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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

Joshua Tewksbury, Director

Thirty-five permanent scientific staff and twelve hundred visiting scientists each year at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute offer a dynamic intellectual community for students of tropical biology.  Our two areas of excellence: discovering and understanding life’s diversity, and the study of human diversity and cultural change, embrace a wide range of academic disciplines.  STRI is the world’s premier international research platform for tropical biologists working in more than forty countries.  We offer expertise, data, training programs and tools to young scientists and professionals alike. This enriches our own endeavor as STRI staff engage in collaborations and intellectual exchange with scholars and students from a wide range of partner institutions.

The Smithsonian’s history of 100 years of tropical research in Panamanian evolution, ecology and behavior of tropical organisms informs STRI’s innovative initiatives in soil science, plant physiology, canopy biology, paleoecology and climate change, molecular biology and neurobiology.

The Isthmus of Panama offers unique advantages for biodiversity research. Formed about three million years ago, the isthmus is a complex zone of contact between the floras and faunas of North and South America. In addition, it separates closely related forms of marine life that were isolated in the Atlantic and Pacific Basins. Panama’s topography and small size mean that a wide range of habitats are accessible within a short distance. Terrestrial habitats range from dry grasslands and scrub, through seasonal and evergreen lowland tropical forests, to montane and perpetually wet cloud forests. Marine environments include muddy, sandy, and rocky shores, coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses and the open waters of the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific. Rivers and lakes provide opportunities for freshwater studies. Ten modern research facilities in the Republic of Panama provide an ideal base for tropical biology research.

STRI’s headquarters, including administrative offices, library, and the Earl S. Tupper Research and Conference Center, are located in the Ancon area of Panama City. The Tupper Center houses laboratories and offices for scientists as well as an auditorium and meeting rooms. STRI’s Tropical Sciences Library is one of the most comprehensive in the world for tropical studies, receiving 500 periodicals, containing more than 60,000 volumes and offering fast, online reference services. Barro Colorado Island (BCI) is one of the best known sites in the world for the study of lowland tropical forest. A reserve since 1923, research at BCI builds on almost 100 years of scientific studies that have resulted in over fifteen hundred publications. Facilities include modern laboratories and living quarters for approximately 65 visiting scientists. The 5,000-hectare Barro Colorado Nature Monument includes the island, five mainland peninsulas, and many smaller islands, which afford opportunities for the study of primary and secondary forests, freshwater habitats, and island biogeography.

STRI’s Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archeology in Panama City is a five minute walk from its headquarters. This facility houses scientists, fellows and research assistants studying the geological rise of the Central American Isthmus, the evolution of tropical rainforests since the last glaciation, human colonization of the Isthmus and the origins of agriculture. STRI is developing major new laboratory facilities in the town of Gamboa intended to foster increased academic interchange among fields. The nearby22,000 hectare (54,362 acre) Soberania National Park,  contains lowland forest of various ages and a variety of freshwater habitats. A facility at Gamboa is also available for field courses. A station in Fortuna, Chiriqui, Panama’s western province, provides scientists with access to wet montane forests.

The STRI Tropical Forest Canopy Program uses construction cranes to study the upper canopy of tropical forests. Cranes are now in place at a dry tropical forest in the Parque Natural Metropolitano, in Panama City, and at a very wet tropical forest site on the Caribbean side, providing safe access to the forest canopies in contrasting environments. With marine laboratories on both the Pacific and Caribbean (Atlantic) coasts, STRI presents unique and unparalleled opportunities for comparative studies on the biota of the two oceans. Naos, on the Pacific, is a short distance from STRI headquarters near Panama City. The Molecular Evolution Laboratories, at the Naos Island Laboratories, host studies in evolutionary biology, genetics and molecular systematics. The Galeta Laboratories, 80 km (50 mi) north, on the Caribbean coast near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, is located at the edge of a fringing coral reef adjacent to mangrove forest. STRI’s Bocas del Toro Research Station is also located on the Caribbean on Isla Colón, near Panama's border with Costa Rica. This laboratory offers a range of services, including boats and SCUBA to provide investigators with access to an extraordinary diversity of marine and terrestrial biota.

STRI has expanded its research on animal behavior and evolutionary biology by establishing a laboratory of Evolutionary Neurobiology and Behavior. This facility focuses on comparative neurobiological and behavioral studies of tropical invertebrates with extreme body size reduction. The laboratory also provides well-equipped facilities for visiting neurobiologists; will host symposia on topics relating to brain miniaturization; and will explore connections between brain miniaturization and applied research related to engineering and information technology.

STRI scientists collaborate with research and academic organizations at sites throughout the tropics. STRI maintains formal cooperative research partnerships with colleagues in Kenya, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Brazil, Cameroon and other countries.

Large-scale, permanent forest plots at almost 80 sites in several dozen countries have been established based on standardized methods originally developed on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. These forest dynamic plots form a Global Earth Observatory network, ForestGEO, a STRI program to promote long-term biological and socio-economic research within tropical forests and forest-dependent communities, and to translate this information into relevant forest management, conservation, and natural resources policies. Many findings are tested directly by the Agua Salud Project in the Panama Canal watershed, a huge, landscape-level study of reforestation with native tree species and in close cooperation with the Panama Canal Authority and Panama’s Ministry of the Environment, MiAmbiente. At the Mpala Research Centre in the Laikipia Plateau of Kenya, scientists integrate research in disciplines ranging from wildlife/livestock management, ecology, geology, and animal physiology.

