Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

Environmental Field Studies Abroad

Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Bocas del Toro provides students with an exciting opportunity to conduct research and explore the rural Caribbean and the isthmus of Panama. Bocas del Toro is home to biologically diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mangrove cays, white sand beaches, and tropical rainforests. However, poor management of both the development of these areas and the subsequent resource use by residents and tourists has put increasing pressures on these ecosystems, threatening the human, animal, and plant communities that depend on them. The curriculum of the program focuses on defining key island systems, both natural and human, and how they interface. Our research in Bocas del Toro has already revealed patterns and processes at the nexus of biodiversity, conservation, and human welfare that merit ongoing study. Through field observations and research, students identify and understand the pressures, both direct and indirect, on the environment and social systems. SEMESTER PROGRAM The central theme of the semester program is "islands as a delicate system," with emphasis on the resources of Panama's coastal and marine environments. Students will explore several key interfaces: human and natural systems, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and conservation and development. SUMMER PROGRAM This 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination with a Session II course. Session I: Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices Students in this summer program examine key aspects of tourism and environmental assessment of tropical ecosystems, and explore sustainable development strategies for the Bocas del Toro Archipelago at local and global scales.

Subjects

  • Biology (General)
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Science
  • Tropical Biology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Management Systems / Policy
  • Latin American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Research Study
  • Natural Sciences
  • Natural Resources
  • Social Sciences

Related Programs

Sustainable Development Studies

The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Costa Rica provide the opportunity for students to examine the effects of globalization on classic development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water resources. Student research analyzes different development and resource management models that protect the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people. SEMESTER PROGRAM The semester program focuses on evaluating the actual success of Costa Rica’s world-renowned conservation systems and developing alternative strategies for economic development and biodiversity conservation, such as land-use planning, organic agriculture, and conservation outside of protected areas. SUMMER PROGRAMS Each 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination. Session I: Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: Biodiversity, Conservation, & Development Student research will focus on examining the impacts of development on the environment and on society by understanding key historical and current aspects of sustainable development strategies in Costa Rica, coupled with knowledge of tropical ecosystem function and connectivity. Session II: Applied Research Techniques & Strategies Toward Sustainability The focus of this program is on developing relevant research questions that address these local issues related to sustainability. Students will be directly involved in designing and conducting field research on a topic of immediate relevance to local clients and proposing alternative approaches toward sustainable development in an effort to help address challenges to conservation goals.

The School for Field Studies

100 Cummings Center, Suite 534-G, Beverly, MA 01915 USA

Biodiversity & Development in the Amazon

From the high-elevation cloud forests of the upper Amazon watershed to the glacial lakes and tropical montane forests of the Andes, Peru’s dramatic elevation gradient easily earns it a place among the five most biodiverse countries in the world. Peru holds the second largest tract of Amazon rainforest within its boundaries, and the rich natural resources of the northern Peruvian-Amazon region have supported human populations for millennia, including indigenous groups who still live in these forests. This combination of social and ecological diversity has made Peru a leading destination for biodiversity enthusiasts, anthropologists, scientists, educators, and students from around the world. The region is critically important for researching the origin and fate of the Amazon as well as its relationships with the communities living beneath its great canopy.

Join SFS in Peru and investigate the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in the north Peruvian Amazon region. Learn firsthand about the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the extraordinary biodiversity of the Amazon region along the catchment of the western Amazon River and tributaries. Explore biological diversity and conservation, ecological interactions, and the value of ecosystem services, as well as the effects of climate change and land use on regional and global biodiversity and human well-being.

The School for Field Studies

100 Cummings Center, Suite 534-G, Beverly, MA 01915 USA

Terms & Conditions   Privacy Policy