Genomics in the Jungle

Participate: Genomics in the Jungle

2024 Registration

Quick Facts

NOTE

Each year this course attempts to tackle a  new application of field genomics, in addition to our core efforts to better describe biodiversity through molecular classification and metagenomics. Specialty topics are typically announced at the end of the spring university semester.

PROGRAM DETAILS

Read the paper from our first
Genomics in the Jungle field course

Watsa, M., Erkenswick, G.A., Pomerantz, A. and Prost, S., 2020. Portable sequencing as a teaching tool in conservation and biodiversity research. PLoS Biology, 18(4), p.e3000667.

A Slice of Genomics-in-the-Jungle Life!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about traveling to Peru and my stay there?

We meet up for this course in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, then head to the field station together as a group.  If you have questions about what to bring, how to plan your travel, what the meals and lodging will be like at the field station, and more – please contact us at info[at]fieldprojects[dot]org.

Can I get credit for my participation in this program?

Participants can acquire credit directly from their universities. You would provide your university with the course syllabus, and the school may decide to accept the instructors’ evaluation and issue credit for the course. For more details on obtaining credit or deciding if credit is for you, please email us at info[at]fieldprojects[dot]org

Questions to ask yourself before signing up for credit:

1. Will my university accept transfer credits from another institution? Please consult your advisor and confirm this before signing up.

2. Can I afford to take the course for credit? The credit costs are paid directly to the university while the course fee is paid to FPI. Both will be necessary before you can take the course for credit.

I'm an international student, so how about course credit for me?

The United States of America’s university system runs on credits – typically 2 to 4 per class. A student needs a certain number of credits to graduate with a Bachelors’ degree. However, this system has little to no meaning outside the USA itself, and thus, when we offer credits, we are primarily targeting those students within the USA to whom this is relevant. Course credit is therefore only available to students in the USA, or possibly countries like Canada, who can transfer credits from USA Universities to their institutions that will apply towards their degrees.

For all other students — and there have been plenty who have attended our courses — you receive many other benefits to taking the course, such as:

  1. A certificate from FPI showing that you attended and completed the course
  2. A detailed report of your performance and your final grade, which you can share with future employers or anyone else in any manner you wish to.

To be clear: You are not required to sign up for credits in the USA university system, whether or not you come from a country in which this system is recognized. Furthermore, there is no requirement for USA students to take this course for credit. Course credit is an optional item, and will incur credit fees from the university in question.

Why take this course?

Apart from the valuable skills, knowledge, and experience that you will acquire, FPI encourages alumni to network, support, and collaborate with each other after the course is done.  Also, our staff remains available for academic and career advice. Many of our alumni have returned as research assistants, and later even joined us as research collaborators, field team leaders, and instructors.

In addition to the specific training that will benefit those going into many fields, our courses also entail pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and are challenging both mentally and physically. Furthermore, this is a chance to visit remote research stations in the most bio-diverse regions of the planet, and to learn about the incredible flora and fauna that you will see at every turn. 

Do I need previous field or laboratory experience to take this course?

No, you do not need previous research experience. This field course is designed for participants at all levels. In past courses we have accomodated undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and professors simultaneously. We maintain a low participant:instructor ratio for this reason, to give useful instruction to each participant. We also find that diverse course participants enriches the experience for everyone.

What if FPI has to cancel this program?

If FPI cancels a program due to complications related to COVID-19, participants would receive all but 1.5% of fees already paid. The 1.5% represents the credit processing fees charged to FPI for accepting online payments.

What if I need to cancel?

If a participant cancels: 
 
Because we block your spot and potentially reject other applicants based on your being on the team, cancellations can affect team recruitment quite strongly. Nevertheless, we do recognize that circumstances sometimes demand cancellations – so we do the best that we can, given the restrictions we are under. 
 

Our cancellation policy is: 

  • 30 days or more before your start date: 45% refunded
  • Less than 30 days from your start date: no refund is possible
If you have extenuating circumstances, or applied closer than 30 days to your start date, please contact us. 
 