In addition to Smithsonian-wide fellowships administered by the Office of Fellowships in DC, STRI offers its own international, competitive awards to support the research of visiting students. Requests for fellowship information should be addressed to the Office of Academic Programs (Email: Information on facilities usage, housing and fees can be addressed to the Office for Visitors Services (Email: Further information on STRI facilities and research programs can be found at STRI’s web site:


Aiello, Annette, Staff Scientist. Entomologist. B.A. (1972), Brooklyn College, New York; Ph.D. (1978) Harvard University. Research specialties: Life histories, behavior, and evolution of insects, especially moths and butterflies. Contact:

Amador, Sabrina, Staff Scientist. Animal Behavior , Evolutionary Biology , Natural History. B.S. (2004), University of Costa Rica; M. Sc. (2008) Universidad de Costa Rica; Ph. D.  (2014) University of Texas at Austin. Research specialties:  Behavioral ecology, functional morphology, ethology and evolution of behavior. Contact:

Collin, Rachel, Staff Scientist, Director of the Bocas del Toro Research Station. Sc.B. (1993) Brown University; M.S. (1996) University of Washington; Ph.D. (2002) University of Chicago. Research specialties: Evolution of marine invertebrate life histories and development; systematics of marine gastropods. Contact:

Connolly, Sean, Staff Scientist, Ecology and Evolution. BA (1994) Earham College, Richmond, Indiana, USA. PhD (1999) Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. Research specialties: coral reef ecology, marine biodiversity, population & community ecology, macroecology, theoretical ecology, statistical modeling in ecology. Contact:

Cooke, Richard, Staff Scientist. Archaeologist. B.A. (1968) University of Bristol; Ph.D. (1972) University of London. Research specialties: Archaeology of New World tropics; faunal analysis; human ecology; history of fishing. Contact:

Christy, John, Staff Scientist Emeritus. Biologist. B.A. (1970) Lewis and Clark College, Oregon; Ph.D. (1980) Cornell University. Research specialties: Animal communication; sexual selection and mating systems; functional morphology; reproductive cycles, larval dispersal; behavioral ecology of intertidal invertebrates with an emphasis on fiddler crabs. Contact:

Davies, Stuart, Senior Staff Scientist, B.Sc. (1987) University of Sydney, Australia; Ph.D. (1996) Harvard University. Research specialties: Tropical forest ecology; Asian ecosystems; plant ecology; long-term ecological observatories; plant taxonomy. Contact:

Eberhard, William G., Emeritus. Biologist, Professor, Universidad de Costa Rica. A.B. (1965), Ph.D. (1969) Harvard University. Research specialties: Behavior of insects and web-building spiders; sexual selection by cryptic female choice; genitalic evolution, effects on behavior of miniaturization of nervous system. Contact:

Guzman, Hector M., Staff Biologist. B.Sc. (1979), M.Sc. (1986) University of Costa Rica; Ph.D. (1994) Newcastle University, UK. Research specialties: Ecology and population dynamic of coral reefs; sclerochronology; conservation biology; human impacts on marine ecosystems, coastal management and marine pollution. Contact:

Hall, Jefferson, Staff Scientist and Principal Investigator, Agua Salud Project. B.A. (1983) Miami University; M.F.S. (1992), Ph.D. (2002) Yale University. Research specialties: Tropical forest silviculture and management, restoration ecology, ecosystem services, secondary succession. Contact:

Hubbell, Steven, Emeritus Staff Scientist. B.A. (1963), Carleton College; Ph.D. (1969) University of California, Berkeley. Research specialties: Tropical forest ecology; theoretical community ecology. Contact:

Jackson, Jeremy B.C., Emeritus. Biologist Emeritus. B.A. (1965), M.A. (1968) George Washington University; M.Phil. (1970), Ph.D. (1970) Yale University. Research specialties: Diversity, speciation and extinction of tropical marine invertebrates; ecology and conservation of tropical coastal communities. Contact:

Jaramillo, Carlos, Staff Scientist. B.A. (1992) Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Ms. (1995) University of Missouri-Rolla , Ph.D. (1999) University of Florida. Research specialties: palynology, paleobotany, paleontology, biostratigraphy, paleobiology. Contact:

Kline, David, B. A. (1996), Ph.D. (2005). Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Research specialties: Coral Reefs and Climate Change, Computer Vision Coral Ecology, Coral Reef Ecology and Coral Diseases, Cellular physiological mechanisms for coral calcification and photosynthesis-Extending Lab Based Models to the Field. Contact:

Knowlton, Nancy, Emeritus. Sant Chair for Marine Science. A.B. (1971) Harvard University; Ph.D. (1978) University of California, Berkeley. Research specialties: Marine Biodiversity; ecology, behavior, evolution and systematics of coral reef organisms. Contact:

Leray, Matthieu, Staff Scientist, Ecology and Evolution. BA (2005) Université de Rennes I, Rennes, France. PhD (2012) Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France. Research specialties: microbial ecology, trophic ecology, symbiosis, marine biodiversity, environmental DNA, population genomics. Contact:

Lessios, Harilaos, Senior Staff Scientist. B.A. (1973) Harvard College; M.Phil. (1976), Ph.D. (1979) Yale University. Research specialties: Molecular evolution and population genetics of marine organisms; ecology of coral reefs. Contact:  

McMillan, Owen, Staff Scientist. B.Sc. (1985) Duke University, M.Sc. (1991) University of Hawaii, Ph.D. (1994) University of Hawaii, Postdoctoral (1994-1997) University of College London. Research specialties: Evolution, behavior, origins and genetic basis of adaptive variation. Contact:  

Muller-Landau, Helene Clara, Staff Scientist. B.A. (1995) Swarthmore College; M.A. (1997), PhD (2001) Princeton University. Research specialties: Plant community ecology; Ecological and evolutionary theory; Anthropogenic influences on forests; Carbon budgets of forest ecosystems. Contact:  

O’Dea, Aaron, Staff Scientist. Paleobiologist. B.Sc. (1996) Liverpool John Moores University; Ph.D. (2000) University of Bristol. Research specialties: Tropical Paleobiology; Marine ecology and evolution; Historical Ecology; Conservation Paleobiology. Contact:  

