Field Course title
  • Students hiking through tropical rainforest.
  • Student researching in the field.
  • Close up of a frog with tadpole on its back.

2017 CHANCE Costa Rica program

Program Description

Participants in this embedded field program will carry-out pre-trip, online assignments then conduct authentic field research with Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS) scientists focusing on the biodiversity and ecology of the tropical rainforests of La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Additionally, they will engage in field exploration and conservation-based lessons and projects.

Biology 296 or 496* - Conservation and Sustainability of the Tropical Rainforest. During the second eight weeks of the Spring 2017 semester, students will engage in online learning opportunities and lessons designed to develop their pre-field-trip knowledge in the following content areas: the biodiversity of the varied tropical rainforests in Costa Rica; the published scientific research behind global climate change and the international policies enacted thus far; the published scientific research behind the specific ecological and conservation research projects to be undertaken at La Selva Biological Station; the scientific work and conservation efforts of the OTS at La Selva to protect the biodiversity of the tropical rainforest; and, the geography, culture, government, educational and environmental policies, and people of Costa Rica.

*Students enrolled in Biology 496 are required to carry-out an additional pre-trip research of two of the above listed topic areas.

Biology 296 or 496* - A Field Practicum in Costa Rica. This ten-day field summer practicum (May 19 - 28, 2017) will provide real-world research experience–mentored by OTS, La Selva field-based scientists–focused on tropical rainforest ecosystem ecology and biodiversity. As participants progress through the program, they will learn how an understanding of both scientific research and conservation biology are key components to addressing the global challenges of rainforest sustainability. Highlights of this embedded field course include: participation in authentic research; presenting original research data and its interpretation at a professional symposium; guided hikes through select primary and secondary rainforests to study biodiversity (OTS La Selva; Bijagual Forest Reserve or Selva Verde; and Braulio Carrillo National Park at Quebrada González); boat field trip through the Puerto Viejo and Sarapiquí Rivers; a tour of a coffee plantation; and, TBD conservation project (river margins reforestation, river cleanup, or invasive species removal).

* Students enrolled in Biology 496 are required to lead their research group through various aspects of their assigned field research under the supervision of their instructors.


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