The reefs found in windward (exposed) habitats of the islands, are less diverse in species of corals and have a lower rate (8%) of live coral cover, while the reefs in the protected habitats (leeward), are the most diverse and higher (32%) coverage of live coral.

The macro-algae showed a similar pattern with an average coverage of 50%, higher when compared with reefs described for Ensenada Grande de Almirante (4%), south of the archipelago.

Was recorded a 35% increase in the number of coral species to Bocas del Toro, while the total known species for the region is 54, which represents 88% of total diversity for Panama. We found that the reefs of Bastimentos Island National Marine Park does not represent the variety of habitats, species diversity and abundance that are present in other locations outside the protected area boundaries.

In addition, coral reefs had the highest species diversity of the other groups studied. This evaluation found 121 species of algae (excluding calcareous crust), 36 sponges, 36 octocorals, 82 of mollusks collected in this study, but counting the site with more than 500 recognized species, the number associated with reefs coral should be much higher, 39 crustaceans, relatively low, since many of them are critical and difficult to collect, and more than 100 species of fish.

However, the great value of these ecosystems, by both high biodiversity as well as the importance to the livelihoods of local people, as this is where they get their food, most reefs are deteriorating rapidly especially for overfishing, sediment discharge and increased uncontrolled tourism.

(Rapid Ecological Study of the region of the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park)