Tropical Conservation Semester – Course Descriptions


Tropical Ecology I: Terrestrial Ecosystems  (4 credits)

An in-depth treatment of ecological principals and a survey of major tropical ecosystems. You’ll study the ecology and conservation status of flora and fauna in each system, practice methods for biological surveys and monitoring, and learn about key environmental threats — all necessary elements for planning and executing successful conservation projects. Visits to Ceiba’s El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve, plus a three-week stay in the Amazon rainforest highlight this hands-on learning adventure. (details  •  syllabus)


Tropical Ecology II: Marine Ecosystems  (4 credits)

An introduction to oceanography and an exploration of the ecology, evolution and conservation of marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves and the deep sea. We discuss the many ways humans rely on the oceans, and how fisheries and marine reserves are managed. Three weeks in the Galapagos Islands Marine Reserve, including a cruise of the islands and a home stay with a local family, make this course a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (details  •  syllabus)


Conservation Biology  (3 credits)

A thorough introduction to the science of conservation biology combined with experiential learning in a variety of terrestrial and marine communities of conservation concern. This course covers the theoretical background for conservation problems and addresses concepts such as population biology, habitat loss and fragmentation, land use, reserve design and management, and sustainable development in the context of the tropical ecosystems and human communities we visit. (details  •  syllabus)


Conservation Internship  (2 credits)

Put your knowledge gained in the ecology, conservation, culture and language of Ecuador to work in ongoing conservation projects! During the final month of the semester, students work with a local organization to gain first-hand experience and contribute tangibly to an active project in habitat protection, ecological research, environmental education, or sustainable development. Choose among internships located on the Pacific coast or in the Andes, in rural communities or remote field stations, or in many other exciting places throughout Ecuador. (details  •  syllabus)


Spanish Language & Cultural Immersion  (3 credits)

You will be paired with an Ecuadorian host family in the capital city of Quito, and placed in a 3-credit Spanish language course taught by experienced native speakers. Pre-course placement exams ensure you receive training appropriate to your existing command of the language. Intensive classes teach grammar, vocabulary and the richness of Latin American culture, helping you to adapt smoothly to life in Ecuador and communicate effectively during the program and beyond. Spanish classes take place on an attractive university campus just outside Quito. (details)