Smithsonian opens climate change lab in Panama

The Smithsonian Institution opened its first lab outside the United States on Wednesday, a $20-million research center in Panama that will study the effects of climate change on tropical forests.

Billed as the largest scientific laboratory in Central America, it will monitor carbon dioxide levels and study how trees are changing with the changing climate, said Matthew Larsen, director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Funded by private donations and US government funds, the Washington-based institute's latest venture is located in the central Panamanian town of Gamboa, along the route of the Panama Canal.

It will also study the impact of climate change on animals, officials said.

"We are extremely happy with this investment by the Smithsonian in Panama because it expands our capacity for studying ecosystems and helps better understand our biological diversity," Panamanian Environment Minister Mirei Endara told AFP.

Panama, one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, is threatened by as well as deforestation and growing urbanization.


Explore further

Panama debate fueled by zircon dating: Americas connected earlier than thought

© 2016 AFP

Citation: Smithsonian opens climate change lab in Panama (2016, September 22) retrieved 17 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-09-smithsonian-climate-lab-panama.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
14 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more