Page, Rachel, Staff Scientist. B.A. (1996) Columbia University; Ph.D. (2008) University of Texas, Austin. Research specialties: Vertebrate behavior, sensory and cognitive ecology, predator-prey interactions, signal evolution. Contact:  

Piperno, Dolores R., Emeritus. Archaeologist/Paleobotanist Emeritus. B.A. (1971) Rutgers University; M.A. (1979), PhD (1983) Temple University. Research specialties: Archaeology and human ecology of tropical regions; paleobotany and paleoethnobotany. Contact:  

Robertson, D. Ross, Staff Scientist. B.Sc. (1966), Hons. (1968), Ph.D. (1974) University of Queensland, Australia. Research specialties: Zoogeography of neotropical shorefishes; Coral reef fishes: behavioral ecology; larval, reproductive and population biology; demography. Contact:  

Roubik, David W., Staff Scientist. Entomologist. B.S. (1975) Oregon State University; Ph.D. (1979) University of Kansas. Research specialties: Tropical bees and beekeeping, ecology, systematics and behavior of bees, pollination systems; palynology; ecology and entomology. Contact:  

Salazar Allen, Noris, Scientific Staff, STRI, Research Professor and Curator of Bryophytes and Lichens, Herbarium, Department of Botany, Universidad de Panamá. B.A. (1969) Trinity College; M.A. (1973) State University of New York, Geneseo; Ph.D. (1986) University of Alberta, Edmonton. Research specialties: Biosystematics, phytogeography, morphology and evolution of tropical bryophytes; lichens of Panama. Contact:  

Saltonstall, Kristin, Staff Scientist. Molecular Ecologist.  B.A. (1992) Wellesley College; M.F.S. (1996) Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Ph.D. (2002) Yale University. Research specialties: Genetics of invasive species, invasive grasses, metagenomics, conservation genetics. Contact:  

Santos-Granero, Fernando, Staff Scientist. Social Anthropology. Licenciatura (1980) Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú; M.Sc. (1981), Ph.D. (1986) London School of Economics and Political Science. Research specialties: Native Amazonian leadership and philosophies of power; history of native Amazonian peoples; Amerindian forms of slavery and servitude; tropical American chiefdoms; Amazonian regional economies. Contact:   

Sharpe, Ashley, Staff Scientist. Archaeologist. B.A. (2009) Boston University; Ph.D. (2016) University of Florida. Research specialties: Archaeology of the American tropics, zooarchaeology, isotope analysis. Contact:

Slot, Martijn, Staff Scientist. Plant ecophysiologist. MSc (2003), Wageningen University, The Netherlands; Ph.D. (2013), University of Florida. Research specialties: Climate change impacts on photosynthesis, growth, and reproduction of tropical plants. Contact:

Spear, Erin, Staff Scientist. B.S. (2005) University of Puget Sound; Ph.D. (2015) University of Utah. Research specialties: ecology of plant-associated microbes, particularly phytopathogenic fungi; community ecology; disease ecology; tropical forest ecology. Contact:

Stallard, Robert, Staff Scientist. B.S. (1974), Ph.D. (1980) Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Research specialties: Earth-surface environmental processes with a focus on the study of water quantity and quality in streams, weathering, soil development, and erosion as related to land-cover and climate change in the tropics. Contact:  

Torchin, Mark Erik, Staff Scientist. B.A. (1991), University of California, Santa Barbara; M.S. (1994) University of Oregon; Ph.D.(2002) University of California, Santa Barbara. Research specialties: Marine population and community ecology; host-parasite interactions; invasion ecology; conservation biology. Contact:  

Wcislo, William, Staff Scientist . Biologist. B.S. (1982) University of Michigan; Ph.D. (1991) University of Kansas. Research specialties: Evolutionary biology; ethology; behavior and behavioral evolution of bees, ants and wasps; perception and learning; social evolution; brain evolution. Contact:  

West-Eberhard, Mary Jane, Emeritus Staff Scientist. Entomologist. B.A. (1963), Ph.D. (1967) University of Michigan. Research specialties: Social behavior,natural history, and evolution of wasps (especially Vespidae); social evolution; sexual and social selection; developmental plasticity and evolution. Contact:

Windsor, Donald M., Emeritus Staff Scientist. Research Biologist. B.S. (1966) Purdue University; Ph.D. (1972) Cornell University. Research specialties: Macroevolutionary studies of Tortoise Beetle (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Cassidinae) diversification related to food plant, parasitoid and mite associations worldwide. Contact:   

Winter, Klaus, Staff Scientist. Biologist. Dr.rer.nat. (1975) Darmstadt; Habil. (1983) Würzburg. Research specialties: Plant Physiology; plant physiological ecology; photosynthesis and photoinhibition; crassulacean acid metabolism; plant responses to elevated CO2. Contact: 

Wright, S. Joseph, Staff Scientist. Biologist. A.B. (1974) Princeton University; Ph.D. (1980) University of California, Los Angeles. Research specialties: Ecology of tropical forests; community ecology. Contact:  



Altieri, Andrew, Marine Biologist. B.A. (1999) University of California Santa Cruz; Ph.D. (2006) Brown University. Research specialties: marine ecology; marine conservation; coastal ecosystems; human impacts; environmental stress. Contact:

Baer, Boris, Research Associate. Biology (1993), M. S. (1995), Ph.D. (2000). ETH Zurich. Current Affiliation: University of California, Riverside. Research specialties: Sociobiology, Evolutionary biology, Sexual selection, Proteomics. Contact:

Barrios, Hector, Professor of Entomology, University of Panama. Ph.D. Instituto de Zoologia de la Academia de Sciencias. Research specialties: Entomology. Contact:

