The Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Panama are two ecosystems only a few miles apart, and are a paradise for divers. Irene Mendez Cruz has been photographing the beautiful, diverse and fragile marine life there.
Panama is where ‘two oceans kiss’: it is the narrowest strip of land between the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Caribbean waters which are warmer, saltier, more dense and rich in nutrients, make the perfect habitat for one of the most diverse coral reefs in the world.
Meanwhile, the deeper and cooler waters of the Pacific combined with highly active currents and a high concentration of plankton, host impressive schools of fish and marine mammals, attracting every year millions of tourists and nature aficionados. Unfortunately, these two radically different but equally fascinating ecosystems are not in pristine conditions anymore and have to face the global threat of plastic pollution.
About the photographer
Irene Mendez Cruz is a passionate French-Venezuelan wildlife and underwater photographer who has recently graduated from Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University.
Her passion for the natural world and conservation has led her to work in South and Central America, in both video and photography, with renowned institutions such as the Galápagos National Park, the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Her book Kiss of the oceans is a celebration of the marine wildlife around Panama.