The Neotropical Ecology Institute (NEI) is a multi-disciplinary network of faculty, staff and students of Tulane University who are devoted to scientific research and education on ecology, environment, human population and development in critical tropical regions of Latin America. NEI participants come from many disciplines, including biology, ecology, anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, public health, and law.
The purpose of NEI is to promote inter-disciplinary dialogue, education and knowledge about critical environmental areas in Latin America. NEI believes in the search for policies and ecosystem/habitat conservation strategies which can also enhance human well-being.
Meso-America, tropical South America, and Caribbean regions provide an ideal laboratory for studying and teaching about the interaction between humans and the natural environment. A diverse natural mosaic of tropical rainforest, scrubland, cloud forests, coastal reefs, mangroves and estuaries is enriched by varied geological, climatic, and marine conditions; and by historical, cultural, political and economic circumstances unique to the individual countries. The region faces economic and environmental crises.
NEI is managed by an Executive Committee and run by volunteer faculty and students. Since 1981, NEI (previously the Meso-America Ecology Institute, or MEI) has supported numerous faculty, visiting scholars and students through its courses, research grants, publications, endowed chairs, and research collections.