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

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


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