Smithsonian Field Station Gets the Boot

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Science  29 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5368, pp. 1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5368.1340a

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Joseph Alper After 21 years of hosting studies of Caribbean coral reef ecology on the coast of Panama, the San Blas research station, a satellite facility of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, will close on 1 July. The reason, Smithsonian officials admit, is that they failed to recognize and allay suspicions about the station's activities among local Kuna Indians, who voted last fall to end the institution's $3000-a-month lease. A new monitoring station will eventually open some 500 kilometers to the west, but several long-term reef monitoring projects will end, including one that uses San Blas data as a baseline for the entire Caribbean.