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* Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation of Ecuadorian Biodiversity
Quito, Ecuador (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Winter Break
Budget Sheets Winter Break
CSU Deadlines / Program Dates:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Recommended Programs: Biological Science and Zoology, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability
Grade Point Average:
Language(s) of Instruction:
Program Coordinator:
Emily Garner
Program Type: CSU Short Term Program
Areas of Study:
Agricultural Sciences, Interdisciplinary, Natural Resources, Natural Sciences
Program Description:

Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation of Ecuadorian Biodiversity

in Quito, Ecuador

Ecuador StudentsEcuador FrogEcuador Glaciers
In this Winter Break faculty-led program, students will gain first-hand experience with the ecology, evolution, and conservation of Ecuadorian biodiversity. Despite being a relatively small country, Ecuador is known for its extensive variety of plant and animal species. Explore mountains, beaches, jungles, crater lakes, and more while harnessing your skills as a scientist.

The 2018 PROGRAM IS FULL - please check back in January to apply for 2019.

Program At-a-Glance

WHEN: January 2 (depart the U.S.) - January 15, 2018  Note:  Some content will be covered during Fall 2017.  

CREDITS: All committed students will be registered for BZ 449A Study Abroad: Ecology/Conservation-Ecuadorian Biodiversity (4 CSU credits) through CSU's Division of Continuing Education. All tuition and program charges will be billed at the start of the spring term.

COST: See Budget Sheet for details. The program fee includes tuition and fees for four (4) credit hours through the Colorado State University Division of Continuing Education, group international airfare, lodging, all meals, international medical and evacuation insurance, on-site transportation, and faculty support.  Program fees do not include passport and fees, books, any additional meals, and personal spending money.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Applicants for this program are eligible for scholarships through the Office of International Programs.

PROGRAM LEADER: Dr. W. Chris Funk, Associate Professor, Biology, Colorado State University.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: Minimum 2.5 GPA. Prerequisite course: 3 credits of any introductory biology course. Instructor approval. Good disciplinary standing.

Academic Overview

This Winter Break CSU faculty-led program, comprised of one four-credit CSU course, will provide students with first-hand exposure to the unparalleled biodiversity of Ecuador. Throughout the course, CSU students will visit a diversity of tropical habitats and learn the process of conducting ecological field research in incremental steps through the design and implementation of research projects. Guest lectures from several tropical biologists will expose them to fascinating natural history, ecology, and evolutionary history of tropical organisms, as well as the complex conservation threats they face and potential solutions.  Highlights of the program include visits to the Yanayacu Biological Station, Antisana Volcano, Sani Lodge (explore the Amazon Forest, canopy tower, and lake), high elevation grasslands, and hot springs.

Course Objectives
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • communicate in writing and orally the different tropical ecosystems found in Ecuador --terrestrial and aquatic-- and the dominant plant and animals species found in these ecosystems.
  • communicate in writing and orally the threats facing Ecuadorian biodiversity, how these threats vary among different ecosystems in Ecuador, and potential solutions to reducing these ecosystems. 
  • know the steps involved in conducting ecological field research, including making field observations; developing a question, hypotheses, and predictions; designing a study to test predictions; collecting field data; analyzing data; writing up results; and presenting results orally.
  • know how to collaborate with international colleagues, including appreciating cultural differences; understanding historical legacies of U.S. and European research in the tropics; and communicating with colleagues who speak English as a second language. 

Please note: This program involves regular long hikes (up to 10 miles) in sometimes strenuous conditions with backpacks. Speak to Dr. Funk if this may be a concern and you would like more information.


Ecuador is an ideal location to learn about tropical biodiversity, because it houses an enormous diversity of tropical ecosystems in a relatively small geographic area - all of which are very accessible. Students will visit these diverse ecosystems—including cloud forest, páramo, and lowland Amazonian rainforest habitats—and learn how to conduct ecological research along the way.

Housing and Meals

Primary accommodations during the trip include biological field stations, ecotourist lodge, and hotels.  All meals will be provided and are included in the program fee.

Ecuador FunkEcuador MountainEcuador Quito