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  • Locations: Bocas del Toro, Panama
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: The School for Field Studies (SFS) 
  • Restrictions: WFU applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2021 08/15/2021 08/16/2021 08/30/2021 12/10/2021
Spring 2022 01/01/2022 01/15/2022 01/31/2022 05/13/2022
Fall 2022 03/15/2022 03/15/2022 TBA TBA
Spring 2023 10/15/2022 10/15/2022 TBA TBA
Program Description:
TROPICAL ISLAND BIODIVERSITY STUDIES,

PANAMA

PROGRAM DETAILS
 

Terms: Fall, Spring

Credits: 18 semester-hour credits

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouraged

Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans


OVERVIEW
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.

Students gain an understanding of the interdependence of the livelihood strategies of island residents, population structure of key species, and habitat arrangements and conditions. Equipped with foundational knowledge, students then apply sustainability principles to define potential management strategies.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Explore lowland evergreen rainforests, and experience the diversity of plants and animals, such as insects, birds, monkeys, sloths, plants, and several species of poison dart frogs, including the emblematic strawberry poison dart frog

Snorkeling to identify species such as sea stars, corals, jellyfish, coral reef fish, stingrays, and sea turtles, as well as to research human impacts on coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and other marine habitats

Visit indigenous communities and learn about livelihood strategies as well as the challenges of adapting to a rapidly changing economic environment

Interview and interact with local stakeholders including government agencies, nonprofits, and educational and business leaders to understand the complex implications of management on ecosystems

 
DIRECTED RESEARCH
Through Directed Research (DR)—as opposed to basic, applied, or independent research—students conduct research on a specific topic that is part of the SFS Center’s long-term strategic research plan, which has been developed in partnership with local community stakeholders and clients.

The course, taught by resident SFS faculty, provides students with the opportunity to apply the scientific process in a mentored field research project that addresses a local environmental issue. Through the DR project, students contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions.