• Home
  • Field Biology in Suriname

Field Biology in Suriname

Field Biology in Suriname
Study field biology in the rainforest of Suriname.
Language of Instruction: 
Spring Break
Academic Disciplines: 
Environmental Studies
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 
Open to non-KU Students
Faculty Led
  • Spend 10 days in Suriname learning field methods of measuring biodiversity
  • Earn 1 credit hour of lab in Biology or Environmental Studies
  • Experience one of the largest unspoiled tropical rainforests in the world
Program Summary: 

This 10-day program is open to undergraduates who desire experience in field biology. The course will focus on methods to assess and measure biodiversity in an extraordinarily diverse lowland rainforest environment. Insects will be used as a model system for data collection. The class will work in small teams with graduate students and undergraduates from the National University of Suriname to evaluate the diversity of several habitats in one of Suriname's protected areas.


Suriname, the smallest country in South America, was founded as a Dutch colony until its independence from the Netherlands in 1975. The country is largely undeveloped, with more than 80% of the country still pristine rainforest. 

Culturally, Suriname is one of the most diverse countries in the Americas. The small population of just over 500,000 is divided among descendents of contract workers from northern India and Indonesia and African refugees who escaped slavery. Dutch is the official language, though English is widely spoken in the capital.

Academic Information: 

All students will enroll in one credit hour of BIOL/EVRN 531 Tropical Fieldwork in Biodiversity Discovery, and must be concurrently enrolled in BIOL/EVRN 530.  

Taught during the Spring 2019 semester, BIOL/EVRN 530: Topics in Biodiversity Discovery and Assessment will provide students with an overview of modern methods in biodiversity exploration and discovery. Students will learn about the theory and practice of planning fieldwork in remote locations, documenting species and their natural history, how museum collections are made, calculating and comparing species richness estimates, and the process of describing and naming new species.

While in the field, students will collect insects using a variety of methods and also experience the tremendous abundant wildlife in the reserve.


In Paramaribo, students will be housed in double or triple occupancy rooms at a western-style hotel.  While in the field, housing conditions will be extremely rugged and more comparable to tent camping, and may include hammock-camps. Running water and electricity may not be available at all sites. 

Life Abroad: 

2019 Program Dates

  • Spring Semester: All students will enroll in and complete BIOL/EVRN 530 Biodiversity Discovery and Assessment. The class meets twice weekly (days/times tbd)
  • Spring Break (tentative dates): 
    • Depart U.S.: Friday, March 8 
    • Arrive Suriname: Saturday, March 9 
    • Return from Suriname: Monday, March 18

Students will arrive in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, and spend a day exploring the historic city which dates back to the 17th century.  They will also visit the campus of the National University of Suriname, and meet the Surinamese student counterparts that will be joining the fieldwork portion of the trip.

The group will then travel to the selected field site, spending 7 days engaging in collections and assessment.  Information on the specific field site to be visited by the program in 2019 will be available in early October.  Past field sites have included the Brownsberg Nature Park, a remote protected area on a 1500 foot high mountain which is covered in rainforest, and the Central Suriname Nature Reserve (CSNR), one of the largest protected areas in Amazonia.​


Open to undergraduate students from accredited US colleges and universities. Due to the rugged and primitive field conditions, students must be reasonably physically fit (able to hike for 3 or more hours carrying a 30lb. pack). Field clothes and certain camping-related gear is required. Acceptance to the program is by permission of instructor, and limited to 10 students. 


Program Faculty: 

Dr. Andrew Short
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
6002 Haworth Hall

Andrew Short is an associate professor and curator of Entomology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He has been on more than 30 expeditions to South America, including some sponsored by Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, and the National Geographic Society. He is an expert on the diversity and evolution of aquatic beetles. He has been working in Suriname since 2010. 


Spring 2022 programs now accepting applications !

Study Abroad Information & Advising
Our office is available to help you with your study abroad questions.  Book a virtual appointment. 

Study Abroad Financial E-Advising
Personalized financial aid & scholarship advising Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM,
Book a virtual appointment.


Follow KU Study Abroad


Jayhawks Abroad Blog

Study Abroad Events
IIE Generation Study Abroad Partner

9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
Study Abroad & Global Engagement and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times