The Crossroads Pollination Biology Summer 2019 course in Sweden is a 6-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. During the first week of this six-week program, the students will be introduced to the culture and landscape of Sweden in Stockholm and Öland.  The main academic component of the program is 5-weeks long.

This intensive short-term field course 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 21, 2019 through July 3, 2019


  • 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 21 Depart Seattle
  • May 22 Arrive in Stockholm
  • May 23-24 Visit historic, cultural and science-related sites in Stockholm
  • May 25 Travel to the Station Linné in Öland
  • May 25-27 Orientation to the Station Linné field station and to the natural environment and life on the island of Öland
  • May 28-July 1 Intensive Field Pollination Course. The program includes weekly cultural excursions (such as to Himmelsberga Museum, Öland’s southern Lighthouse, Borgholm castle, Kalmar castle) and activities (Midsummer celebration, Algutsrum Market)
  • July 2 Clean-up day
  • July 3 Depart Station Linné to return to U.S.

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

Course Title: BIO 272: Pollination Biology
Credits: Five (5) credits
Counts as:

Major Credit:
   Biology (Ecology/Evolution area)

Distribution Credit:
   Sciences with lab

Prerequisite: BIO 111 or BIO 112 or BIO 122 or equivalent | BIO 112 is strongly recommended

Course Description:

  • This is an intensive academic course at the interface of plant and insect biology, and is structured to give students a basic introduction to the broad and currently very active field of study revolving around pollination biology. In the laboratory component of the course, which is conducted mainly in the field, students will gain hands-on experience with flower and insect biology; identification of major plant and insect families; experimental methods in pollination research through class exercises and student group projects; and students will conduct a capstone field project focused on a pollination topic of their choice.
  • Course Syllabus

The major objectives of this course are to provide:

  • 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
  • an introduction to common field methods used in pollination research
  • exploration of current biological questions and experimental approaches in pollination studies
  • familiarity with major plant families and flower-visiting insect families
  • opportunity for students to design and conduct individual research projects in the field and learn how to write them up as scientific papers

Pollination Field Course Organization:

  • The course will last five weeks, with 1.5 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab per day for five days a week, as well as relevant field excursions.
  • 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 outdoor lab time when it is sunny. On rainy days, there will be 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 predeparture 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 sleeping quarters; 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.
  • Sleeping quarters are small and rustic, include bunkbeds, and sleep up to six students per room.


  • Each student 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. BIO 112 The Biological World is strongly recommended. 
  • are in academic good standing
  • will be continuing students in Summer 2019 (May 2019 graduates are ineligible)
  • are registered for classes at Whitman in Spring 2019 (ie students who are off campus on a Leave of Absence or on Off-Campus Studies during the Spring 2019 semester are ineligible)

How to apply:


  • Applications will be accepted thru Monday, November 26, 2018. This is not a rolling deadline and applications will be reviewed following the application closing date of Nov 26, 2018.

Group size:

  • Space is limited to 14 students


  • Applicants will be interviewed by the Faculty Director and an Off-Campus Studies staff member as part of the selection process at the beginning of December (on or directly following the last day of classes).

Admission Notification:

  • Students will be informed of the status of their application in early January.

Enrollment Deposit:

  • Students admitted into the Crossroads program will be expected to pay a nonrefundable enrollment deposit of $500 within two weeks of acceptance. The enrollment deposit will be counted towards the course fee.

Program Fee: $2,300 (not including international airfare and meals)

The program fee covers the following:

  • Tuition for 5-credit course and course materials (excluding personal items such as notebooks and computer)
  • Housing accommodations in Stockholm and at Station Linné on Öland
  • International Medical insurance in Sweden
  • Group meals in Stockholm
  • Group travel within Sweden, course field trips, and program excursions
  • Pre-departure meetings and in-country orientation in Sweden

International Airfare: $2,100 (estimate)

  • The program fee does not cover international airfare to and from Sweden, meals, 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-$2,100.  A group flight option will be available.

Estimated Meal Costs: $520 ($12 - $15 per day)

Total Estimated Costs:

$2,300 Program Fee
$2,100 International Airfare (estimate)
$   520 Meals (estimate) 

$4,920 Total

Enrollment Deposit:

  • Students admitted into the program will be expected to pay a nonrefundable enrollment deposit of $500 in mid-January, within 2 weeks of acceptance to the program.  The enrollment deposit will be counted towards the course fee.

Scholarships and Financial Aid:

  • Students with financial need are encouraged to apply for funding.  Need-based scholarship assistance is available through Whitman Crossroads funding.  Both partial and full scholarships may be awarded.
  • Students will be notified of their aid awards in their course admission notification letter.

What was your favorite aspect of the course?

"My favorite aspect of the course was the integrative learning between the field and the lecture.  Everything made sense because we were applying it directly.  The methods through which we interacted with the field were especially good, i.e. our lab projects and independent project."

"My favorite part was the practical application of the theory that we used in class.  We would learn something in lecture, then immediately go out and apply it in the field."

"Aside from the awesome content, being on Öland was my favorite part.  The weekend activities to different cultural sights were great.  I loved visiting the castles, lighthouses, and museums."

"Getting to be in Sweden! Honestly, the travel is what made this course so wonderful. We were spoiled rotten with Folke (local leader) and Heidi as our guides and teachers. I feel like I really got to see Stockholm and a bunch of Öland. What beautiful places. Folke (local leader) was an amazing addition to this course. He has a wealth of knowledge about plants, birds, insects, and Sweden that we would not have experienced without him. It was evident that he cared a lot about the students and wanted us to learn as much as we could, and his kind, thoughtful words were always extremely supportive."

Were the lab projects effective in building up your experience in field pollination techniques?

"I liked working with different people for each lab project. Working with partners is a valuable skill in general. My classmates inspired me and challenged me. I felt capable of carrying out my own study after the three (3) projects."

"I learned many new techniques that will be useful in the future. I liked how the projects were more exploration and gave me a good understanding of pollination techniques."

Was the pre-course cultural activity time spent in Stockholm effective in introducing you to Sweden?

"It was very worthwhile and I'm grateful we were able to see as much of Stockholm as we did. I loved the Vasa Museum and Old Town. Also, Folke and Virgina were amazing and having them there made the experience so much more genuine and enjoyable."

"It was a such a lovely transition into Sweden! It was one of my highlights!"

Did the course meet your expectations and would you recommend it to a friend?

"It was exactly what I expected except the station - Station Linne was wayyyy more beautiful than I expected!! I would absolutely recommend this course to a friend! These summer-intensive biology courses are important in getting people interested in field research. It's so much fun with a lot of challenging, but rewarding work."

"I thought that the topics covered during this course showed a nice overview of pollination biology and research methods. For the length of the course, the breadth and depth were perfect."

"In most cases this course went beyond my expectations in terms of how much content was covered. It was an excellent experience in which I learned a lot of information in a way that I can call on it and use it readily."