Batterman, Sarah, Research Associate. B. A. (2006), Ph.D. (2013). Current affiliation: University of Leeds. Research specialties:  Empirical, experimental and theoretical approaches of all levels of organization, from traits of individual plants to communities comprised of diverse species and plant functional types to emergent ecosystem and biome-level properties. Contact:

Bernal, Moisés A., Research Associate. B.Sc. (2008) University of Panama; Ph.D. (2015) University of Texas at Austin. Current Affiliation: Auburn University. Research specialties: Molecular ecology, genomics, fish biology, population genetics, climate change, marine biology. Contact:

Bernal, Ximena, Research Associate. B. S. (1999), M. S. (2001), Ph.D. (2007). Current Affiliation: Purdue University. Research specialties: Evolutionary Ecology, Animal Behavior, Communication. Contact:

Bohlman, Stephanie, Research Associate. B. S. (1991), M. S. (1995), Ph.D. (2004). Current Affiliation: University of Florida. Research specialties: Forest Ecology, How species/functional group composition and forest structure will respond to climate change and the effects of these responses on ecosystem functioning. Contact:

Brawn, Jeffrey, Research Associate. B.S. (1975) University of Massachusetts, Amherst; M.S. (1979) University of Missouri, Columbia; Ph.D (1986) Northern Arizona University. Research specialties: Avian Ecology, tropical ecology, comparative life histories, demography. Contact:

Breedy, Odalisca, Research Associate. B.A. (1979), M.Sc. (1986), M.A.(2003) Universidad de Costa Rica. Research specialties: study of igneous and volcano-sedimentary processes and their link to the tectonic evolution of oceans and subduction zones. Contact:

Broders, Kirk, Staff Scientist. Microbial Ecology , Disease Ecology , Evolutionary Biology. B.Sc. (2008) University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Ph.D., (2014) The Ohio State University. Population biology and evolutionary ecology of plant-associated microbes including pathogens, endophytes, saprophytes and mutualists. Contact:

Buchs, David, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2008) University of Lausanne. Research specialties: Octocoral taxonomy and biogeography, eastern Pacific and Caribbean. Contact:

Carter, Gerald, Research Associate. B.Sc. (2001) Cornell University; M.Sc. (2008) University of Western Ontario; Ph.D. (2015) University of Maryland. Current Affiliation: The Ohio State University. Research specialties: Behavioral ecology, cooperation, social bonds, bats. Contact:

Castellanos-Galindo, Gustavo A., Research Associate. B.A. (2004) Universidad del Valle, Colombia; M.Sc. (2008) Bremen University, Germany; Dr. rer. nat. (2013) Bremen University, Germany. Current Affiliation: Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) & Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Research specialties: marine ecology, fish ecology, mangrove ecology, invasion biology. Contact:

Chaverri, Gloriana, Research AssociateB.S. (1995) Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica; Ph.D. (2006) Boston University. Research specialties: Behavioral ecologist who focuses primarily on social behavior and sensory ecology. Contact:

Clark, Kasey, Research Associate. B.Sc. (2005) University of Windsor; M.Sc. (2008) McGill University; DPhil (2014) University of Oxford. Current Affiliation: University of Liverpool. Research specialties: River biogeochemistry, carbon cycle, catchment hydrology, land-use land cover change land-sea interactions, mangrove dieback, marine hypoxia. Contact:

Clay, Keith, Research Associate.  B.S. (1977) Rutgers College; Ph.D (1982) Duke University.  Research Specialties: Species interactions, community ecology, biodiversity, disease, symbiosis. Contact:

Coley, Phyllis, Research Affiliate. PhD (1981) University of Chicago. Research specialties: Tropical plant ecology; plant herbivore interactions, chemical ecology. Contact:

May-Collado, Laura, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1996) University of Costa Rica; M.Sc. (2001) University of Costa Rica; Ph.D. (2007) Florida International University, Florida. Current Affiliation: Assistant Professor at University of Vermont. Research specialties: Acoustic communication and social behavior of aquatic mammals with emphasis on cetaceans, evolution of mammalian vocal repertoires, and comparative phylogenetics. Contact:

Comita, Liza, Research Associate. B.A. (1999), M.A. (1999) University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D. (2006) University of Georgia. Research specialties: tropical forest ecology. Contact:

Cox, Christian L., Research Associate. B.S.(2005) Iowa State University; M.S. (2007) University of Alabama; Ph.D. (2012) University of Texas-Arlington. Current Affiliation: Florida International University. Research Specialties: Biological response to rapid environmental change; evolution of color; evolution of sexual dimorphism; evolution of genomic, phenotypic, and physiological diversity; usually in reptile and amphibian systems. Contact:

Crofoot, Margaret, Research Associate. B.A. (2001) Stanford University; M.A. (2003), Ph.D. (2008) Harvard University. Research specialties: primate behavioral ecology, movement ecology. Contact:

Cusack, Daniela, Research Associate.   B.A. (1999) Wesleyan University;  M.Sc. (2003) Yale University; Ph. D. (2009) University of California – Berkeley, CA.  Research area: ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and biophysical geography. Contact:

Dalling, James, Research Associate. B.A. (1988) Oxford University; Ph.D. (1992) Cambridge University. Research specialties: Seed ecology and forest regeneration. Contact:

Dechman, Dina, Research Associate.  M. Sc. (1999), Ph.D. (2005). Current Affiliation: Max Plank Institute of Ornithology. Research specialties: Behavioural Ecology, Evolution. Contact:

De Leon, Luis Fernando, Research Associate. Ph. D. (2011) McGill University. Research Interests: Evolutionary ecology, adaptive divergence, ecological speciation, genomic of adaptation, gene flow, human impacts on evolution, eco-evolutionary dynamics Contact:

Della Togna, Gina, Research Associate. Ph.D (2015). Current Affiliation: Universidad Interamericana de Panama. Research specialties: The reproductive physiology of amphibians for the development and application of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in endangered populations.

