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Earth Expeditions

Amazon: Avian & Tropical Ecology

Journey to the Amazon and learn how communities are working to save this astonishing and irreplaceable ecosystem.

Course Details
In Amazon: June 16-26, 2020 Add 1-2 days travel time. Students arrive at least one day before the course begins.
On the Web: April – December
Credits: 7 graduate credits from Miami University; course can be applied to the Global Field Program.
Course Cost: Field course (in-country + web): $2,750
(price includes tuition for 5 graduate credits and in-country costs) + airfare to Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

Fall project course (web, required): $600
(price includes tuition for 2 graduate credits)

Course Overview

In this region of the Neotropics, reality has attained mythic proportions: More than 400 species of mammal, 1,300 bird species, 3,000 fish, 40,000 plants, and 2.5 million insect species. And still counting. The staggering diversity of the lush Amazon rainforest remains, in many ways, a mystery. Why is this area of South America the most diverse on the planet? How did such diversity—greater even than the species-rich rainforests of Africa and Asia—arise, and how is it maintained? How have the varied human groups that inhabit this region adapted to their unique environments? And perhaps the most relevant question for life on Earth, what is the future of the Amazon?

Travel to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest and work with educators, researchers, and local communities to better understand the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity in this region, and to experience firsthand the effects of human interventions in the Amazon, from deforestation and urbanization to restoration efforts by local groups. Our field sites provide an exceptional opportunity to investigate methods of avian research, and the vital roles that birds play in forest systems. We will explore how we are all linked to this magnificent rainforest, sometimes called the “lungs of the planet,” and how to develop effective actions to engage public audiences in rainforest conservation.

Prior to and following the field experience in the Amazon, students will complete coursework via Dragonfly Workshops’ Web-Based Learning Community as they apply experiences to their home institutions.