Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation

Explore tropical ecosystems and the complexities of conservation efforts in Ecuador, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.

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Congratulations to SIT Academic Director Dr. Xavier Silva for the publication of his latest book, Ecuador's Butterfly Ecology. Read more about Dr. Silva's book

Ecuador is home to more than 1,600 species of birds and 10 percent of the world’s known vascular plant species. Students on SIT's Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation program have the opportunity to visit the diverse ecological zones of Ecuador, studying major plant and animal adaptations to life in each zone, appropriate uses of natural resources, current environmental issues, and conservation strategies within the context of socioeconomic pressures.

The program base is historic Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Educational excursions take students to the high sierras of the Andes, the epiphyte-rich cloud forest, the rugged snow-lined páramo, and the vast rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon. A guided, weeklong visit to the extraordinary Galápagos Islands provides access to plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth.

In-country resources and program partners generally include:

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Ecuador alumna presents ISP at major undergraduate research conference.

Program alumna Marisa Martínez was selected to present research conducted for her Independent Study Project at the 2011 National Conference on Undergraduate Research out of a pool of over 4,000 papers. In Marisa’s study, “Social Functioning of Vocal Duetting in the Rufous Wren,” birds were recorded before, during, and after playbacks. The data suggest that rufous wrens engage in duetting as a method of jointly defending territory.

Marisa collaborated with SIT’s local partner in Ecuador, Fundación Jocotoco, which works with conservation projects; the Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, in particular with Dr. Robert Ridgely; and the Cornell Ornithology Lab, which is one of the most important ornithology labs in the world and is where Marisa continues her research.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Quito

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: Coursework in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields; 4 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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