Dent, Daisy, Research Associate.  (1998),  Ph.D. (2004). Current Affiliation: University of Stirling. Research specialties: Tropical Ecology; identify the effects of human disturbance on tropical forest ecosystems. Contact:

Dick, Christopher William, Research Associate. B.A. (1990) Hampshire College; Ph.D. (1999) Harvard University. Research specialties: tropical forest ecology, biogeography, and ecological genetics of tropical forest trees. Contact:

Dudley, Robert, Research Associate. Ph.D. (1987) University of Cambridge. Research interest:  Biomechanics, functional morphology, and evolution of animal flight; Physiological ecology of tropical insects, particularly flight energetics and migration; Evolutionary origins of human alcoholism in primate frugivory.  Contact:

Elias, Marianne, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1994) University of Paris Sud, France; M.Sc. (1996) University of Montpellier, France; Ph.D. (2000) University of Montpellier, France. Current Affiliation: CNRS Senior reseacher, Muséum National d'Histoire Naurelle, Pais, France. Research specialties:diversification, speciation, adaptation, community ecology, mimicry.  Contact:

Emlet, Richard, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1977) Duke University; Ph.D. (1985) University of Washington, Seattle. Current Affiliation: Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon. Research specialties: Larval ecology and evolution; Functional morphology and biomechanics of microscopic larvae; Echinoderms and their development.  Contact:

Engelbrecht, Bettina, Research Associate.  Ph.D. (2006) University of Darmstadt. Research interest: Functional Ecology, Ecophysiology, Tropical Ecology, Plant Population Ecology, Community Ecology, Global Change Ecology. Contact:

Escobar, Jaime, Research Associate.  BS (2002), M. Sc. (2005), Ph.D. (2010). Current Affiliation: Universidad del Norte. Research specialties: Geology, Natural resources. Contact:

Fernandez, Hermogenes, Research Associate.  BS (1995), MS (2000), Ph.D. (2006). Current Affiliation:  INDICASAT. Research specialties: Evolution, Ecology, Behavior or leaf cutter ants, Host-parasite interactions, Diverisity and behaviour of honey bees. Contact:

Freestone, Amy, Research Associate.  BS (2000), Ph.D. (2005). Current Affiliation: Temple University. Research specialties: Ecology and Conservation of Species Diversity Contact:

Geipel, Inga, Research Associate. Diplom (2008) University of Goettingen, Germany; Ph.D. (2014) University of Ulm, Germany. Current Affiliation: University of Antwerp, Belgium. Research specialties: Bioacoustics, behavior, and sensory ecology of bats, predator-prey interactions of bats and insects. Contact:

Gilbert, Edward, Research Associate. B.S. (1994) University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; M.S. (2002) Arizona State University, Ph.D. (2022 - expected) Arizona State University. Current Affiliation: Arizona State University. Research specialties: biodiversity informatics, open-access data science, data standards, decentralized data networks, sustainable IT research infrastructure, global change biology, community engagement. Contact:

Gilbert, Gregory, Research Associate. B.S. (1985) State University of New York; M.S. (1988), Ph.D. (1991) University of Wisconsin, Madison. Current Affiliation: University of California, Santa Cruz. Research specialties: Plant disease ecology, fungal community ecology, and tropical forest ecology and conservation. Contact:

Herrera, Amalia, Research Associate.  BS (1978), MS (1981), Ph.D. (1985). Research specialties: Taxonomy, Contact:

Hiller, Alexandra, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2005) Justus-Liebig-University.  Research Interest: The evolutionary history of Porcellanidae. Contact:

Hirsch, Ben, Research Associate. B.A. (1997) Emory University; Ph.D. (2007) Stony Brook University. Current Affiliation: James Cook University. Research specialties: Animal behavior, social mammals, coatis, seed dispersal, movement ecology, collective decision making. Contact:

Isaza Aizpurúa, Ilean, Alexandra, Research Associate. Licenciatura (1993) Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara; M.A. (1997) Boston University; Ph.D. (2007) Boston University. Current Affiliation: Marcus Institute for Aging Research and COIBA-AIP. Research specialties: Archaeology; Settlement Patterns; Complex Societies; Ethnohistory; Identity; Maritime and Coastal Archaeology; and Project Management. Contact:

Jiggins, Christopher, Research Associate. B.A. Hons (1993) University of Cambridge; Ph.D. (1997) University College London. Current Affiliation: University of Cambridge. Research specialties: Genetic basis of adaptation and speciation in mimetic butterflies. Contact:

Johnson, Maggie D., Research Associate. B.A. (2005) Colby College; M.S. (2011) California State University, Northridge; Ph.D. (2016) Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Current Affiliation: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Research specialities: Coral reef ecology in a changing climate- community ecology and ecophysiology of corals and algae under warming, ocean acidification, and deoxygenation. Contact:

Jones, Frank (Andy), Research Associate. Ph.D. (2004). Current Affiliation: Oregon State University. Research specialties: The Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms responsible for the origin and maintenance of plant diversity. Contact:

Kapheim, Karen, Research Associate.  Ph.D. (2010). Current affiliation: Utah State University. Research specialties: The evolutionary processes responsible for the diversity and plasticity of complex traits. Contact:

Kays, Roland, Research Associate. B.A. (1993) Cornell University; Ph.D.(1999) University of Tennessee. Current Affiliation: North Carolina State University. Research specialties: Temperate and neotropical mammals, especially carnivores; radio-telemetry; non- invasive surveys; spatial ecology; canopy biology. Contact:

Keiner, Christina, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2001), Johns Hopkins University; B.A. Biology (1993) McDaniel College. Research interest: The history of tropical environmental science and environmental politics. Contact:

