Field Course in Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity

BIOS 4218


The 2020's edition of the course is canceled due to COVID-19

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 14th and SEPTEMBER 5th, 2020 - GIVEN FLIGHT AVAILABILITY. Students and professors from Norway fly from Gardemoen (Oslo) to Belém (Pará, Brazil) to join the Brazilian crew.

Read more about application deadlines for students from UiO and NMBU.

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.



You will need the following vaccinations:

  • Routine vaccinations: MMR, DTaP

  • Hepatitis A

  • Yellow Fever 

  • Hepatitis B

  • Rabies

  • Typhoid


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.



More information on visa requirements for Brazil can be found here:

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



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.


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. This introductory course will take place on late June. 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.



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 (