Tropical Research and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute History Research Guide

Welcome to the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Tropical Research and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) History Research Guide. This is a select list of freely-available resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about tropical research and STRI history. Please feel free to Contact Us with suggestions for additional resources or with questions.

STRI Bibliography, Databases, and Images

  • STRI Bibliography: Search by year, author, or title on the STRI webpage to access the continuously updated listing of over 14,000 citations of STRI research output; pulls from the Smithsonian Research Online.
  • Smithsonian DSpace Repository: Many SI publications are made available as downloadable pdfs via the Smithsonian Digital Repository; sory by Community to locate STRI-specific materials, including the Center for Tropical Forest Science, Datasets, STRI News and Trópicos.
  • SI Scholarly Profiles: A tool which highlights Smithsonian staff and scholarship. 
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: Online library featuring open access legacy literature from the Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Institution Archives and a consortium of other natural history and botanical libraries.
    • Field Guides in BHL: Open access links to over 100 digitized field guides in the Biodiversity Heritage Library with topics including Panama, Barro Colorado Island, the Canal Zone, researchers Wetmore, Moynihan, and more.
    • Barro Colorado in BHL: Open access links to more than 3,200 digitized items concerning Barro Colorado Island, Panama in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
    • Bocas del Toro in BHL: Open access links to more than 1,500 digitized items concerning Bocas del Toro, Panama in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
    • Galeta in BHL: Open access links to over 200 digitized items with keyword Galeta in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (*pre-20th century false hits).
    • Naos in BHL: Open access links to over 900 digitized items with keyword Naos in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (*some will be false hits for STRI-related material).
    • Panama in BHL: Open access links to more than 46,000 digitized items concerning Panama in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  • STRI Digital File Manager: This is an ongoing project to make as many of STRI's digital archives available to the general public as possible. In this archive we provide access to not only photos, but also video and audio recordings, publications, reports, posters, etc. Other photographs may be searched in the Smithsonian Institution Archives (see below).
  • STRI Databases: List of scientific databases developed by STRI providing data and information biodiversity, flora, fauna, and other research conducted by the institute.
  • ForestGEO: Homepage for a network of scientists and forest research sites dedicated to advancing long-term study of the world's forests with over 65 research sites across the world. 
  • MarineGEO: The Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO), directed by the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network (TMON), is a global network of partners focused on understanding how coastal marine ecosystems work—and how to keep them working.
  • Panama Species Database: Database featuring images and geographic information about the over 24,000 species in Panama observed and cataloged by STRI researchers.
  • Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific: Guide created by STRI researchers to the shorefishes and environments of the Pacific coast of the Americas from Baja California, Mexico to Northern Peru. The guide includes a database of fishes including descriptions and images.

Smithsonian Institution Archives and STRI

  • Visit the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute webpage on the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) website.
    • This spreadsheet of STRI collections items in the SIA includes a listing all the records, personal papers, and oral histories regarding STRI at the SIA, created June 2018. To find more details about any of these collections, please go to the SIA website and search by the collection number (leading zeroes included). If no “hit” results that links to a finding aid, it may not be one online. Please contact the Archives Reference Team with any questions.
      • The first 31 pages list all instances of index terms identifying STRI, CZBA, or Barro Colorado. There is duplication of collection numbers.
      • Pages 32-42 display isolated individual collections. Also, this list includes all records about STRI (Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, public affairs, exhibitions, etc.).
      • The final pages 43-47 only list collections that came from STRI or individuals who did research in Panama, or Oral Histories that mention STRI.
    • SI Archives-150 Years of Smithsonian Research in Latin America: Over the past century and a half, Smithsonian scientists have found a fertile field for collaborative research and exploration in Latin America.
    • SI Archives-Barro Colorado: Digital Items from the Smithsonian Archives related to the Barro Colorado island and the STRI research center based there.
    • SI Archives-Canal Zone: Digital Items from the Smithsonian Archives related to the Panamanian Canal Zone.
    • SI Archives-Panama: Digital items from the Smithsonian Archives related to Panama.
    • SI Archives-Photographs: Over 5,000 digitized photographs of STRI research, staff, and grounds. Note: more STRI photographs can be found in the Digital File Manager database on the STRI website.
    • SI Archives-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute: Digital items from the Smithsonian Archives related to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  
  • National Anthropological Archives (NAA): The National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives collect and preserve historical and contemporary anthropological materials that document the world's cultures and the history of anthropology. Their collections represent the four fields of anthropology – ethnology, linguistics, archaeology, and physical anthropology – and include fieldnotes, journals, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, maps, sound recordings, film, and video created by Smithsonian anthropologists and other preeminent scholars. Search NAA collections via the Smithsonian Collections Search Center or the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA). Panamanian collections in the NAA include research correspondence with anthropologist and archaeologist Olga Linares in the Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans papers, and anthropologist and librarian Carol F. Jopling photographs of Kuna, Choco, and Guaymi of Panama.

