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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Bocas del Toro, Panama
  • Program Terms: ISP
  • Restrictions: NCF applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Tuition Paid to New College: Yes
Program Description:
***Only those students who have applied and been accepted to this ITEC program can go ahead and submit their New College off-campus study forms by clicking on the APPLY NOW button above.***

Please note that the deadline to submit your ISP Description Form in the Registrar's Office is December 2.

FIELD COURSE INTERNSHIP ISPTropical Rainforest and Canopy Ecology

Alfred Beulig, Ph.D.  Professor of Biology (Emeritus) 
Phone: 941-487-4374
Prof. Beulig will be available in Rm 110, Palmer Bldg. C, for personal interviews.

Peter N. Lahanas, Ph.D. 
ITEC and Northeastern University
Phone: 352-367-9128

Bill Maher
Tree Climber Coalition
251 Oak Grove Rd.
Dawsonville, GA 30534,
Phone: 706-216-2402 or 216-1679

PROGRAM SPONSOR (Local Office): Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC) - Click here to apply to the program on the ITEC website.
2911 NW 40th PL
Gainesville, FL 32605
Phone:  352-367-9128

TUITION FEE: $1500 USD (includes all lodgings, meals, airport transfers and local transportation to area filed sites), paid to ITEC.

AIRFARE: Students are responsible for their own airfare to and from Panama. They may contact the ITEC office in Gainesville for travel advice.

FINANCIAL AID from the New College Foundation Coral Reef Ecology-Panama Fund is available as well as the New College Student Research and Travel Grant.  Students should apply to these and other funding sources early and plan adequately for this opportunity.  Please contact Prof. Beulig for more information.

INSURANCE: The ITEC application requires students to have their own insurance and be able to show proof of insurance.  Without it, they will not be admitted to health facilities in Panama if there should be an emergency.  Please contact ITEC for more information.

Students must be at least 18 years old to participate in the program.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This ISP will be presented at the Bocas del Toro Biological Station in Bocas del Toro, Panama.  The course is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the ecological concepts and field techniques as applied to tropical rainforest ecosystems. Also provided is the opportunity to access and explore the rainforest canopy.  A certified instructor will be on hand to teach tree-climbing techniques and to lead students into the canopy where they have the chance to experience firsthand this unique ecological subsystem of the rainforest. The climbing instructor will also be available to assist those wishing to conduct their independent research projects in the canopy. This course is divided into five distinct categories; formal classroom lectures, informal field lectures, readings and critiques, group projects and independent research projects.
Formal lectures take place in the classroom and will include PowerPoint presentations, chalkboard use, and online videos. Lecture topics begin by providing a background on our Neotropical Central American location and will include Panamanian history, geology, geography and weather patterns as well as tropical life zones, forest types and forest structure. Next we turn to how tropical forests function and compare with temperate forests in terms of primary production, trophic interactions, energy flow, nutrient cycles and tropical soils. We also examine plant-animal interactions with regard to pollination ecology, seed dispersal, mimicry, symbiosis, plant defensive strategies and feeding guilds, and follow this with adaptive tropical evolutionary radiation and biodiversity hypotheses.  From here we cover vertebrate life with discussions of Neotropical amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. We finish the lectures with talks on human population growth and its threat to tropical forests and their conservation.
Informal lectures will be provided periodically during orientation walks (when you first arrive), during group field projects, forest night walks, or in discussion groups. These will cover a wide variety of topics and will generally be prompted by what we encounter in the field, or by the direction taken during group discussions. 
Readings corresponding to lecture subjects will be assigned in the text. We will also read and critique papers brought by students and faculty and other readings may be assigned from time to time. In addition, each student will read, critique, and provide an oral report on a published paper of their choosing.  The required text will be: Kricher, John C., 2017.  The New Neotropical Companion, Princeton University Press.
GROUP RESEARCH PROJECTS: These are instructional projects, exercises or demonstrations designed by the instructor.  The purpose of these projects is to familiarize students with an array of field sampling techniques and equipment commonly used in tropical forest field studies and to promote ideas for their independent research projects. With help from the instructor, students set up projects, collect data, and generally (depending on the project), analyze data, present the results to the class, and write a report.
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH: Working closely with faculty, students will be responsible for designing and completing an original individual research project of their choosing.  The topic of research may deal with with any aspect of tropical forest ecology.  During the first part of the course students will be responsible for developing a question to be answered and writing a detailed research proposal. The project will be carried out during the second half of the course and students will have about 10 days for data collection.  A few days before the end of the course students will analyze their data, write a technical report, prepare a PowerPoint presentation of their work and orally present their findings during a station-wide symposium on the last day of the course.



Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.