The Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology (ECCB) offers several faculty-led Education Abroad programs where students travel to the Caribbean, Amazon, and South Africa to engage in exciting exploration adventures and experience other cultures and environments. ECCB also works with outside organizations to provide internship opportunities for students. Faculty have opportunities for outstanding students to conduct undergraduate research for course credit.
Amazon River Tropical Biology
Amazon River Tropical Biology is a one-semester study abroad course (3 credits) that focuses on the natural history, ecology, evolutionary biology, geography, and culture of the Amazon River and Rio Negro, a massive black-water tributary. Students will discover the attributes of the world’s largest and most bio-diverse river basin during a 10-day expedition that embarks in early January (winter break) from Manaus, Brazil. During this boat-based expedition, students will learn about tropical biology by surveying biota and recording observations about this unique ecosystem in field journals. Upon completion of the expedition, students will select research topics and develop presentations that will be reported to the class in weekly sessions during the spring semester. Professors will also present topics focusing on the natural history, ecology, evolutionary biology, geography, and culture of the Amazon River.
- Daily canoe expeditions to observe wildlife and access rainforest trails
- Snorkeling in Agua Boa to survey fish diversity and other aquatic animals
- Nightly nocturnal wildlife viewing via canoes
- Sight-seeing excursion to Novo Airão to view night monkeys, pink-toed tarantulas and experience culture of Amazon community
- Rio Branco oxbow lakes to investigate top predators including peacock bass, arapaima, pink river dolphins, and black caiman
- Cultural visit to Manaus with stops at municipal fish market, Opera House, and “Meeting of the Waters”
- Texas A&M University requires that students have a minimum 2.0 GPA to participate in education abroad programs
- All students must be in Good Academic Standing and Good Conduct Standing with Texas A&M University to participate in education abroad programs.
- One required prerequisite course selected from the following: BIOL 111/112, ECCB 205, or equivalent transfer course
- All students are required to take ECCB 462-Amazon River Tropical Biology (3-credit hours) in conjunction with the field trip.
- Dr. Kirk Winemiller: email@example.com
- Dr. Leslie Kelso Winemiller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caribbean Tropical and Field Biology
Each year from late May to mid-June, students travel to Trinidad and Tobago with instructors for a faculty-led Education Abroad to conduct field research and complete class projects. Individual and group research projects include, but are by no means restricted to, forensic entomology, host-parasite studies, basic ecology, and general biodiversity surveys. Students design projects, collect data, analyze results, and prepare a professional research paper. Throughout the program, students participate in numerous hikes and other outdoor activities (some of which can be challenging) that introduce students to the diverse tropical flora and fauna of the Caribbean.
- Conduct independent research in biodiverse region of northeastern Trinidad
- Witness nesting Leatherback turtles on Grande Riviere beach; aid citizen scientists to gather demographic data on nesting sea turtles
- Hike and birdwatch along forest trails in protected areas of Trinidad (Matura National Park) and Tobago (Main Ridge Forest Reserve)
- Snorkel tropical Caribbean streams and coral reefs
- A minimum GPA of 2.5. Successful completion of entry interview with faculty instructors. Enrollment in ECCB /ENTO 485: Directed Studies (1 cr. Spring term)
- ECCB/ENTO 300: Field Studies (3 cr)
- ECCB /ENTO 450: Caribbean Conservation (2 cr)
- ECCB /ENTO 451: Caribbean Research Seminar (1 cr)
- ECCB /ENTO 485: Directed Studies (1 cr. Spring term)
- Dr. Kevin Conway: email@example.com
- Dr. Adrienne Brundage: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Africa Biodiversity Conservation and Ecotourism: Diversity and Ecotourism Focus
During late May to late June, students travel to South Africa with instructors for a faculty-led Education Abroad program focusing on biodiversity conservation and ecotourism. The overarching goal of this program is to explore diversity in all its forms and to gain an understanding of how diversity underpins the country’s ecotourism industry, which is one of South Africa’s most important foreign currency earning sectors. During the month-long program, students will visit numerous parts of the country ranging from the Cradle of Humankind, where they will lean about the origins of Homo sapiens, to the Indian Ocean or Atlantic coast, and the world-famous Kruger National Park, where they will experience Africa’s stunning wildlife. This once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity is not to be missed by students who want to learn about South Africa’s deep history, incredibly diverse wildlife, and its many peoples.
- Experience the highly diverse landscapes, biomes, and people of Africa’s southernmost country.
- Learn about the complexity of South Africa’s biophysical and cultural histories.
- See Africa’s spectacular fauna at close quarters both in safari-style vehicles and on foot.
- Visit and stay in local communities, national parks, and private wildlife ranches.
- Learn to appreciate novel foods.
- See the southern cross and other stars from a southern hemisphere perspective.
- This is an eclectic program offered to all Texas A&M students.
- There are no course prerequisites although completion of ECCB 205 is beneficial.
- Attend six pre-departure orientation classes during the spring semester.
- Attend a one-day seminar class in May to present individual projects.
- Complete all preparatory work for individual and groups projects before departure.
- Actively contribute to a positive learning experience for all participants.
- Dr. Urs Kreuter: urs.tamu.edu
- Dr. Bill E. Rogers: email@example.com