Rainforest Biodiversity in Ecuador

Rainforest Biodiversity in Ecuador
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Dates, Deadlines, and Costs
TermApp DeadlineStart DateEnd DateCost
WinterOctober 5late Decembermid JanuaryBudget
Program Information
  • GPA
  • 2.5
  • Language of Instruction
  • English
  • Foreign Language Requirement
  • No
  • Class Eligibility
  • Graduate, Junior, Senior, Sophomore
  • Program Open To
  • UA and Non-UA Students
  • Credit Type
  • UA Direct Credit
  • Level of Study
  • Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Housing Options
  • Varies
  • Program Type
  • Short Term Explorations
Program Overview

Spend your winter break in the Amazon rainforest exploring one of the world’s most biodiverse regions! You will contribute to the biodiversity and conservation research at an Ecuadorian field station hosted by the local Huaorani tribe. Want to stay longer? Extend your program by 7-days to include field studies along Ecuador's Pacific Coast. 


Tentative Winter 2018 Dates: December 27 - January 9, 2019

We will conduct multiple excursions in the area guided by local tribesmen to observe plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and many other unique features of this amazing forest. Each student will be given the opportunity to develop and implement a unique research project. Research can include biodiversity and other topics, working with Huaoranis to understand their relationships with the environment, and investigate the conflict of natural resource extraction (oil) in one of the last untouched rainforests on Earth.

Students will enroll in 3 units of the following course credit:

RNR 495F/595F Rainforest Biodiversity (3 units)

Cloud Forest Program Extension: December 20 - 26 (Additional cost of $1410)

Investigate dry tropical forest, coastal wetlands, and some marine and island life during the 7-day program extension on Ecuador's Pacific Coast. The Cloud Forest at Mindo, located along the Pacific slopes of the Andes, offers extraordinary wildlife and a species composition distinct from those on the eastern slopes of the Andes. Students will visit the Machalilla National Park and Isla de la Plata as well. No additional credit is offered for this program extension. 

Suggested reading for this program: Savages by Joe Kane


Dr. Hans-Werner Herrmann
Associate Research Scientist, Wildlife Conservation and Management School of Natural Resources and the Environment
hwh@u.arizona.edu, (520) 626-3645
Forbes Building Room 415B Tucson, Arizona 85721

Dr. Thomas B Wilson
Lecturer, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science
twilson@ag.arizona.edu, (520) 626-3645
Saguaro Hall, Room 313, Tucson, Arizona 85721


Located in the Amazon rainforest near the Equator, the Shiripuno River/Yasuni National Park region is considered to have among the world’s greatest biodiversity. After arriving in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, we will travel to Puerto Francisco de Orellana, the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. From there we will travel by open air bus to the Shiripuno River (a tributary of the Amazon) where Huaorani, members of the local tribe, will take us by boat to the Shiripuno Field Station, which will function as the base camp for the majority of the coursework. While floating down the Shiripuno we will be surrounded by the Amazon jungle with opportunities to see abundant wildlife such as macaws, monkeys, caimans, and possibly tapir.


Comfortable rustic cabins, each with a shower and toilet near an extensive network of well-maintained trails in the pristine rainforest. Hotels in Quito and Puerto Franciso del Orellana.

Links of Interest


"After this trip, I can truly say that I learned a lot about the many facets of biodiversity. Whether it was about the ultra specific niches some of these organisms inhabit, the competition amongst them, biological phenomena, the struggle for evolutionary success, human-animal interactions, complex conservation issues we are facing, and much more. Being in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world accelerated the learning tremendously." - A. Dito, Winter 2017

"I can read and listen to topics related to the Amazon, but nothing compares actually being there and hiking every day in the Amazon. I got to experience what a conservation biologist does firsthand and compose scientific research in a sophisticated manner. Personally, I had an experience of a lifetime that is incomparable to my other college experiences." - Participant, Winter 2016

"Staying in the Amazon Rainforest was the experience of a lifetime and something I could not have done without the help of this program. I learned an incredible amount about the biodiversity." - C. Pijanowski, Winter 2016

"The faculty at the UA and field station and Hans-Werner have truly made this the trip of a lifetime. My skills as a scientist have drastically improved and this experience provided me with the tools to continue in undergraduate research this semester and beyond." - A. Michaels, Winter 2016

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