PROGRAM TITLE:	Tropical Biological Diversity Program (TROBID)
ACTIVITY STREAM:	Assessment
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Ecological Systems and Dynamics

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY (NMNH)
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

SCIENTIFIC MERIT:  Tropical ecosystems undoubtedly house a large 
percentage of the world's total biological diversity, but millions of species 
remain to be discovered and identified and the distributions of most described 
species are very poorly known.  The future of these important areas is 
threatened by human alteration, i.e. burning and fragmentation, and global 
climate change which will cause widespread distributional changes, including 
the extinction of many species of ecological and economic importance.  
TROBID is geared to 1) inventory the biodiversity and document species 
distributions in these vanishing habitats, especially tropical forests, 2) 
monitor changes in biodiversity through repeated standardized sampling of 
flora and fauna at permanent sites and to 3) identify the physical and 
biological processes of growth and decline and 4) identify the physical and 
biotic consequences resulting from habitat fragmentation.  As a natural 
outgrowth of these areas of inquiry and the program's linkages an active 
program of workshops and training of local biologists in biodiversity 
inventory methods is included.

TROBID is composed of four subprograms: the Biological Dynamics of Forest 
Fragments (BDFF) program based in Manaus, Brazil which conducts 
investigations into the microclimatic and biotic changes that take place in 
isolated forest fragments of various sizes; the Biological Diversity of Latin 
America (BIOLAT) program which supports research on all aspects of 
biodiversity, including standardized inventory and monitoring at initial 
permanent stations in Peru and Bolivia; 3) the Biological Diversity of the 
Guianas (BDG) which inventories and documents the flora and fauna of the 
region a 4) Botanical Survey of Panama (BSP) which inventories and 
documents plant distributions in Panama.

TROBID programs build on more than ten years' experience and hundreds of 
man months at a network of fixed-site research stations.  Large data bases exist 
for species inventory, long-term monitoring and collections information.  
TROBID programs have contributed to the publication of the landmark Four 
Neotropical Rainforests documenting work at Pakitza, Manaus and Barro 
Colorado Island.

STAKEHOLDERS:  In addition to its linkages in the U.S. with public and 
private organizations, the program is firmly based in international 
cooperation, operating as a joint venture with INPA in Brazil, the Museo de 
Historia Natural in Peru, the University of Guyana, the University of 
Panama, and other universities and conservation and research entities in 
Latin America.  A large and important part of the program is training and 
institutional and research support for host country students and scientists 
involved in biodiversity research.

POLICY RELEVANCE:  TROBID programs are directly related to the objectives 
of the proposed Global Change and Ecological complexity (GCEC) and the 
established Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) projects of the 
IGBP.  Research objectives relate to ecosystem processes, fluxes and energy 
balance in tropical areas, species and ecosystem distribution, and threshold 
responses.

In the short term, BIOLAT will focus on completing Pakitza studies and 
producing published results.  BIOLAT will add additional sites to the program 
and refine data collection techniques producing a methods series in English 
and Spanish. BDFF will initiate collaborative work with researchers from 
other sites focusing on those in Four Neotropical Rainforests book. BDFF will 
also begin and OTS training course for Brazilian graduate students.

PROGRAM CONTACTS:

SI SGCR Representative:	Ted A. Maxwell
		NASM MRC 315
		Smithsonian Institution
		Washington, D.C.  20560
		202 357 1424
		FAX:  202 786 2566
		Email: tmaxwell@ceps.nasm.edu
	
Bureau Representative:	Marsha Sitnik
		NMNH MRC 106
		Smithsonian Institution
		Washington, D.C.  20560
		202 357 2670
		FAX: 202 786 2934
		Email: nmhod004@sivm.si.edu