Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Matthew Larsen

photo of Matthew Larsen

Matthew C. Larsen is the director emeritus of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama City, Panama. His 90+ publications are in the fields of natural hazards, water resources, climate change, and marine geology. Dr. Larsen has led research projects in the United States, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was STRI director from 2014 to 2020. From 2005 to 2014, he served as Chair of the US National Committee for UNESCO International Hydrological Programme. 

To learn more about Dr. Larsen visit his page on the STRI website:

Read more: Smithsonian’s “Jurassic Park” Research Island

Upcoming Tours

Panama and Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America

8 days | Starting at: $4,650
Jan 24, 2022 - Jan 31, 2022

From Colón to Puerto Caldera Aboard the 184-guest Le Champlain
Tour Details ››

Costa Rica: Nature’s Laboratory

8 days | Starting at: $5,580
Apr 10, 2022 - Apr 17, 2022
Jun 18, 2022 - Jun 25, 2022
Tour Details ››

A Q&A with Expert Matt Larsen

Q. What do you want Smithsonian travelers to know before they visit STRI on their behind-the-scenes visit?

A. STRI scientists offer unbiased information about tropical environments—from rain forests to coral reefs—for the public good. Our science serves all sectors of society in the U.S., in Panama where we are based, and throughout the tropics. As a premier U.S. tropical research platform, we host unusually large-scale longterm studies. More than 1,400 scientists and students from academic and research institutions around the world visit STRI every year. Also, I would encourage you to watch the video on the Smithsonian Journeys website (for the Panama Canal cruise) to learn more about STRI, and of course, to visit our website as well!