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Field Course in Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity

BIOS 4218

Information

The course comprehends two phases: one in Brazil and another in Norway. A total number of 16 students attend the course each year, being eight from Norwegian Universities (University of Oslo - UiO, and Norwegian University of Life Sciences - NMBU) and eight from Brazilian Institutions (Federal University of Pará - UFPA, Federal Rural University of Amazon - UFRA, and Emilio Goeldi Museum -MPEG). The course is taught in English by professors from the partner Institutions, and coordinated by Rafael Assis (UiO)

The first part of the course takes place in the Amazon region of Brazil. It lasts for three weeks, BETWEEN AUGUST 11th and SEPTEMBER 3rd, 2022 - GIVEN FLIGHT AVAILABILITY. Students and professors from Norway fly from Gardemoen (Oslo) to Belém (Pará, Brazil) to join the Brazilian crew.

The follow up part of the course in Oslo will most likely take place during the two first weeks of November, but this still depends somewhat on the availability of the labs at UiO and the schedule of our Brazilian counterparts.

You are expected to arrange and pay for your own vaccinations, visa, travel insurance and transport to and from the airport. In return, you will not have to pay the standard 150 NOK per day on field courses.

 

Vaccinations:

You will need the following vaccinations:

  • Routine vaccinations: MMR, DTaP

  • Hepatitis A

  • Yellow Fever 

  • Hepatitis B

  • Typhoid

  • COVID-19

 

 

Make sure to start on these at least a month prior to the trip, especially an MMR booster and the rabies vaccination take a month to complete. You may also bring malaria prophylaxis, although the risk in the area we will visit is low, and you should be aware of the, albeit limited, risk of contracting zika.

 

Travel insurance:

Make sure you have a good travel insurance and check if travel to remote areas is covered.

 

Visa:

More information on visa requirements for Brazil can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Brazil

Most of us will not need a visa and it is OK to travel on a tourist visa for this course.

 

Packing:

Read here for information about what to bring to the trip.

 

 

Health and safety:

We will prepare and send you a health and safety form including a field on contact data of your emergency contact/next of kin. This you will need to fill out before departure.

 

Project work in the field:

During the field trip you will develop your own project in small groups. In order to make sure we bring the necessary equipment for this, we would like to know what you interests are generally.

Admission to the course

There are 8 places on this course and it is open for students in biological sciences at UiO and NMBU. The study places will be divided 50/50.

For students at UiO:

Application deadline is July 1st

Students fro UiO apply by sending an e-mail to studieinfo@ibv.uio.no within the deadline

Applicants at UiO are ranked by the following criteria:

1.Students who have been admitted to "Biodiversity and Systematics" at UiO

2. Other master students in biological science at UiO

3. Applicants are ranked by credits in each group; all applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally

 

For students at NMBU:

Application deadline is June 1st

Students from NMBU apply by sending an e-mail to studieveileder-mina@nmbu.no within the deadline

Applicants at NMBU are ranked by the following criteria:

1. Students who have been admitted to the master program in Ecology, study option "Tropical ecology and management of natural resources"

2. Other master students in biological science at NMBU. Applicants will be ranked from their relevance in background and further study (especially the topic for the master thesis)

 

Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students must have been admitted to an MSc program in the biological sciences.

 

Teaching

The course consists of a 3 week field trip to Brazil from 13. august, and 2 weeks of intensive education in Oslo/Ås with labwork, group work, lectures and an excursion to Norsk Hydro.

Delivery of a project report and mandatory attendance during the field course and at the labs. Mandatory course work must be approved before the student can attend the exam.

Attendance is mandatory for the first lecture. This also applies for those on the waiting list. You will lose your seat on the course if documentation for absence is not provided to the student administration studieinfo@ibv.uio.no prior to the first lecture.

Getting the necessary vaccinations as well as a possible visa is the responsibility of the students. The costs for this as well as for transport to and from Gardermoen Airport are covered by the students themselves.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.

 

Cost of taking the course

Getting the necessary vaccinations as well as a possible visa is the responsibility of the students. The costs for this as well as for transport to and from Gardermoen Airport are covered by the students themselves.

 

Examination

Project report counts 50% and the two presentations counts 25% each.

All parts must be passed.

 

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

ACTIVITIES

Before tacking of, students from Norway have a half-day introductory lecture at the Natural History Museum, in Oslo. They will attend an introductory lecture about tropical ecology, introduction of Brazilian main features – society, culture and nature, and go through the schedule and the packing list. There, students will have a chance to know more details about the trip and the course content and take doubts they may have. The precise date will be informed in this website, and also by email.

In the day after arriving in Belém (Brazil), students will have a part day off to visit a local market (Mercado Ver-o- peso) and buy needs for the trip, such as hammocks, mosquito nets and things that they will need for field projects. Hammocks and mosquito nets are MANDATORY, since students will need them to sleep in on the boat and at the field station. They cost around 100 NOK and will be a nice souvenir after the trip.

In the afternoon, students and professors will take the boat towards the field station (Estação Científica Ferreira Pena). It takes about two days by boat up river to reach the field station. Students and professors will stay in the field station for about 10 days.


 

Field Station:

The field station is equipped with dorms, refectory, bathrooms, classrooms, infirmary, among other facilities. It is located in a remote area of the Amazon, so wi-fi connection is very unstable and there is no signal for cell phones. 

In the field station, there is also a well-marked grid with tracks to access the forest around. 

Students will have the first days for methodology introduction, where they will learn about how collecting samples in the field, both at day and at night. Introductory lectures about ecology in the tropics will be offered, as well essays to be performed in group of students.

 

After the introductory days (2-3 days), students will perform the field short term projects. These practices are performed in group of students, being that the first two projects are supervised by a professor, and the third is a free project where students should develop by themselves. The supervised projects are two-days project, wheres the free project is a four-days project.


Visit to a Mining Company:

 

After the field station, students and professors will return to Belém and move to Paragominas, a small city where is located the bauxite company Hydro Norsk. The crew will stay in the town for two days, being one day dedicated to visit the mining plant. 

In the mining, they will visit the project of forest recovery of the company, as well the ecological initiatives for reducing impact of mining activities.

 


Belém:

 

In Belém, students will have a chance to visit the biological collection of one of the most important museums in Brazil. Also, have a guided tour at the Zoobotanical Park of the Goeldi Museum, and explore other attractions of the city. In the last day, students will give a presentation with the main results of the free projects performed in the field station.

 

 

If you have questions, send an email to Rafael Assis (rafaell@nhm.uio.no)

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