It's hard to imagine a more intriguing comparative study system in the area of tropical plant ecophysiology than the genus Clusia" says STRI staff scientist Klaus Winter
Research at STRI carries a number of responsibilities not unlike those at academic institutions around the world. Collections, import and export of specimens must conform to the laws of Panama. Research on vertebrates requires compliance with Smithsonian animal care polices.
STRI is dedicated to understanding tropical nature through research. Research is a fundamental enterprise that is rooted in simple human curiosity. By observing patterns in nature, by imagining the possible processes that could explain their origin and persistence, by doing experiments or making more observations that cast doubt on some of these possibilities and affirm others, we arrive at an ever changing and ever better understanding of how and why nature is as we see it. Research is intellectually and at times emotionally exciting. It is a creative, risky, difficult, totally consuming and immensely rewarding activity.
This spirit of discovery and the quest to understand unite STRI researchers, whether they are senior permanent staff or short-term student visitors just beginning their careers. They define us as a community regardless of our particular interests, field of study or methodological approach.
Our methods and tools are diverse, ranging from no more than a pair of binoculars, a tape recorder, paper and pencil to study animal and human behavior, to the most advanced and sophisticated equipment necessary to study plant physiology and molecular evolution.