American science and empire have a long mutual history. In American Tropics: The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
(University of North Carolina Press, 2017), Megan Raby
takes us to Caribbean sites that expanded the reach of American ecology and tropical biology. Research stations in Cuba, British Guiana, Panama and Jamaica served as laboratories for Americans in search of knowledge from “the tropics.” Here, often at the expense of local populations and resident scientists, U.S. scientists developed the concept of biodiversity as they worked to make sense of the species and ecosystems at their doorstep.