Ohio University

Ecuador: Tropical Plant Diversity

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Program Feature

Field Work

Program Term

Winter Break

Program Type

OHIO Credit

Academic Focus


For more information, contact :

Dr. Harvey Ballard
Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
Faculty Director

Emily Englehart
Global Opportunities
Global Program Coordinator


canoes in river


The Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University offers a unique two-week field-course in Ecuador. Students spend six days at Yasuni Research Station, where they focus on studies of plant diversity in the evergreen lowland forests. The group also make a day-trip to the small village of Papallacta, located at an altitude of over 10,000 ft. Here students have an opportunity to explore plant diversities studies at various elevations and visit the thermal springs that are part of the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve. During a two and half day visit to the higher elevations around Mindo, students explore the cloud forest vegetation, visit a butterfly garden and participate in a tree canopy walk. Other mini-excursions and tours include visits to markets, a tour of the city of Quito, and a trip to the Center for Research on Health in Latin America at Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador with presentations on tropical plant and animal bioprospecting. 

Good to know

This program travels to remote areas where phone reception and wifi is limited, including on New Year's Eve. The program includes moderate hiking, so students should be in reasonably fit condition. Some areas lack access for participants with disabilities. Participants will spend most time outdoors and should bring and wear good hiking shoes at higher elevations and knee-high rubber boots in the Amazon basin. Pack bug spray, sun screen, and a long-billed hat. Long pants are recommended. No open-toed shoes, except in cities.  

Living Arrangements 

At the Yasuni Research Station, the group will stay in the field station’s accommodations. In other locations, the group will stay in local hotels. 

Program Dates 

Winter Break, December 28, 2018 – January 11, 2019  
The program runs alternate years.


Students will earn a total of 4 credit hours. 

  • PBIO 4090: Plant Systematics and Survey of Vascular Plant Families, 4 credits 


The program fee for this program includes: Student accommodations, meals while in Ecuador, excursions, airport transfers, in-country transportation, welcome and farewell dinner, and international medical health insurance. 

In addition to the program fee, students should plan for  credit hours of tuition*, administrative fee, and out-of-pocket costs. Below is the student budget worksheet for this program, which outlines these costs.  

Undergraduate Student Budget Worksheet 2018/2019

Items that are not related to the program (ie. additional entertainment, souvenirs, extra travel, contingency funds) are not included in the cost estimates provided and should be budgeted for separately.  


  • Non-resident surcharge waived for the credit hours associated with this program. 
  • If you are nominated to this program, you will be required to pay a deposit to confirm your participation. The deposit is a down payment on the total costs to be billed by OHIO and is determined by the total cost of the program. 
  • For programs completed over winter-break and spring break, the credit-hours associated with the program are part of the spring semester. Students taking between 12 to 20 Athens campus hours, including those associated with the program, will not incur additional tuition costs for the spring semester. Students taking less than 12 or more than 20 Athens campus credits for the spring term will see their tuition charge adjusted accordingly.  

Looking for Funding Opportunities? 

More information on financial aid and scholarships can be found on our funding pages.

Eligibility and Requirements 

PBIO 1150 (Plant Structure) or its equivalent is required; PBIO 3190 (Ohio Flora) or another advanced plant diversity course is strongly recommended [BIOS majors with PBIO 3190 do not need PBIO 1150]. Students should have a 2.5 or better GPA. Students with 2.2 GPA or above may be considered. Preferences will be given first to junior and senior PBIO undergraduate students with strong taxonomic background. Completion of the mandatory pre-departure meetings during fall semester is required. 

Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad.  Click here to read the entire conduct policy 

This program does not accept NON-OHIO students. 

Participants must have a at least a high school diploma or the equivalent (e.g. GED) by the start date of the program to be considered for eligibility.  Students enrolled in College Credit Plus (CC+) are not eligible for study away programs.

Entry and Exit Requirements 

U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States. If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year,  apply for your passport  now. Some countries also require a visa to legally enter or reside in the country.

U.S. citizens  will not  need a visa or other special document to enter the country for the length of this program. Please also note that visa requirements may vary if you plan to stay in the country longer than the program dates or travel to other countries during or after the program. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to this program. 

For more specific visa related information, please visit OGO’s  Visa Information Page 

Information for  Non-U.S. citizens  can be found  here