Tropical Field Ecology in Panama

[website still in development]

  • EEOB 4420H (Tropical Field Ecology in Panama)

  • May Term 2022, 3 credits, offered every other year

  • Prerequisites: EEOB 3310, EEOB 3410, or instructor permission

  • Applications accepted now. Limited spots!!

  • If interested, bookmark this site!

Where can I learn more about the course?

  • Global Education Expo, September 9, 2 - 6 pm ET, Archie M. Griffin East Ballroom in the Ohio Union

  • Info session 1: Oct 8, 2021, 3 pm ET, on zoom:

  • Info session 2: Nov 18, 2021, 4 pm ET, on zoom: [URL coming soon]

  • Questions? Email Gerry (instructor): gcarter1640 at gmail dot com

How do I apply?

Step 1: Fill out this form so we have your email.

Step 2: Read the Education Abroad eligibility guidelines here.

Step 3: Apply at the Education Abroad website. Deadline is [coming soon]. The application will ask you to answer the following questions in under 200 words each:

  • How will you prepare yourself for traveling to Panama?

  • How will your participation in this program help you reach your personal and academic goals?

  • How do you plan to be a good representative of Ohio State Abroad?

Note: There are limited spots. The application fee will be reimbursed if you are not accepted into the course.

About the course

Our goal is to give students first-hand knowledge of neotropical biology. This is an intensive foreign study tour in Panama, a country renowned for its biological and cultural diversity, and based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), one of the world’s leading research stations for studying neotropical ecology. The course includes travel to several tropical habitats and experiences with common field biology methods such as using a field key, setting up mist-nets, and recording and analyzing sounds. Students will also read and discuss research findings, and work on a group research project. The course will include talks and discussions with working scientists at STRI. It will be a hands-on learning experience, with much of the time spent in tropical rainforests.

Course goals

  • Appreciate tropical diversity and natural history

  • Understand key fundamental principles underlying behavioral and evolutionary ecology

  • Understand deep principles of scientific research (e.g. how to think clearly and critically about research)

  • Practice scientific communication: writing, speaking, informal discussion, and giving/receiving feedback

  • Learn practical skills that are common in field biology

The Course fee is [coming soon] and covers insurance, plane travel, transportation, housing, food, research equipment, park admission, kayak rental, etc. In addition to the STEP fellowship, here are some sources of funding to help you pay:


Gerald Carter

Assistant Professor in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology


Rachelle Adams

Assistant Professor in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology


Program Coordinator

Geoff Nelson, Office of International Affairs at OSU,

Ant trails through flower petals

Tent-making bats

Geoffrey's tamarin

Capuchin monkey

Class schedule

[coming soon]

Suggested field guides:

  • The New Neotropical Companion. John Kricher. 2017. (Amazon)(Publisher)

  • Trees of Panama and Costa Rica, by Condit et al.

  • The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide, by Angehr and Dean

  • A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico, by Reid