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Ecuador Tropical Biology 

Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity

Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity


On this 25-day course, students study animal and plant biodiversity, as well as cultural approaches to conservation and sustainable practices. Students participate in lectures, discussions with local stakeholders, field activities, as well as ongoing service work at locally-based research stations. Students learn overland survey techniques for mammals and birds. Additionally, students learn survey techniques while snorkeling through the Galápagos Islands, shadowing researchers in the Amazon rainforest, and hiking through the Andes mountains for a comparison of three ecological zones, all with differing challenges, each in different stages of development.

“The people you meet on this trip are invaluable if you are pursuing a career in biology or conservation. ” — Danielle Barbiero, Brockport, NY


  • Understand the process of communication in order to effectively communicate the diversity of Ecuadorian conservation theories
  • Describe the biochemical nature of the environment, and explain the inter-linkages between Andean, Amazonian, and Galápagos ecosystems
  • Understand the potential benefits provided by the three eco-environments, as well as the threats to those environments
  • Understand some of the reasons why the threats to Ecuadorian resources are difficult to control in political and environmental contexts
  • Explain a historical perspective of environmentally protected area programs in Ecuador, and to identify existing issues
  • Understand the rationale for and benefits of stakeholder involvement in protected area planning and management, as well as the requirements for implementing and facilitating effective participatory processes
  • Convey the message that research and monitoring is essential for good management and stewardship
  • Perform and understand standard monitoring methods


  • Ecuadorian geography, history & culture.
  • Characteristics of tropical environments.
  • Andes Mountains: Natural history.
  • Andean climate regimes and ecosystems.
  • Plant & animal biodiversity.
  • Rainforest communities & nutrient cycling.
  • Evolutionary theory & population genetics.
  • Research field methods. Deforestation and its impacts.
  • Oceanographic characteristics of the Galapagos.
  • Human impacts on Galapagos biodiversity.
  • Conservation: Galapagos Marine Park and National Park

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At a Glance

Ecuador Tropical Biology
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Community Service & Academics
  • 15 Hours
  • 3 Credits
College Credit
  • 3 natural science Credits
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