University of Oregon

Tropical Marine Biology / Panama

BEATCH_bannerTropical Marine Biology/Panama

Study Marine Biology in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

August 29th – September 12th 2015


Contact for Questions

Richard Emlet
Jan Hodder

OIMB is excited to offer a course that will focus on the biology of tropical coastal habitats (coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass meadows) and relevant anthropogenic issues on both local and global scales. The course will be offered at the Bocas Research Station (BRS), a facility operated by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). BRS is located on Isla Colon, a part of an archipelago located along the Caribbean coast of Panama.

Course Details

The Tropical Marine Biology-Panama program is a seven-credit course in Biology with 400-level credit. The program consists of two one-credit courses in spring and summer term and a five-credit, two weeks of on-site academic instruction and fieldwork in Panama. OIMB Faculty Richard Emlet and Jan Hodder are the instructors for the program.

BI405 Reading (1 credit P/NP) During spring term, students explore primary and secondary literature on the habitats and environmental issues that will be seen in Panama. Students  make presentations on their readings and participate in weekly discussions. Students will be required to develop a bibliography of material useful for their subsequent experience in Panama. Residency at OIMB is not required to participate. Evaluation will be based on completion of the assignments and participation in the discussion. Class meets for one hour each week and will involve video conferencing for students on main campus.

BI408 (1 credit P/NP) During summer term, students will continue to develop bibliography material and plan for a research project to be conducted in Panama. Evaluation will be based on completion of the assignments and participation in the discussion. Residency at OIMB is not required.

BI457 Field Course (5 credits) The course in Panama will be a combination of a large number of field trips to a variety of tropical habitats, field observations and data collection, and lectures on habitats and organisms. Students will keep a daily journal of their observations and experiences and conduct a research project.  Assessment of student work will focus on completion and quality of journal entries and presentation of research results.

2015 Field Course Dates: August 29th-September 12th.


Students must be majors in Marine Biology, Biology or Environmental Science, who by the time they leave for Panama have successfully completed at least one term at OIMB, including the BI 451 Invertebrate Zoology course offered in both spring and summer term.

How to Apply

Applications are available at the UO Global Studies web page:

Applications are due by March 15, 2015. Students will be notified of acceptance no later than March 25, 2015.

Program Costs

The program fee, estimated at $2950, includes all UO tuition and fees for the 1 summer credit (BI 408) and the 5 credit two-week Panama course and the full room and board costs while in Panama. International airfare from the US to Panama and personal expenses are an additional cost. The Panama course has funding from the Williams Council for a limited amount of financial aid for students who qualify.  Priorities will be given to students who are Pell Grant eligible and part of the Pathway Oregon program, but any student who qualities for financial aid may also apply for funds to partially offset the cost of this study-abroad course. The UO application for this program has a section for financial aid applications. The UO Study Abroad webpage also has information on scholarships.

Program Logistics

Students will stay in the dorms on the Bocas Research Station campus. Meals will be provided. The station has a 24 hour security system. Course activities will include snorkeling, but not SCUBA. All internal travel is covered by program cost.