Biological Sciences

Summer Field Programs


A field course that examines the population and community ecology of terrestrial ecosystems in Peru. Your experience will include:

  • Rain forest ecology
  • Species identification and community analysis
  • Volcanoes
  • Cloud forests
  • Hands-on terrestrial videography

A Taste of the Program

Three week expedition-style course that travels from the Atacama desert over the Andes and down into Amazonia.

Past and present community ecology and biogeography are the main focus of the class as we pass through desert, montane grasslands, cloud forest, pre-montane forest and lowland tropical forest.

Land use and archaeology are discussed as we encounter Incan burial chambers, the mummies of Paracas and the ruins of Machu Pichu. As we descend into the lowlands we enter the region of highest bird and mammal diversity on Earth.

We spend one week at the Cocha Cashu biological field station, a research reserve closed to tourists, but home to a fantastic array of wildlife. Students undertake a research project while camped at the station.

We expect to see more than 200 species of birds, including 5 species of macaw, crested eagle, horned screamer, assorted tanagers and the spectacular cock-of-the-rock. We expect to see 8-10 species of primate, giant river otter, cayman, peccary, capybaras, and if we are very lucky, a jaguar.

Transport ranges from trucks to large dugout canoes with outboards. Accommodation is basic hotel or tent. This program is run jointly with Wake Forest University. Maximum group size of 16 students plus at least two faculty. Readings are discussed once a week throughout the spring semester to prepare students for the summer field experience.