Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone (1910-1912)

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The Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone was conducted by the Smithsonian Institution between 1910 and 1912. It was a comprehensive survey of the native flora and fauna of the isthmus of Panama prior to the completion of the Panama Canal. It was conducted at the behest of naturalists across the United States who voiced their concerns over the need to record the natural environment before the canal permanently altered the region. The survey was supported by other institutions including the Field Museum and the University of Chicago. Initially the survey only to covered the Canal Zone, but with the support of the Republic of Panama, the parameters expanded to include the entire nation. Work began in late 1910 and was conducted by scientists from the Smithsonian, US government, and universities. Principal participants included Edward A. Goldman (US Bureau of Biological Survey) who collected birds and mammals; Seth E. Meek (Field Museum of Natural History) and Samuel F. Hildebrand (US Bureau of Fisheries) who collected reptiles, amphibians and fishes; Eugene A. Schwarz and August Busck (US Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology); Henri Pittier and Albert S. Hitchcock (US Department of Agriculture), William R. Maxon (U.S. National Museum) who collected plants.


National Museum of Natural History. (2012). "Celebrating 100 Years. Panama 1910-1912: Biological Survey of Panama. " Retrieved from

Date Range

1910 - 1912


  • Herpatology
  • Animals
  • Entomology
  • Birds
  • Ichthyology
  • Mammalogy
  • Plants
  • Botany
  • Ornithology


  • Panama
  • Canal Zone


Expedition name