The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library (STRI Library), also known as the Earl Silas Tupper Library in Tropical Biology, is located at Portobello Avenue, Ancón, Panama City, Republic of Panama. The Branch has sublocations on the Island of Barro Colorado, on the Gatun Lake of the Panama Canal, and on Colón Island, at the research station in the province of Bocas del Toro. The Library supports research, publications, exhibits and public programming of the Institution, as well as those of other museums and research institutions in Central America and Panama.
In 1923, the Institute for Research in Tropical America, a group that included private foundations, universities and the Smithsonian Institution, established a research laboratory on Barro Colorado Island, and became one of the first biological reserves in the New World. It was managed by the National Research Council, and its purpose was to investigate the flora and fauna of tropical America. In 1949, the facility was renamed the Canal Zone Biological Area and, by Act of Congress on July 2 of that year, was placed under the control of a board composed of the heads of several executive departments and prominent scientists. In 1946, the reorganization plan approved by Congress transferred operations to the Smithsonian Institution. The Canal Zone Biological Area was incorporated into the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 1966 to provide continuity to the research program conducted at BCI and to establish a center where students from all over the world could conduct tropical research under conditions similar to those of an academic institution. More information on STRI can be found in its website at http://www.stri.si.edu.
The STRI Branch collects research, research-oriented, academic and highly technical materials in: animal behavior, anthropology, archaeology, biodiversity, bioprospection, bryology, canopy studies, conservation of the tropics, coral reefs, ecotourism, educational and outreach programs, entomology, evolution, geology, global change, herpetology, history of natural history, indigenous groups, long-term monitoring projects, mammology, marine invertebrates, molecular biology, nature legislation, ornithology, paleoecology, pharmacognosy, plant physiology, plant taxonomy, phycology, primatology, natural and protected areas, research policy, and the Panama Canal and its watershed. There are over 34,000 monographs, 24, 000 serial volumes, 500 maps and 6,000 microfiche/microfilms. The collection is housed in its own building since 1983 and a renovation in 1994 increased the space to 1,800 square meters. The Special Collections protects over 600 monographs and one serial title from the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.