Tropical Conservation Semester 2024 – Monkeys, Parrotfish, and Tortoises!

The 2024 Tropical Conservation Semester (TCS) in Ecuador wrapped up in May, after five months of life-changing expeditions. We started on land, traversing the high Andean paramo, hiking through the magic of the cloud forests, and exploring the world’s most biodiverse hotspot, the Amazon rainforest. Along the way, we toured examples of modern conservation, ranging from private reserves to national parks. In the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, deep in the Amazon, students carried out research projects on amphibian and arthropod diversity, fern abundance in mysterious clearings known as Supay Chakra, and feeding behaviors of woolly monkeys. We even joined the station’s staff in a rainy, muddy, tropical soccer match!

After the hard-to-beat terrestrial excursions, the course traveled to the Galápagos and settled into a month-long exploration of these famous islands. We snorkeled the rocky reefs and hiked unique landscapes, playing with sea lions and penguins, watching dolphins leaping at sunset, swimming with colorful parrotfish, and gawking at the remarkable giant tortoises. Students designed their own marine biology research projects, investigating parrotfish foraging patterns, abundance of Sally Lightfoot crabs, the relationship between sea turtle epibionts and species interactions, and also explored the social dimensions of tourism and conservation knowledge.

During their time in Ecuador, students were immersed in diverse terrestrial and marine habitats, experienced the challenges of conducting field research, and explored complex issues in conservation. Are you ready to join Ceiba? We’ll give you an academically fulfilling immersion in some of the most biodiverse sites on the planet! Sign up for our field coursesinternships, or EduTour adventures to the Amazon and Galapagos today!