Field course Ecuador

The tropics are by far the most biodiverse areas on our planet. How did this diversity arise and how is it maintained? How can we manage tropical forests? Will tropical ecosystems survive global warming? These are some of the questions we will tackle in the course “Tropical Ecology”. The course of 4 weeks will consist of one-week intensive lectures and discussions, a two-week excursion to Ecuador and a final week with some lectures and time to write a field report.

Ecuador, located in northwestern South America, is one of the most ecologically and topographically diverse countries in South America. Ranging in elevation from sea level to over 6,000 meters, Ecuador has one of the richest floras and faunas in the world. The country boasts ~2,000 species of freshwater fish, 680 species of amphibians and reptiles, 1,435 species of birds, and about 230 species of mammals. Plants are very rich with perhaps over 25,000 species. One hectare (two football fields) in tropical rain forest in Ecuador may have over 300 tree species and close to a 1000 vascular plant species.

The first week of the course consists of introductionary lectures about rainforest ecosystems as described by the book Tropical Ecology (John Kricher), after which the second and third week will be a field trip to Ecuador! This trip takes the form of an extensive excursion in various ecosystems, going from visting the host institute at the University San Fransisco de Quito, visiting the old center of Quito followed by an excursion to the Antisanilla region high up the mountains. We will study the Páramo vegetation, hike through the Páramo as well as visiting the lower montane forest. We will transition from lower montane to lowland rainforest, visiting the famous Tiputini research station with forest excursions, night walks, visit to tree inventory plots, canopy tower and a final swim of over an hour in the Tiputini river.

Interested to know more? Check out the flyer you can download with the button below, this flyer gives you more information on the content but also logistics of the course and of course the costs involved. Students are possibly eligible for various types of funding, such as the Miquel Fund and the Alberta Mennega Stichting (application on own initiative).

NB: Please note that the dates mentioned in the flyer are from last year. The upcoming trip will take place in December 2024/January 2025.