming activities were chosen.
In 2002 Gracilarias de Panama made some experimental studies with what at that time was believed to be the Eucheuma cottoni variety, to verify its cultivation potential and its contribution to preserving the coastal areas.
The Colon coastline has undergone various environmental setbacks due to the country’s maritime development and associated activities. However, the marine algae farms have meant the creation of buffer zones that protect the ecosystems in this area of the Panamanian Caribbean (Batista et al., 2004). They also use methods that are completely environmentally friendly.
The studies carried out in the experimental farms showed that the crop produced enough material for export and also met the expectations of local inhabitants.
Research and experiments completed in 2008 and 2009 in the Biology Department of the University of Las Palmas determined that the species cultivated in Panama by Gracilarias de Panama was Kappaphycus alvarezii (Doty). This was made possible by the use of molecular techniques and phylogenetic analysis of the rbcL gene, commonly accepted in the identification of red algae (García-Jiménez et al., 2008, Robaina, Batista, 2009).