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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution, Panama

STRI, based in Panama, is dedicated to understanding biological diversity.

galetaThe Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) in Panama, is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution based outside of the United States, is dedicated to understanding biological diversity. What began in 1923 as small field station on Barro Colorado Island, in the Panama Canal Zone, has developed into one of the leading research institutions of the world. STRI’s facilities provide a unique opportunity for long-term ecological studies in the tropics, and are used extensively by some 900 visiting scientists from academic and research institutions in the United States and around the world every year. The work of our resident scientists has allowed us to better understand tropical habitats and has trained hundreds of tropical biologists. STRI aims to offer research facilities that allow staff scientists, fellows, and visiting scientists to achieve their research objectives. The 38 staff scientists reside in the tropics and are encouraged to pursue their own research priorities without geographic limitations. The continuity of their long-term programs enables in-depth investigations that attract an elite group of fellows and visitors. Active support for fellows and visitors leverages resources further and attracts more than 900 scientists to STRI each year. Although STRI is based in Panama, research is conducted throughout the tropics. STRI's Center for Tropical Forest Science uses large, fully enumerated forest plots to monitor tree demography in 14 countries located in Africa, Asia and the Americas. More than 3,000,000 individual trees representing 6,000 species are being studied. STRI's Biological Diversity of Forest Fragments project created experimental forest fragments of 0.01, 0.1, and 1.0 km 2 to study the consequences of landscape transformation on forest integrity in the central Amazon region. STRI marine scientists are conducting a global survey of levels of genetic isolation in coral reef organisms.


The Galeta Marine Laboratory

GaletaM_p09aThe Galeta Marine Laboratory is located on the Caribbean coast of Panama in the Province of Colon. It was established in 1964. The main priority is research, but we also value communicating the results of this research to non-scientific audiences in order to increase awareness and understanding of the natural world. Our Educational Program offers guided visits to students, tourists and the general public. In these visits, we explain the unique ecosystems and wildlife of Galeta and emphasize the importance of conserving the environment we share.


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VIDEO: "Punta Galeta: Many Places in One"
Avideo documentary about Punta Galeta
Duration: 24 minutes

Description: Galeta Point Marine Laboratory is a field station of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal. Panamanian film maker Enrique Castro captures the story of Galetas research, education and public outreach programs using the narrative of Dr. Stanley Heckadon-Moreno. For fifty years scientists have studied local coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangrove forests. The camera follows Dr. Wayne Sousa, University of California at Berkley, as he studies his long term mangrove plots. Ricardo Thompson describes the scientific instruments that record key physical data that determine if the Caribbean is changing. Heckadon recalls Galetas environmental education program that has built bridges between the scientific research and the Panamanian classrooms; and the public outreach programs, one with the fishermen of the barrio of La Playita; the other The Smithsonian Talk of the Month were STRI scientist explain to the community the nature of their research. The film shows the current threats facing Galeta given the ongoing destructive style of economic development.