Kelley, Patrick, Research Associate. A.B. (2001) Harvard University; Ph.D. (2012) University of California-Davis. Current Affiliation: University of Wyoming. Research specialties: Behavioral ecology, especially of birds; animal communication, predator-driven behavioral plasticity, nest predation, behavioral mechanisms of community structure (including seed dispersal and group formation & maintenance). Contact:

Kitajima, Kaoru, Research Associate. B.A. (1984) University of Tokyo; M.S. (1987), Ph.D. (1992) University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Current Affiliation: Kyoto University. Research specialties: Plant functional traits; physiological ecology of tropical trees; seed and seedling ecology; plant-soil interactions; functional basis for plant invasion. Contact:

Knorschild, Mirjam, Research Associate. Biology (2005),  (2009), Ph.D. (2013). Ulm University.  Current Affiliation: Free University of Berlin. Research specialties: Animal Behavior, acoustic communication, cognition, learning and social behavior of mammals, particularly bats Contact:

Laliberté, Etienne, Research Associate. B.Sc. (2001) McGill; M.Sc. (2006) Université de Montréal; Ph.D. (2010) University of Canterbury. Current Affiliation: Université de Montréal. Research specialties: Plant community ecology, plant functional ecology, remote sensing of plant biodiversity, plant-soil interactions. Contact:

Lamarre, Greg, Research Associate. B.A. (2005) University of Rennes 1, France; Msc (2007) University of Rennes 2, France; Ph.D. (2013) University of French West Indies & French Guiana. Current Affiliation: laboratory “Biodiversity and Climate Changes”, Department of Ecology, Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences. Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic. Research specialties: Functional aspects of plant and insect herbivores interactions, and ecology of tropical insect community, response of Lepidoptera to climate changes (thermal tolerance), phenology, conservation biology and biological education. Website: Contact:

Lasso, Eloisa, Research Associate. Biology (1996), M. Sc. (2001), Ph.D. (2007). Current Affiliation: University of Los Andes. Research specialties: Ecology y Plant physiology in the tropics. Contact:

Lasso, Marixa,Research Associate. Ph.D (2002) University of Florida; M.A. (1996) University of Pittsburgh. Research Interest: Anthropology. Contact:

Leung, Brian, Research Associate. Ph.D. (1999) Carleton University; B.Sc (1993) University of British Columbia. Research Interest: Research and Integrated Sustainability Model Contact:

Loaiza, Jose, Research Associate. Biology (), M. S. (2004), Ph.D. (2010). Current Affiliation: INDICASAT. Research specialties: Disease ecologist with expertise in vector-borne pathogens. Contact:

Lopez, Omar, Research Associate. B. Sc. (1994), Ph.D. (2002). Current Affiliation: INDICASAT. Research specialties: Ecology and Evolution Contact:

Lucas, Peter, Research Associate. B. Sc. (1976), Ph.D. (1980). Current Affiliation: Kuwait University. Research specialties: Biological anthropology studying primate feeding ecology and feeding processes. Contact:

Mangan, Scott, Research Associate.  Ph.D (2008) Indiana University. Research Interest: Identifying the mechanisms that lead to the organization and function of biological communities is a fundamental goal in ecology.  Contact:

Martin, Arnaud, Research Associate, B.Sc. (2005) École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; M.Sc. (2007) École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Ph.D. (2012) University of California, Irvine. Current Affiliation: The George Washington University. Research Specialities: Evolution of development, evolutionary genetics of lepidopteran insects, with a main focus on the genetic basis of color pattern formation. Contact:

Medina, Daniel, Research Associate. B.A. (2009) Universidad de Panama; M.S. (2011) Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Ph.D. (2018) Virginia Tech: Current Affiliation: Sistema Nacional de Investigación (SNI) of SENACYT. Research specialties: Community, microbial and disease ecology, herpetology, amphibian conservation. Contact:

Mejia, Luis, Research Associate. B. S. (2002),  Ph.D. (2009). Current Affiliation: INDICASAT. Research specialties: Plant-Microbe interactions; Biology, ecology, and systematics of plant associated fungi; Molecular Phylogenetics, Plant immunity. Contact:

Mendizabal, Tomas, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2005) University College London; B.A. (1995) University of Liverpool. Research Interest: The later Precolumbian period in the eastern region of the country (AD 1 to 1500) and historical archaeology encompassing the Colonial, Departmental and Republican periods of Panamanian history from 1501 to the mid-20th century. Contact:

Merrill, Richard, Research Associate. M.Sc (2006) University of Oxford; Ph.D. University of Cambridge.  Research Interest: How the evolution and genetics of behaviour impact on animal diversity Contact:

Meylan, Anne, Research Associate. B.S. (1974), M.S. (1978), Ph.D. (1984), University of Florida. Current Affiliation: Eckerd College. Research specialties: Reproductive biology, ecology and migrations of marine turtles; global status of hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Contact:

Meylan, Peter, Research Associate. B.S. (1976), M.S. (1980), Ph.D. (1985) University of Florida. Current Affiliation: Florida Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Commission’s, Florida Marine Research Institute. Research specialties: Ecology, phylogeny, systematics and paleontology of reptiles especially turtles. Contact:

Meylan, Peter, Research Associate. B.S. (1976), M.S. (1980), Ph.D. (1985) University of Florida. Current Affiliation: Florida Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Commission’s, Florida Marine Research Institute. Research specialties: Ecology, phylogeny, systematics and paleontology of reptiles especially turtles. Contact:

Montgomery, Stephen, Research Associate. B.A. (2007) University of Cambridge; Ph.D. (2012) University of Cambridge. Current Affiliation: University of Bristol. Research specialties: evolutionary neurobiology, neuroecology, cognitive ecology, behaviour. Contact:

Moreno, Ricardo, Research Associate. MS (2006). University of Panama. Research specialties: Population ecology. Contact:

Nottingham, Andrew, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2010) University of Cambridge. Current Affiliation: University of Leeds. Research specialties: Soil biogeochemistry, plant-soil interactions, soil microbial ecology, forest ecology, ecosystem carbon dynamics and global change. Contact:

