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Field Biology in Brazil

Field Biology in Brazil
Conduct field studies on the banks of the Amazon River in Brazil.
Manaus, Brazil
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Environmental Studies
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 
  • Spend 13 days in Brazil learning field methods of measuring biodiversity
  • Experience Brazilian culture and work in the field side-by-side with Brazilian students
  • Experience the largest tropical rainforest in the world
Program Summary: 

This course will provide students with an overview of modern methods in biodiversity exploration and discovery during a field work experience in Manaus, Brazil.


Brazil, the largest and most populous country in South America, is known for is tremendous biodiversity, particularly around the Amazon Basin. We will be based at several sites in the city of Manaus, a large, historic city built on the banks of the Amazon River. Surrounded by jungles and significantly isolated from other parts of Brazil, it is culturally quite distinct from the southern population centers around Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. 

Academic Information: 

All students will enroll in:

  • BIOL/EVRN 530 Biodiversity Discovery and Assessment (2 credits)  AND
  • BIOL/EVRN 531 Tropical Fieldwork in Biodiversity Discovery (1 credits)

These courses 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.

The courses will be taught in two parts: an on-campus component and an overseas field research experience (please note that dates are tentative).

  • May 14 - 18, 2018:  Students will meet for approximately three hours daily on the KU campus, engaging in a combination of lectures and lab activities to prepare for the field experience in Brazil.
  • June 3-16, 2018:     Field Research in Brazil.  While in the field, students will collect insects using a variety of methods and also experience the tremendous abundant wildlife in the nature park.




In Manaus, students will be housed in double or triple occupancy rooms at a western-style hotel.  While in the field, housing conditions may be rugged and more comparable to tent camping, and may include hammock-camps. Students may spend one or more nights on a floating research station on the Amazon River. 

Life Abroad: 

Students will arrive in Manaus, the state capitol of Amazonas, and spend a day or two exploring the historic city which dates back to the 17th century.  They will also visit the campus of Brazil’s National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA), and meet the Brazilian student counterparts that will be joining the fieldwork portion of the trip.

The group will then travel by bus to the Ducke Forest Reserve, located on the outskirts of Manaus. The Ducke Reserve is a massive 40 square mile protected area and one of the most important sites for long-term ecological research in Amazonia. Participants will spend 7 days conducting field surveys at the reserve, and stay at a research station within the park. Next, students will spend two nights on one of INPA’s floating research stations which is anchored in the Amazon River. We will access and survey flooded islands and margins via smaller boats. 


Open to undergraduate students from the University of Kansas. Due to the rugged and occasionally primitive field conditions, students must be reasonably physically fit (able to hike for 3 or more hours carrying a 30 lb. 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 is currently a Fulbright Scholar to Brazil. 


Study Abroad Information Center
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

Study Abroad Information Center
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Hours: Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu

Study Abroad Financial Advising
The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The financial aid officer will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.


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