Related Library Resources

Tropical Flora and Fauna

  • Avibase: Online bird database with range, multi-lingual name, and taxonomic information. It includes information for over 11,000 species and 12,000 regions.
  • Bryozoans of The Pacific: Database featuring location and deption information about Bryozoans, filter feeding invertebrates, found off the Pacific coast of Panama.
  • Costa Rica Thermic Dome: Website from the MarViva research organization featuring information about the Costa Rica Thermic Dome marine diversity hotspot, including species information, temperatue data, and photos, videos, and maps.
  • Field Museum Guías de Campo: Field Guides concerning flora and fauna worldwide available in free downloadable pdfs; many created with STRI support.
  • Flora Mesoamericana: Spanish language taxanomic and descriptive database of plants found in Southern Mexico and Central America.
  • The Flora of Panama: Database from the Missouri Botanical Garden of more than 7000 known plant species in Panama, including habitat and distribution information. Full text of the Flora of Panama articles are accessible within the digitized volumes of the Missouri Botanical Garden Bulletin in the Biodiversity Heritage Libary. Refer to the Flora of Panama Checklist and Index Part I (v. 17 1987) and Part II (v. 18 1987) to identify volumes and issues of articles. Additions to the flora of Panama, with comments on plant collections and information gaps by Ortiz, Campos-Piñeda et al published in 2019.
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility: Interface for searching open access biodiversity data, especially species occurrence information, from across the world.
  • International Plant Names Index (IPNI): Searchable database of names, and associated bibliographical details, of plants, ferns and lycophytes.
  • Mammal Diversity Database: Online database from the American Society of Mammologists featuring information about mammal taxonomies and biodiversity with a focus on recent taxonomic revisions and species description changes.
  • North American Butterfly Association: Association for people in North America interested in butterflies. Their site includes data from their butterfly counts, how to take part in the counts, and butterfly gardening and habitats.
  • Ocean Biogeographic Information System: Database which includes species taxonomy information, ocean and country biodiversity datasets, and distribution data for marine life.
  • RAINBIO: Downloadable database of georeferenced occurance data of plants from sub-Saharan tropical Africa.
  • Tropical Rain Forest (San Diego Zoo): Browesable collection of guides to plants and animals which live in tropical rain forests. Each guide provides behavioral, habitat, and conservation information, as well as images.
  • Tropicos: World's largest botanical database, from the Missouri Botanical Gardens, featuring over 4 million specimen records, 2 million distribution records, and 230,000 images.
  • VertNet: Vertebrate Database created from FishNet, MaNIS, HerpNET, and ORNIS. VertNet contains over 20,000,000 records from more than 380 collections across all vertebrates.

Tropical Research Organizations

Related Natural History Resources

  • BioMuseo: STRI affiliated museum featuring eight galleries about the origin of the Panamanian isthmus and its impact on the planet’s biodiversity.
  • Databases for Science Research: List of science research databases from the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of the databases are free access, but others require users to be onsite at a Smithsonian library or have Smithsonian network access.
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF): An international network and research infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing open access to data about all types of life on Earth.
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System: Taxonomic database searchable by scientific and common names maintained through a partnership of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican federal agencies including the Smithsonian.
  • Marine Plants of Pacific Panama: Searchable database of marine plants with descriptions, taxonomy, images, and habitat and distribution information.
  • Science Teaching Resources (Life Science): Collection of Life Science related lessons, activities, literacy resources, and videos from the Department of Education at the National Museum of Natural History.

Associations and Societies - Panama

  • ANCON: Una organización no gubernamental, sin fines de lucro, con más de 30 años de trabajo ininterrumpido, conservando los recursos naturales y la biodiversidad de Panamá para las presentes y las futuras generaciones.
  • Asociación de Antropología e Historia de Panamá: Panamanian Historical and Anthropological Association.
  • Autoridad del Canal de Panama (ACP): The Smithsonian works closely with the ACP, which manages all aspects of the Panama Canal waterways and shorelines.
  • Ministerio del Ambiente: Ley 8 del 25 de marzo de 2015, se creó el Ministerio de Ambiente y se modificaron disposiciones de la Autoridad de los Recursos Acuáticos de Panamá. La Ley establece que el Ministerio de Ambiente es una entidad rectora del Estado en materia de protección, conservación, preservación y restauración del ambiente y el uso sostenible de los recursos naturales para asegurar el cumplimiento y aplicación de las leyes, los reglamentos y la Política Nacional de Ambiente.
  • SENACYT: A close partner with STRI's mission, the Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación is an autonomous institution located in the Ciudad de Saber whose mission is to "Turn science and technology into sustainable development tools for Panama."

Other Links of Interest

Last Updated February 13, 2023