Scientists Leaving Barro Colorado Island, by Hitchcock, A. S (Albert Spear) 1865-1935, 1923-1924, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, A group of scientists leaves Barro Colorado Island in a small boat, during 1923. Smithsonian staff were in Panama with the Institute for Research in Tropical America, a group of private foundations and universities under the auspices of the National Research Council, who first established a research laboratory on Barro Colorado Island, Panama Canal Zone, in order to investigate the flora and fauna of tropical America. It was called the Canal Zone Biological Area (CZBA). Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone. The boat is in Gatun Lake. Barro Colorado Island eventually became the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute..