This travel course will visit the varied environments of the Amazon Rainforest. From the forest flora and fauna to the creatures thriving in the major blackwater and whitewater rivers (Rio Negro and Rio Solimões) and everything in between, we will have the opportunity to directly observe and study the amazing biodiversity of creatures throughout this area of Brazil.  We will collaborate with the faculty and students in the classroom, laboratories, and field sites through the Federal University of the Amazon in Manaus to engage with fish, birds, mammals, and plants throughout the region in controlled and wild settings. In addition, we will interact directly with local Brazilian culture, history, and culinary delights, and have the opportunity to explore the special urban and rural areas of Manaus.  This course counts as an academic field experience.

Prerequisite: BI 1114 and the ability to procure a passport for international travel by June 2019.

Instructor: Pieter deHart

Enrollment Cap: 15 students

Course dates: June 17-26, 2019

Course Fee: $1000 ($500 Non-refundable deposit due April 26th, 2019)

Tuition: $1710

Additional Course Details

Travel Destination: Amazon Rainforest, Rio Negro, and Rio Solimões, based in Manaus, Brazil

 The Amazon rainforest is the most unique and biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. As a seasonally flooded forest, it provides a special opportunity to observe and interact with unspoiled creatures and habitats in a variety of settings, including both alkaline and acid rivers, old-growth forests, native subsistence communities and even remote agricultural systems.  While the Amazon extends across multiple nations, the vast majority of this ecosystem and diversity resides in Brazil, and is accessible from the capital of Amazonas state, the city of Manaus. With nearly 1.8 million inhabitants, Manaus has a world-class university (UFAM), the world’s only urban continuous tract of rainforest, access to both the Rio Negro (blackwater) and Rio Solimões (whitewater), as well as the world famous Encontro das aguas (Meeting of the waters). Add onto this an already-established partnership between Dr. deHart and Dr. Freitas, full access to the housing, classroom, and laboratory facilities (and vessels) at UFAM, guest lecturers from locals Dr. Freitas, Dr. Siqueria-Souza, and Dr. Yamamoto, and this is the perfect place to base a travel field course exploring the Amazon.

The following agencies will be visited:

Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM): The Federal University of Amazonas is a public university located in Manaus, state of Amazonas, Brazil. UFAM is the oldest university in Brazil and the largest university in the northern region of Brazil. The University is within and surrounded by Rainforest, and has incredible diversity of flora and fauna literally within an arm’s reach of the classrooms, offices, and laboratories.

Centro de Instrução de Guerra Na Selva (CIGS): The CIGS Zoo, as it is often called, is the only Zoological center in the world based completely in a Military training center. The cadets, officers, and trainees prepare themselves to protect the world’s endangered species in the Amazon, and have some of the rarest rescued organisms on the planet recuperating in this facility. “The zoo is on 36,000 square meters of forest inside the Jungle Warfare Instructional Center (CIGS), where service members specializing in combat in a jungle environment are based. Colonel Jorge Teixeira created the zoo in 1967 as part of the Jungle Operations Course (COS), which also teaches students jungle survival skills, the behavior of animals that live in the rain forest, and how to protect them.”

Parque Nacional de Anavilhanas: Anavilhanas National Park is a national park that encompasses a huge river archipelago in the Rio Negro in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. It is part of a World Heritage Site.

Instituto Nacional de Pesquisa Amazonia (INPA): The National Institute of Amazonian Research is a public educational and research institution headquartered in Manaus, Brazil. It was founded in 1952, with the purpose of furthering scientific knowledge of the Brazilian Amazon Region. They support field stations on the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões, as well as observation towers in the rainforest north of the city of Manaus.


June 17- Depart Boston- Arrive in Manaus; Travel to UFAM for Introductions, Welcome, Orientation; Dinner and evening in Manaus

June 18- Morning lecture and tour of UFAM and surrounding forest; local lunch, Afternoon discussion on diversity of fish (Dr. Freitas and Dr. Yamamoto); visit to CIGS zoo.

June 19- Visit to Amazon region agricultural market (UFAM), city exploration of fish and cultural markets; Afternoon fish biology labs

June 20-Travel to Novo Airão and Anavilhanas National Park; Boto, Caiman, and bird viewing, tour of Rio Negro and braided rivers.

June 21- Visit to Manaus cultural and historical sites: Teatro Amazonas, Rio Negro Beach, Amazonas shopping, Acai stands, beach volleyball.

June 22- Travel to Iranduba and Rio Solimões; River exploration and tucuxi viewing; evening return to Manaus

June 23- Morning discussion of commercial fisheries in Brazil at UFAM (Dr. Siqueria-Souza); Trip to Encontro de Aguas (Meeting of the Waters);

June 24- Ornithological exploration North of Manaus, INPA tower. Evening exploration of Adrianopolis.

June 25- Depart from MAO/Travel back to Boston, MA; June 26- Arrive in Boston, MA


  1. Special gear/equipment needs- Protective clothing to reduce sun and insect pest exposure.
  2. Other considerations (e.g. physical strain, fitness requirements, environmental concerns, significant cultural norms)- This course will require some appreciation for different cultures. We will be exposed to sun, heat, and rain, but will have regular trained emergency staff accessible at all times. Manaus is a fully modern city with nearly all the services and amenities that can be expected in any US major metropolitan area. This is a malaria-prone region of the world, and so participants will need to take a prophylactic anti-malarial for the duration of the trip, and it is recommended that they get a yellow-fever vaccine prior to travel, as well. *Note- as of June 17, no visa will be required for American travelers to Brazil.