At Home in the Field: Smithsonian Tropical Field Stations inthe U.S. Panama Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama

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Discusses the background of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the re-invigoration of its research programs in tropical biology by director Martin H. Moynihan in the 1950s and 1960s. Also traces the role of Ira Rubinoff as director during the 1970s through 1990s, especially the closer ties he fostered with the now independent Panama. Covers the STRI's responsibilities for the Barro Colorado Nature Monument and the STRI relationship with the Kuna Yala Nation and research facilities on their San Blas Islands.


  • Carmichael, Leonard 1898-1973
  • Moynihan, M
  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • Rubinoff, Ira
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
  • Panama Canal Treaty of 1977
  • Kuna General Congress
  • Panama Canal Act of 1979


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Forms part of a special issue on tropical biology in The Americas which includes other articles related to Smithsonian history. Christen was a Smithsonian Institution postdoctoral fellow and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Contained within

The Americas Vol. 58, No. 4 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Rain forest ecology
  • Directors
  • Panama Canal (Panama)
  • Cuna Indians
  • Indians of South America


  • Barro Colorado Nature Monument (Panama)
  • Panama
  • San Blas Islands (Panama)
  • Barro Colorado Island (Panama)

Physical description

Number of pages: 39; Page numbers: 537-575

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