For over a century, researchers at Barro Colorado Island (BCI), part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, have been studying the rich biodiversity and complex ecosystems of the tropical rainforests of Panama.

Barro Colorado is a unique and valuable site for scientific research, and its contributions to our understanding of tropical biology and conservation are immeasurable. 

June 2024

Science Symposium & Alumni Reunion

The centennial symposium (June 17-20) will feature invited and contributed scientific talks, poster presentations, and discussion panels on the past, present, and future of tropical forest science including the outsize impact Barro Colorado Island has had on the field of tropical biology.  It will be preceded by the first-ever BCI alumni reunion June 16. 

100 years of groundbreaking tropical forest research

Barro Colorado Island has been extensively studied, leading to numerous discoveries and insights into tropical ecosystems, making it the most studied piece of tropical real estate and the site of the longest-running conversation in tropical biology.

100 years of
preserving biodiversity

Barro Colorado Island was established as a nature reserve in 1923 and has since played a critical role in the preservation of the region’s unique and fragile biodiversity.

100 years of collaboration

Countless scientists from around the world collaborate and form partnerships that have advance our understanding of tropical ecosystems, making Barro Colorado Island Research Station a model for science diplomacy

100 years of training the next generation of scientists

Students and young scientists on Barro Colorado Island gain valuable experience and training in tropical biology, shaping the future of the field.

100 years of inspiring
public awareness

Public day-visits to Barro Colorado Island raise awareness of the importance of tropical ecosystems, inspiring conservation efforts and a greater appreciation for the natural world.

100 years of advancing sustainability science

The long term research at Barro Colorado Island contributes to the sustainability science, seeking to balance human needs with the long-term health of the planet’s ecosystems.

To mark this momentous occasion, we are hosting events and activities throughout the year, including exhibitions, talks, and public programs. We invite you to join us in celebrating 100 years of discovery and wonder at BCI. 


Visit our NMNH Exhibition and Museo del Canal Exhibition to learn more about the history and science of BCI. And don’t forget to stop by our gift shop to pick up a memento of your visit.

May – August, 2023

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, EEUU

May – October, 2023

Museo Del Canal Interocéanico, Panama City, Panama

BCI 100
News and Events

Stay up-to-date on the latest news and events happening at BCI, including talks, and field trips. 

April 17th, 2023

Happy Birthday BCI

100 Years of Tropical Biology at the Smithsonian’s Barro Colorado Island Research Station in Panama.

November 24th, 2022

BCI Birthday Begins

Barro Colorado 100 Years of Discovery and Wonder exhibit opens in Washington.

100 years of research

Explore the history of research at BCI through our stories, videos, and scientific bibliography. From the groundbreaking studies of the past to the innovative research of today, BCI has been at the forefront of tropical biology for 100 years.

Visit Barro Colorado

Experience the wonder of BCI for yourself by participating in our public program. From guided hikes to wildlife watching, there’s something for everyone at BCI.