Students on the  Brazilian Ecosystems program  engage in environmental field studies and coursework at the following program sites in Brazil:


  • Amazon Rainforest –Manaus, Amazonas
  • Atlantic Coastal Forest – Morretes, Southwestern Brazil
  • Marine and Coastal Biomes – Marine Research Center, Federal University of Paraná

Fall Semester program students also study in:

  • Curitiba, Paraná Portuguese Language Intensive and Homestays


Amazon Rainforest – Adolpho Ducke Reserve, Manaus

Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas, a state with a population of perhaps 1.2 million inhabitants, and yet represents some 20% of Brazil’s national territory. Manaus grew up on the hilly left bank of the Rio Negro, which is carved by an endless chain of creeks called igarapes, where water enters or recedes depending on the time of year. We will stay at a research field station in the Ducke Reserve, which is owned and managed by the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA). This reserve protects 100km2 of old-growth Amazon Rainforest. INPA researchers direct the students’ work here. For example, they will demonstrate that this rainforest is not as environmentally homogeneous as commonly thought, and discuss the corresponding implication that factor into decisions regarding establishment of new areas of protection.


Atlantic Coastal Rainforest  – Morretes

At this site, we are based at the Montanha Beija-Flor Reserve within the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest, a highly endangered tropical rainforest ecosystem that formerly stretched along the Brazilian coast from the far northeast to the far south.  The severe threat posed to biodiversity here is a result of a very high level of species endemism coupled with the fact that the original coverage of this forest has been reduced by an astounding ninety-five percent.  A team of conservation biologists will guide our exploration of the fundamental patterns of biodiversity along the steep inclines of this rainforest-covered coastal mountain chain. We will also visit a case study of sustainable development for small rural communities, and discuss the political, economic and social considerations that factor into environmental protection.


Marine and Coastal Biomes – Marine Research Center (UFPR)

The Centro De Estudos Do Mar is a marine field station belonging to the Federal University of Paraná. It is located on the Atlantic coast, and gives access to the exploration of estuary, mangrove, and sandy beach environments. Research ecologists will also focus your attention on endangered dolphin and sea turtle species, and benthic marine fauna. Local environmental impacts will be discussed, along with new approaches to protecting marine life.




Curitiba– Portuguese Intensives and Homestays

Curitiba, the capital of the state of Paraná, is a medium-size city of 1.5 million inhabitants. It is home to three universities-Pontifical Catholic University, the University of Paraná, and Tuiuti University of Paraná-and is known for its environmentally progressive urban planning and resource management policies. Professional language instruction from local professors is coupled with short-term homestays with Brazilian families, providing a warm introduction to Brazilian culture and social traditions.

(Note: Each year, specific activities and locations may vary.)

Visit the Brazilian Ecosystems Flickr Photo Gallery for past participants’ pictures of Brazil.