Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments

  Research, Education and Community Outreach

    With a focus on Madagascar


Undergraduate and Graduate Education at Stony Brook University

Dr. Wright occasionally has openings for graduate students to work with her in Stony Brook Universityís Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences  or in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. The program is highly competitive so we suggest that you get in touch with Dr. Wright well in advance of the time that you wish to apply to graduate school.

Dr. Wright teaches a number of under-graduate courses in Anthropology at SBU. Other opportunities to get involved with ICTE include data entry assistance at the campus Propithecus Lab and through SBUís URECA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program). for further information regarding these opportunities.



Study Abroad in Madagascar

STUDY ABROAD MADAGASCAR Is a rigorous program focused on the biodiversity of Madagascar and the training of future scientists and explorers! All courses are taught in English by Ph.D. faculty with extensive experience working in Madagascar. Lecture courses will prepare students to tackle the tough questions posed by the complexity of tropical ecosystems, while hands-on fieldwork will demonstrate the methodologies of tropical field biology. Excursions to other parts of the country introduce students to the diversity of Madagascarís environments, biodiversity, and cultures. Students who complete this program will be well-prepared for advanced studies in Anthropology or Tropical Biology. The Study Abroad programs are open to all students in colleges and universities across the U.S.


Fall Program

General Information

Participants:  Up to 25 university juniors and seniors, each Fall.

Dates:  Application deadline is May 1.  The program runs early-September to late November.  Payment of Program Fee and purchase of airfare are required by Aug 1.

Academic Credit:  Students in the program will be matriculated at Stony Brook University for one semester and, upon successful completion, will receive up to 15 undergraduate semester hours, which -at the discretion of the home institution- may be transferred and used in the fulfillment of the requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.

Courses (15 credits total, in Anthropology and/or Biology):

Field Methods of Primatology and Field Biology: Introduction to the concepts and practical skills needed to study lemurs, reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, plants, and aquatic habitats. (4 credits)

Primate Behavior and Ecology:  An introduction to primate social systems and the factors that influence their maintenance and evolution. (3 credits)

Ecosystem Diversity in Madagascar:  Take a cross-country trip to study the diverse habitats and cultural traditions of southern Madagascar.

(2 credits)

Independent Research: Design, execute, and present the results of an independent study project, on a topic of your choice (biological or cultural), under the close supervision of project staff. (6 credits)

Summer Program

General Information

Participants:  Up to 20 university juniors and seniors, each Summer

Dates:  (Summer Session I)

Courses (9 credits total  in Anthropology/Biology)

An Introduction to Field Methods (ANP/BIO 391): Students will learn the methods used by field biologists to study biodiversity within a tropical forest.  Instruction will include exposure to techniques such as: behavioral sampling of non-human primates, mist netting understory birds, stream ecology assessment, botanical sampling methods, pitfall trapping of invertebrates, small mammal trapping, herpetological assessments, and field applications for geographical information technology. This course will also incorporate an Ecological Monitoring Project. Students will initiate a long-term study of invasive plant species within the forests of RNP.  In carrying out this project, students will have an opportunity to apply the field methods techniques that they have learned and provide much needed information to the conservation community and RNP management staff.

Comparative Ecosystems Excursion (ANP 487): A cross-country trip will provide students with the opportunity to examine and compare ecosystems as diverse as rainforest, dry deciduous forest, spiny desert, mangrove swamps and coral reefs.

Malagasy Culture and Language (ANT 391): Students will attend formal classes with native Malagasy speakers meet with local community and school groups, and attend a variety of cultural activities within the towns and villages that surround RNP.

For more information on applying for the Study Abroad Program go to:

Or Contact:

International Academic Programs

Melville Library, E-5340

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY 11794-3397

Phone: (631) 632-7030


Links of Interest:

Click here to read a blog created by one of our 2009 Study Abroad participants.


Click here to watch a video on Madagascar produced by one of our 2008 Study Abroad students. The video has won the 2011 "Merit for Conservation" award from the International Wildlife Film committee.


Meet the Fall 2011 Study Abroad Teaching Staff

Program Director, Dr. Patricia Wright
For more information on Dr. Wright Go to the "About Us" page.

Resident Coordinator, Dr. Tharcisse Ukizintambara

My interest in wildlife and nature started quite a while ago. As a young boy back in Rwanda, I used to escort my grandma to collect medicinal plants. These expeditions developed my keen eye to identify different plant species and their utility. Inspired, I embarked to study biology, ecology and conservation of plant, primates and other taxa. I participated as a learner or instructor in many field study trips throughout my academic programs. The first one was with the Tropical Biology Association course in Kibale forest, Uganda (after my undergraduate program in 1998). I went back to teach at TBA courses since 2005 then as a PhD candidate. In 1999, I attended the EarthWacth Institute course on primate (lemur’s) behavior by Prof. Pat Wright at Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. The same year, I started my graduate program at the University of East Anglia in the UK and was introduced to different ecosystems (seashore, dunes, farmlands, forests and mountaintops) of Ireland. In 2004, I participated in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste Dry Forest study abroad course in Costa Rica during my PhD program at the Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire, USA. My PhD, completed in 2010, was studying the blue monkeys in the Kakamega (Imprenetrable Forest) protected area in Kenya (Advisors: Beth Kaplan and Marina Cords). I have also attended several International Primatological Society and Society for Conservation Biology conferences as speaker. I have held several responsibilities in primate, plant and bird species conservation, environmental education and the management of NGOs. Wildlife Clubs, projects and training centers in my home country Rwanda and in the east, central and southern Africa and Madagascar and in the USA. I am now a dedicated environmental researcher, conservationist and educator. My work has mainly focused on investigating the linkages between species life history and environmental conservation. I particularly study the impact of human activities on the environment, edge effect theory, primate behavioral ecology, bird migratory flyways, human-wildlife conflict and the conservation of biological diversity in theory and practice. I completed a professional training in research design, review and implementation. I am fluent in oral and written communication and teaching ability and can share my knowledge with a wide audience in English and French. Beside camping and hiking with my family and friends, I like aerobics, playing volleyball and reading.

Dr. Tharcisse Ukizintambara