This accession consists of the research materials of Neal Griffith Smith (1937-2012), an ornithologist and tropical biologist who received his Ph.D. from Cornell University
in 1963 and then spent his entire career working for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Particularly well documented is Smith's graduate research on Arctic
birds on White, Southampton, and Baffin Islands in the Northwest Territories (now known as Nunavut). Other research topics include urania (Uraniidae) hawks, vultures, and
peripatus (Onychophora). Much of his research was performed on Barro Colorado Island and other areas of Panama. This accession also includes research materials and other documents
that had originally been maintained by James Zetek, an entomologist and the first resident director of the Canal Zone Biological Area (also known as the Barro Colorado Nature
Monument), and later maintained by Smith. Materials include field notes, journals, photographs, audiovisual materials, observation sheets, species lists, notes, correspondence,
reference materials, and related materials.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Ocana was interviewed for the Smithsonian Institution Archives Oral History Collection because of his research career in agronomy in Panama, as a professor at the University
of Panama and researcher and administrator at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
This interview of Ocana by Pamela M. Henson of Smithsonian Institution Archives discusses his family, education, work as an agronomist and professor in Panama, and
career at STRI, especially his agriforestry project. The collection consists of 2.5 hours of audiotape recordings and 34 pages of transcript. For a videotaped interview of
Ocana at the site of the agriforestry project on Gigante Peninsula, see Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9553, Conservation of Endangered Species Videohistory
Gilberto Ocana (1931-2004), agronomist specializing in tropical flora, received the B.S. from the Ecole Nationale d'Agriculture in Alger, Algeria, in 1955. From 1955
to 1960, he served on the staff of the Servicio Interamericano de Cooperacion Agricola en Panama and taught at the Agricultural School of the University of Panama from 1961
to 1963. In 1967, he received the Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of California at Riverside. He then returned to the University of Panama, serving as Dean as
well as Professor of Agronomy. In 1980, he joined the staff of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) as manager of the Barro Colorado Nature Monument, a nature
preserve consisting of Barro Colorado Island and its surrounding peninsulas. While at STRI, he developed an experimental farm at Las Pavas on the Gigante Peninsula that would
restore soils destroyed by cattle grazing and provide a comfortable income for small farmers. He retired from STRI in 1993.
Restricted. Contact SIHistory@si.edu to request permission.
Tropical tree height and crown allometries for the Barro Colorado Nature Monument, Panama: a comparison of alternative hierarchical models incorporating interspecific variation in relation to life history traits