O'Mara, Teague, Research Associate. B.S. (2001) Grand Valley State University; Ph.D. (2012) Arizona State University. Current Affiliation: Southeastern Louisiana University. Research specialties: Movement ecology, behavior, and physiology. Contact:

Parker, Ingrid, Research Associate. Ph.D. (1996). Current Affiliation: University of California, Santa Cruz. Research specialties: Population biologist, intersection of ecology and evolution, species interactions, particularly plant disease, pollination, and plant-human interactions  Contact:

Pimiento, Catalina, Research Associate. B.Sc. (2006) Universidad Javeriana, Bogota; M.Sc. (2010) University of Florida; Ph.D. (2015) University of Florida. Research specialties: Paleobiology, ecology, shark biology, marine megafaunal extinctions. Contact:

Potvin, Catherine, Research Associate. B. Sc. (), M. Sc. (), Ph.D. (1985). Current Affiliation: McGill University. Research specialties: Tropical forest ecology, conservation and climate change. The role of Indigenous peoples in climate change innovations. Contact:

Puebla, Oscar, Research Associate. B. Sc. (2000), M. Sc. (2003), Ph.D. (2009). Current Affiliation: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Research specialties: Marine speciation, local adaptation, sexual selection, recombination, Genomics, Behavior. Contact:

Ranere, Anthony, Research Associate. B.A. (1964) Harvard University; M.A. (1968 Idaho State University; Ph.D. (1972) University of California, Davis. Research specialties: Archaeology of the American tropics; origins of agriculture; early human colonization of the Americas; lithic analysis. Contact:

Robles, Samuel, , Research Associate. B.A. (1995) Universidad Santa María La Antigua; M.M. (1998) University of Cincinnati; M.A. (2000) University of Chicago; D.Mus. (2011) North-West University. Current Affiliation: Centro de Investigaciones Históricas, Antropológicas y Culturales AIP. Research specialties: History and ethnography of the processes of cultural adaptation/negotiation and identity forging in the Circum-Caribbean region, traditional music of Panama, Latin American Composers. Contact:

Rodríguez Reyes, Oris, Research Associate. B.A. (2003) Universidad de Panamá; MSc. (2009) Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; PhD (2015) Royal Holloway, University of London. Current Affiliation: Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Biodiversidad, Universidad de Panamá. Research specialties: Wood anatomy, paleobotany, paleontology, leaf morphology, fossil woods, Eocene-Miocene plant fossils, paleofloras. Contact:

Ryan, Michael, Research Associate. B.A. (1975) Glassboro State College; M.S.(1977) Rutgers University; Ph.D. (1982) Cornell University. Current Affiliation: University of Texas, Austin. Research specialties: Evolution and mechanisms of animal behavior, especially animal communication and sexual selection. Contact:

Salem, Hassan, Research Associate. B.A. (2008) Earlham College; Ph.D. (2014) Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. Current Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Biology. Research specialties: Symbiosis, host-microbe interactions, herbivory, ecology and evolution of mutualisms in insects. Contact: hassan.salem@tuebingen.mpgde

Salgado Bonnet, Jorge, Research Associate. B.A. (2004) Universidad de Los Andes; MSc. (2006) University College London; Ph.D. (2012) University College London. Current Affiliation: University of Nottingham, UK. Research specialties: Freshwater ecology, paleolimnology, invasive species, environmental change, historical ecology, aquatic plants. Contact:

Sanchez-Azofeifa, G. Arturo, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1990) University of Costa Rica; M.Sc. (1993), Ph.D. (1996) University of New Hampshire. Current Affiliation: University of Alberta. Research specialties: Hyperspectral remote sensing, tropical dry forests, wireless sensor networks. Contact:

Santiago, Louis, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2003). Current Affiliation: University of California, Riverside. Research specialties: Environmental Physiology; Ecosystem Science; Evolutionary Physiology; Stable Isotopes; Tropical Biology. Contact:

Sarmiento, Carolina, Research Associate. B.S. (2004) Universidad de los Andes - Bogotá, Colombia; M.Sc. (2006) Universidad de los Andes - Bogotá, Colombia. Current Affiliation: University of South Florida. Research specialties: Ecology, Microbial Ecology, Plant-fungal Interactions. Contact: or

Sayer, Emma, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2005). Current Affiliation: Lancaster University. Research specialties: Ecosystems response to change. Contact:

Schnitzer, Stefan A., Research Associate. Ph.D. (2001) University of Pittsburgh. Current Affiliation: Marquette University. Research specialties: Plant Community Ecology; Tropical Forest Ecology; Plant Competition; Ecology of Lianas. Contact:

Scott, Jarrod J., Research Associate. BSc (2002) University of Texas, Austin; Ph.D. (2011) University of Wisconsin. Current Affiliation: none. Research specialties: Microbial ecology, microbial genomics, symbiosis, bioinformatics, open science, coevolution. Contact:

Sedio, Brian, Research Associate. B.S. (2007) Texas A&M University; Ph.D. (2013) University of Michigan. Current Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin. Research specialties: Community ecology, chemical ecology, ecological metabolomics, plant-insect and plant-pathogen interactions. Contact:

Sertich, Joseph, Research Associate. B.S. (2004) Colorado State University; M.S. (2006) University of Utah; Ph.D. (2011) Stony Brook University. Current Affiliation: Colorado State University. Research specialties: Dinosaur evolution and ecology; Late Cretaceous paleoecology; Crocodyliform phylogenetics and biogeography. Contact:

Shik, Jonathan, Research Associate. B.Sc. (2003) McGill University; Ph.D. (2010) University of Oklahoma. Current Affiliation: University of Copenhagen. Research specialties: Evolution, Ecology, Physiological Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, insects, fungus-farming ants. Contact:

