Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

About STRI

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution. STRI, based in Panama, is one of the world's leading institutions for researching biological diversity, conducting long-term ecological studies and is home to 900 visiting scientists who study tropical habitats.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facility


  • STRI features multiple research projects and initiatives, such as the Center for Tropical Forest Science which monitors 6,000 species of 3,000,000 individual trees in 14 countries.
  • The Biological Diversity of Forest Fragments project studies the consequences of landscape transformation in the Amazon. 
  • Marine scientists study levels of genetic isolation in coral reef organisms.

Princeton in Panama Field Semester

Princeton partners with STRI for a 12- week course in which Princeton students conduct research in the Amazon ecosystem to learn about natural history, ecology, and conservation. Students conduct their research in Gamboa, a small town located on the east bank of the Panama Canal, about 30km from STRI's main headquarters in Panama City. Gamboa provides laboratories to study lowland tropical rainforests and streams of Soberania National Park.