Spend a semester in the dynamic community of Bocas del Toro, where everything – from the thriving underwater ecosystems to the rich green rainforests – seems more alive. Go behind the scenes in this “paradise” as you study the impacts of tourism and development on the island system’s unique habitats, evaluate local environmental policies, and apply the principles of sustainability and conservation to your research project.
SFS students live and study at the Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies, a onetime beachfront hotel that sits among the slender palms and warm sands of Isla Colón lies the Center. At this idyllic field station, you’ll take your classes in the waves of the Caribbean and the surrounding rainforests. The laidback tourist hub of Bocas Town is a short taxi ride away, with access to shops, restaurants, and a vibrant culture that is as unique as the mix of people who live here.
- Go snorkeling among coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and other marine ecosystems to learn about life beneath the waves.
- Tour cacao and coffee farms and banana plantations to gain an understanding of how diverse forms of agriculture affect coastal environments and local economies.
- Venture into the rainforest for field lectures on biodiversity, climate change, interspecies competition, and habitat modification.
- Develop field skills including: Species identification, tourism impact assessment, Spanish language, research design, data collection, scientific writing and presentation
- Conduct research in some of the following areas: Marine protected areas, rainforest biodiversity assessment, tourism impacts, ecosystem monitoring, community livelihoods, perceptions of conservation