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Princeton Tropical Biology Program in Panama
Gamboa, Panama (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Spring Semester
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
Budget Sheets Spring Semester
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Fact Sheet:
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Dept Offering Program: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program Type: Study Abroad (semester)
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No
Program Features: Academic Study Degree Level: 3 - Sophomore, 4 - Junior, 5 Senior
Time Away: Spring Semester Housing options: Dormitory, Hostel/Hotel
Program Group: Study Abroad OIP Duration of Program: 12 or more weeks
Program Adviser: Jordan Zilla
Program Description:
Program Description:

Tropical Biology in Panama

BCI Lab view from the lake
View from Lake Gatun of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute located on Barro Colorado Island.
The EEB Department offers juniors in their spring semester the opportunity to study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and do field-research in the area of tropical Biology. Students will have the opportunity to visit and study coral reefs, in addition to completing other field projects, and will return to campus at the end of the semester to write about their findings.

Over the years faculty and students alike have noted that learning both the principles and practice of ecology is best done via total immersion, especially when the setting is in the tropics. We have chosen Panama as one of our New World tropical sites in part because of its diversity of habitats. It is also home to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) which has field stations, dormitories, classrooms and scientists that can help make our program a success. STRI's website for our program contains background, logistical, and course information for students. 

The program entails students taking 4 Princeton courses in sequence. The first is "Tropical Biology" taught by Princeton Ph.D. graduate Janeene Touchton. This course offers an intensive, three-week field experience given at various sites in Panama. It examines the origins, maintenance, and major interactions among elements of the tropical-terrestrial biota. This course involves extensive travel and completion of many field projects.

The second course is “Ecology and Epidemiology of Parasites and Infections Disease” taught by Andrew Dobson (EEB professor). In this course, students will explore the dynamics and abundance of parasites in a variety of host species in the Panama Canal zone.

After spring break, the third course is "Biology of Coral Reefs” taught by Princeton Ph.D. graduate and professor at Pontifica University in Colombia Maria Echeverry-Galvis. This course focuses on the ecology and behavior of coral reef organisms and includes extensive daily work in the water.

"Pre-Columbian Peoples of Tropical America and Their Environments"  is the fourth course. It is taught by STRI faculty Dr. Dolores Piperno, and allows students to fulfill the University's "Social Analysis (SA)" distribution requirement.

When students finish the 'in the field' part of the course they return to campus to write up their findings and work intensively on their junior paper. During this somewhat novel reading and exam period they live in University housing, but are responsible for their own meals.



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Dates / Deadlines:
This program is not currently accepting applications. Please consult the sponsoring department's website for application open dates.
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This program is currently not accepting applications.