Neotropical Ecology in Ecuador
The tropics, which occupy about seven percent of the Earth’s surface, contain the bulk of our biodiversity (maybe as high as 50%), and they also are the regions that are experiencing some of the highest rates of destruction. At the current rate of destruction, the tropical forests will be completely gone in less than 200 years. The destruction of tropical systems is having many adverse consequences: regional and global climate patterns are changing, potentially important medicinal compounds and other useful products are disappearing, and we are losing much of our biological heritage. There still exists an immense amount of knowledge to be gained from studying tropical ecosystems and a desperate need for more experts in the field of tropical biology.
The Neotropical Ecology Program consists of two courses that provide opportunities for students to learn firsthand about some of the important ecosystems found in the neotropics including: lowland rain forest, middle elevation montane and cloud forests, and the diverse ecosystems of the high elevation shrub lands (páramo). The first course begins on the UO campus in the spring and prepares students for their studies in Ecuador. It involves students developing a field project that will be conducted in Ecuador. The completion of this field project is considered part of this graded portion of the program. The second course includes field work in all of the ecosystems mentioned above, as well as lectures lead by an international team of biologists and field guides.
Check out all of the species our Neotropical Ecology in Ecuador 2022 alumni observed here.
Watch Professor Peter Wetherwax discuss the origins of the Biology Department’s Neotropical Ecology Program.
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In this program you will earn eight upper division BI credits. The program will include mandatory meetings beginning in the spring. All courses are part of the regular BI curriculum at the University of Oregon and fulfill several degree requirements. You can learn more and view syllabi by clicking "View all Courses" on the righthand side of the page.
UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.
Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.
The academic standing of at least 25 credits by departure for UO students. Completion of UO BI 213 or 283H or equivalent by the end of spring term, or by approval of faculty leader. This program involves some significant hiking and outdoor activity, students should be in good physical condition to participate.
This program has a rolling admission application process: GEO staff (and the program faculty leader, if applicable) will complete a review of the application materials of complete applications in the order that they are submitted (“first come, first serve”). Decisions about acceptance will be made shortly after you submit a complete application. There are some programs that fill fast, some even before the deadline. Students are encouraged to complete applications and commit to programs early.
Acceptance is based on a holistic review of your application. This includes a review of your GPA, transcripts (including courses taken and in-progress), any additional requirements or prerequisites (see section "Additional Requirements"), and the short statement. Some programs require a letter of recommendation from a faculty that is not the program's faculty leader. If a letter of recommendation is required, you will find more information in your GEO application portal.
This course is led by Tobias Policha PhD, a Senior Instructor in the Department of Biology, who started doing research in Ecuador over 10 years ago. You will work with additional local and international scientists and guides while in Ecuador.
While in Quito, you will stay in hotels. Other nights will be spent in shared dormitory-style rooms at remote research stations and lodges. All meals are included in the program fee with the exception of four meals. You will enjoy meals as a group. Vegetarian meals are available, but vegan meals are not always available.