Spalding, Ana, Research Associate. B. A. (1999), M. A. (2004), Ph.D. (2011). Current Affiliation: Oregon State University. Research specialties: Integrated coastal management, resource use and property regimes, international marine policy, and marine protected areas. Contact:

Srygley, Robert, Research Associate. B.A. (1983) University of Washington; Ph.D. (1991) University of Texas. Current Affiliation: USDA. Research specialties: Physiology, behavior, evolution and ecology of insect migration, predator- prey interactions, and flight. Contact:

Symes, Laurel, Research Associate. B.A. (2007) Denison University; Ph.D. (2013) Dartmouth College. Current Affiliation: Assistant Director, K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics, Cornell University. Research specialties: Bioacoustics, conservation biology, ecology, evolution, insects, katydids, machine learning approaches, Orthoptera, predator-prey interactions, speciation. Contact:

Tanner, Edmund, Research Associate. B. Sc. (1973) University of London; Ph D (1977) University of Cambridge. Research specialties: Tropical forests, nutrients, water, trees, biodiversity, forest dynamics.

Tarwater, Corey, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2010) University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; M.S. (2006) University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; B.S. (1999) University of California, Davis. Research Interest: Temporal variation and impacts of climate change on tropical avian demography and avian communities and the role of the juvenile period in life history strategies and demography. Contact:

Taylor, Ryan, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2004). Current Affiliation: Salisbury University. Research specialties: Animal behavior; Role of multimodal signal assessment in sexual selection. Contact:

Ter Hofstede, Hannah, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2008) University of Toronto; M.Sc. (2003) York University; B.Sc. (1998) University of Guelph. Research Interest: Sensory systems and how this process interacts with the behaviour and ecology of animals. Contact:

Thacker Robert, Research Associate.  Ph.D. (1995) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor;  M.S. (1992) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; B.S. (1990) Duke University.  Research Interest:  Understanding the ecology, evolution of sponge-microbe interactions and building new digital infrastructure for studying phenotype evolution. Contact:

Tschapka, Marco, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2008). Current Affiliation: University of Ulm . Research specialties: Animal - plant interactions and Ecological background of emerging diseases Contact:

Valdespino, Iván, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1988) University of Panama; M.A. (1992) Lehman College, City University of New York; M.Phil. (1992), City University of New York; Ph.D. (1995) City University of New York. Current Affiliation: University of Panama and National Research System of Panama. Research specialties: Plant systematics, particularly Ferns and Lycophytes; systematics, taxonomy, evolution, and ecology of Selaginella (Selaginellaceae) with emphasis in the Neotropics; biodiversity management and conservation.

Van Bael, Sunshine, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2003). Current Affiliation: Tulane University. Research specialties: Community ecology, vertebrate ecology, microbial ecology, plant-animal-fungal interactions, multi-trophic interactions, tropical agriculture and biodiversity.. Contact:

Van Breugel, Michiel, Research Associate.  MSc (1997), Ph.D. (2007). Current Affiliation: Yale NUS College. Research specialties: Ecology of forest and trees in human-modified landscapes Contact:

Velasquez-Runk, Julie, Research Associate. Ph.D. (2005). Current Affiliation: Wake Forest University. Research specialties: Cultural Anthropology. Contact:

Villarreal A., Juan Carlos, Research Associate. Associate professor at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. B.Sc. (2003) Universidad de Panamá, M.Sc. (2005) Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ph.D. (2011) University of Connecticut, Postdoctoral (2012-2014) Botanischer Garten, München (LMU), Germany; (2015) Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland; (2015) Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  Research specialties: Evolution, bryophyte taxonomy and systematics, symbiosis of plants (especially bryophytes and cycads), lichens and microbes. Contact: Site web:

Vollmer, Steven, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1994) Colorado State University; M.Sc. (1999) California State University Ph.D. (2004) Harvard University. Research Interest: Coral speciation and hybridization, the genetics coral immunity and disease resistance, and the nature and structure of coral microbiomes. Contact:

Wake, Thomas, Research Associate.  Ph.D., (1995) University of California, Berkeley; M.A., (1988) University of California, Berkeley; B.A., (1986) University of California, Berkeley.  1986.  Research Interest: Archaeological and Zooarchaeological, development of Social Complexity; Neotropical Archaeology; Historical Archaeology; Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction; Human Impacts; Osteology. Contact:

Warkentin, Karen, Research Associate. B.Sc. (1985) University of Guelph; M.Sc. (1990) Dalhousie University; Ph.D. (1998) University of Texas, Austin. Current Affiliation: Boston University. Research specialties: Phenotypic plasticity, behavioral ecology & ecological developmental biology of amphibians, especially egg and larval stages; Predator- prey interactions and inducible hatching; Vibrations as an information source; Ecology of fear. Contact:

Wulf, Janie, Research Associate.  Ph.D. (1986). Current Affiliation: Florida State University. Research specialties: The ecology of sponges and the organisms with which they interact as mutualistic partners, competitors, and prey, especially in coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves. Contact:

Yanoviak, Stephen, Research Associate.  Ph.D. (1990). Current Affiliation: University of Louisville. Research specialties: Tropical arthropod ecology, behavior and conservation. Contact:

Zalamea, Paul-Camilo, Research Associate. B.S. (2004) Los Andes University; M.Sc. (2006) Los Andes University; Ph.D. (2010) University of Montpellier; Current Affiliation: University of South Florida, Department of Integrative Biology. Research specialties: Plant ecology, seed ecology, plant defenses, plant-microbial interactions, pioneer trees.

Zotz, Gerhard, Research Associate. M.Sc. (1989); Ph.D. (1993) University of Wuerzburg, Germany. Research specialties: Ecology of vascular and non-vascular epiphytes; tropical biodiversity; ecophysiology of mosses. Contact:


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