Pollination Biology in Sweden experiences by 2011 participants ...

"Best part was being at the field station with the professional biologists and Professor Dobson in her element. I loved the intense schedule and the ability to spend the majority of my days in the field. I felt able to focus and engage actually in the material and learn a tremendous amount about an often ignored area of biology, which has so much to offer."

"Going out into the field and visually learning was amazing. It was very hands-on and I prefer that. The area was so rich in biodiversity, it made the learning experience more comprehensive.  I now feel like I have a holistic picture of pollination."

"I loved being at the Field Station with professionals who live and breathe pollination and entomology. It was invigorating to be surrounded by such willing minds and eager-to-learn students. Academically, it was intense."

"I enjoyed the integrative aspects of this course, combining lecture and field study. Going out into the field is what brings this science together. To actually see what we were studying rather than theoretically study something was fantastic."

The Crossroads Pollination Biology Summer 2017 course in Sweden is a 5-week, 5-credit summer course on pollination biology at the research Station Linné, located on the island of Öland, off the coast of southeastern Sweden in the Baltic Sea.

This intensive short-term field course in Sweden provides students an opportunity to both study abroad and to have a field experience, all as part of the Whitman College curriculum. This course offers a chance for a wide range of students to actively experience the excitement of delving into plant and insect field biology through the lens of pollination ecology.

Program Dates

  • May 25, 2017 through July 6, 2017


  • Station Linné is a scientific research station situated in the southern part of the island of Öland, which offers an abundance of natural landscapes interspersed with agricultural fields. The human population of the island is low, which helps preserve this calm and beautiful location, making it ideal for research. Öland is close to the historic city of Kalmar – a county seat in the province of Småland.”

Program Itinerary*

  • May 25 Depart Seattle
  • May 26 Arrive in Stockholm
  • May 27-28 Visit historic, cultural and science-related sites in Stockholm
  • May 29 Travel to the Station Linne in Oland
  • May 29-30 Orientation to the Station Linné field station and to the island of Öland
  • May 31-July 5 Intensive Field Course, including weekly cultural excursions (such as to Himmelsberga Museum, Linnaeus' birthplace in Råshult, Öland’s southern Lighthouse, Borgholm castle) and activities (Midsummer celebration, Algutsrum Market).
  • July 6 Depart Station Linné to return to U.S.

*These are anticipated dates which will be finalized when the optional group flight has been booked.

Academic Program

  • The major objectives of the course are to provide:
    1. an overview of our understanding of pollination in flowering plants, including evolutionary history, floral biology, plant reproductive strategies, wind and animal pollination, floral and animal adaptations, flower-insect interactions, chemical ecology, bee biology, and current issues in pollinator conservation
    2. an introduction to common field methods used in pollination research
    3. exploration of current biological questions and experimental approaches in pollination studies
    4. familiarity with major plant families and flower-visiting insect families
    5. opportunity for students to design and conduct individual research projects in the field

BIO 472 ST: Pollination Biology - 5 credits

  • Instructor - Heidi Dobson, Professor of Biology
  • This is an intensive (5-week long) interdisciplinary course at the interface of plant and insect biology, and is structured to give the student a basic introduction to the broad and currently very active field of study revolving around pollination biology. In the lab, the student will gain hands-on experience with flower and insect biology; identification of major plant families, and insect orders and families; experimental methods in pollination research; and the student will conduct a capstone project focused on the pollination of a wild plant species of their choice.

Course Organization

  • The course will last five weeks, with 2 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab per day for five days a week.  In addition, students will be involved in cultural field trips every week.
  • The labs will typically be interdigitized with the lectures to enhance the hands-on understanding of material covered. The scheduling of lectures and labs during the day (and week) will be adjusted according to weather conditions so as to maximize our outdoor lab time when it is sunny. On rainy days, we will have more lecture time, and labs will focus on indoor activities.
  • The students will have assigned readings, written exams, lab project write-ups, lab practical exams, and a final independent project to conduct on their own time.

