SFS PANAMA: TROPICAL ISLAND BIODIVERSITY STUDIES (SEMESTER)
- 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
Bocas del Toro, Panama is home to a stunning diversity of life, from underwater reef ecosystems to rich green rainforests, and the culture of Bocas is as unique as its environments. Go behind the scenes in this “paradise” and study the impacts of tourism and development on the archipelago. Take a look at local and national environmental policies, explore the island ecosystems, and interview residents as part of an in-depth field research project on sustainability issues.
- Snorkel in the waters of the archipelago to explore coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds as you study sea stars, turtles, rays, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish.
- Visit the Pacific coast and the mountains of Boquete: Explore the Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park, take a canopy walk through cloud forest, and tour a sustainable coffee farm.
- Spend a day in Ngäbe communities: Speak with local Indigenous leaders, visit a women’s co-op, and take a forest walk with a local guide.
SFS students live and study at the Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies, once a beachfront hotel that sits among the slender palms and warm sands of Isla Colón lies the Center. You’ll take your classes over the waves of the Caribbean and among the surrounding rainforests and reefs. The laidback tourist hub of Bocas Town is a short taxi ride away, with access to shops, restaurants, and a vibrant culture that is as unique as the mix of people who live here.
- Climate change impacts
- Marine protected areas
- Rainforest biodiversity
- Tourism impacts
- Ecosystem health
- Community livelihoods and perceptions
- Species identification
- Underwater transects and quadrats
- Tourism impact assessment
- Scientific writing and communication
- Basic Spanish language
- Research design and implementation
- Data collection and analysis
- Research presentation
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