Our cancellation policy specific to COVID-19:

  • Before May 1st, if you cancel for a COVID-19 related reason, you will get all payments refunded, minus a 1.5% credit processing fee.
  • After May 1st, FPI will have paid a large portion of your program fees to our field station partners, who provide your accommodations and meals the entire time you are on site. This means that those withdrawing due to COVID-19 after May 1st will be refunded all fees paid minus 6.5%. This portion is retained solely to cover our own credit processing fees, as well as the bank fees incurred by our partners at the Los Amigos Conservation Hub in Peru. 
PLEASE NOTE: Those canceling due to COVID-19 will be asked to provide documentation or a doctor’s note

What does the program cost cover?

The cost to participate includes:

  • Lodging and all meals at the field station
  • Structured field activities and classroom instruction for participants, plus the provision of specialized equipment and supplies necessary to conduct training and research activities.

Program fees do NOT include:

  • Any travel costs
  • Lodging and meals in Puerto Maldonado
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Required vaccinations
  • Binoculars or other personal field equipment

A large majority of the fees paid to our training programs cover lodging and food costs charged by the host field station. Importantly, at the Los Amigos Biological Station lodging fees not only support the cost of running and maintaining a remote field site, but contribute to the larger mission of their parent NGO (Association for the Conservation of the Amazon Basin) to protect conservation areas, monitor deforestation, maintain wildlife corridors, and more.

Do you offer financial assistance?

Limited, competitive scholarships are available through FPI. Each has specific criteria, including some specifically for Peruvian students and individuals who identify as Black. See our scholarships page for more details. 

What vaccines will I need?

You will have to provide proof of a normal vaccination record (as listed here by the CDC). For travel to Peru, we require that you also get the following vaccines: 

  • Typhoid 
  • Yellow Fever
  • Tetanus
  • COVID-19 (no exceptions)
  • Rabies pre-exposure series (only for those in programs involving wildlife handling of mammals.)

If you have the flu shot for the year, all the better. Find a travel clinic and get your shots EARLY.

Will I need special medical insurance?

All participants are required to show proof of medical insurance before joining us in the field. Many travel insurance providers can assist with emergency medical coverage and emergency medical evacuation. Be certain that COVID-19 is covered in your plan.

What will happen if the case of another global pandemic like COVID-19?

Our programs will proceed as planned unless global travel restrictions prevent our team from reaching the field site, or the field site is shut down.

 

In the event of an ongoing pandemic quarantine and testing protocols will be observed to ensure that no one exposes another team member or animal the infectious agent. In addition to our programs protocols, all persons will have to comply with national travel regulations. During COVID-19, out field station qualified as a quaruntine site, since it met all government-approved COVID protocols, and has the capacity to maintain social distance between all visitors.

 

Our enhanced protocols in laboratory and wildlife handling situations are designed to meet or exceed scientific best practices. They are drafted in conjunction with our Peruvian partners (Conservacion Amazonica), Peruvian authorities (SERFOR) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) of our affiliate research universities. Broadly speaking, they will involve strict use of face masks, N95 masks, and gloves during specific activities.

 

Participants will receive detailed instructions on our procedures prior to departing for the field site.

What if I show symptoms of COVID-19 at the field site?

The first signs of suspected symptoms or a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be reported immediately to the field station managers and FPI senior scientists. They will have protocols for isolating symptomatic guests, arranging viral testing, notifying those you have been in contact with, and evacuating you to the nearest hospital if necessary.

 

(Note that travel to a hospital and any care there is at your own cost; make sure your insurance policy covers this.)

The nearest healthcare facilities are in Puerto Maldonado, which is approximately 4-5 hours downriver from our field site. In that city, our Peruvian partners have a recommended doctor certified by MINSA (the Ministry go Health). There are also other private and public healthcare options. The private facilities are more expensive (one of the reasons we require participants to have travel medical insurance), but they will likely be able to treat patients faster if public facilities are full. 

 

The second option would be in Cusco, which is approximately 10 hours by car from Puerto Maldonado. There are more clinics in Cusco than Puerto Maldonado.

 

*While everyone will have their temperatures taken upon arrival by an infrared thermometer, we suggest that participants bring their own thermometers in their first-aid kits, and check themselves daily.

 

If a person must leave the field station to get treatment and recover from COVID-19, they will be permitted to return after 7 days with a negative antigen test. A negative molecular test will let someone back to the station after 14 days.