Director, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Matthew C. Larsen is the Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama. The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics, and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. In addition to its resident scientists, the Institute’s facilities are used annually by some 1,400 visiting scientists, pre- and postdoctoral fellows and interns from academic and research institutions who come from a quarter of all nations on Earth.
From 2010 to 2014, Dr. Larsen was the U.S. Geological Survey Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change, where he led science programs focused on climate change, land use change, and a national ecological carbon sequestration assessment. Additionally, Dr. Larsen managed the USGS USGS Landsat satellite program and the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. From 2005 to 2014, Dr. Larsen led U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources programs and served as Chair of the US National Committee for UNESCO International Hydrological Programme. Larsen’s 89 publications are in the fields of natural hazards, water resources, climate change, ecosystem services, and marine geology.
Dr. Larsen earned a B.S. in Geology from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a PhD in Geography at the University of Colorado in Boulder.