Pre-Course Orientation

  • To prepare admitted students for the course, life in Sweden, and travel to Europe, Professor Dobson will hold 3 or 4 mandatory one-hour meetings with students during the Spring semester. She will introduce students to the geographic and cultural aspects of Sweden and Öland, provide advice on travel arrangements and, as the departure time approaches, give basic information on Swedish cultural norms and language. Swedes are one of the most English-fluent peoples in Europe, and while knowledge of Swedish is not at all necessary, being familiar with basic greetings and common signage is very helpful and makes a person’s stay more pleasurable.

Dr. Heidi Dobson, Professor of Biology at Whitman College, will be the leading instructor for the entirety of the course. Pollination biology is her area of specialty, and she has been conducting multidisciplinary research in various aspects of bee-flower interactions at Station Linné since 1987.  She has conducted collaborative research with Whitman students annually and biannually at Station Linné.

Dr. Folke Larsson will be the local biologist assisting during the course. He has researched insects on Öland, written numerous nature guides in Sweden, and is familiar with the local flora and fauna.

Guest lecturers and scientists at the Station Linné will offer several special nature exploration events and field trips.


  • The facilities at the Station Linné provide for both research and short-term courses. In the single building that comprises the current station there are approximately 12 bedrooms; a kitchen; a large dining room that looks out on the grounds; a small library; a lecture room; and three laboratory rooms.
  • Students will live at the station, where showers, toilets, washing machine, and kitchen facilities are shared by all. They will be lodged in shared bedrooms with up to six beds.


  • Students will be provided with a weekly meal stipend for groceries. Each person will take care of her/his own food shopping, cooking, and clean up. This arrangement will allow students to explore local stores, try new dishes and traditional foods at their leisure, and cook together. Group meals will also be provided weekly featuring typical Swedish food, and celebrating holidays, such as Midsummer.


Pollination Biology in Sweden welcomes applications from all Whitman undergraduate students who:

  • have taken BIO 111 Biological Principles or BIO 112 The Biological World or demonstrate proficiency in basic biology, such as completion of BIO 122 Plant Biology or equivalent. 
  • are in academic good standing
  • will be a continuing student in Summer 2017 (May 2017 graduates are ineligible)

How to apply

To apply to Pollination Biology in Sweden Summer 2017, you will need to complete the application. This includes submission of the materials listed below. Please note that space is limited to 15 students.

  • Personal information form
  • Essays
  • Records release form
  • Financial Aid application form - this portion of the Application will be completed by Financial Aid Services


  • November 28, 2016


  • Applicants will be interviewed by the Faculty Director and an Off-Campus Studies staff member as part of the selection process after the application deadline.

Program Fees

  • The program fees for the Crossroads Pollination Biology in Sweden Summer Field Course are $2,900. The program fees cover the following:
    • Tuition for 5-credit course and course materials
    • Housing accommodations in Stockholm and at Station Linné on Öland
    • Meal stipend
    • Medical insurance in Sweden
    • Group travel within Sweden, course field trips, and program excursions
    • Pre-departure meetings and in-country orientation in Sweden
    • Local and expert support
  • The program fee does not cover international airfare to and from Sweden, passport fees, U.S. medical insurance, or incidental expenses such as laundry, stationery items, souvenirs, entertainment or independent travel. International airfare is separate from the program fee and estimated at $1,700-$2,000.  A group flight option will be available.
  • Estimated costs (program fees plus airfare, not including personal incidentals) total $4,600-$4,900.

Enrollment Deposit

  • Students admitted into the program will be expected to pay a nonrefundable enrollment deposit of $500 no later than January 17, 2017.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • Full and partial need-based scholarship aid is available. The Pollination Biology in Sweden course is fortunate to have substantial scholarship funding available through the Crossroads program. We encourage all applicants who feel they may need financial assistance, in order to participate in the program, to complete the financial aid application that accompanies the Pollination application form.