Habitats in Costa Rica include lowland rain forest (La Selva and Corcovado), cloud forest (Monteverde), dry forest (Palo Verde and Santa Rosa), pre-montane wet forest (Las Cruces), montane forest (Cuerici), alpine paramo, streams, and wetlands. The schedule is full, including fieldwork, laboratories, lectures and discussions, with emphasis on original research, mostly in small groups of 2-3. Faculty and advanced graduate TAs share field accommodations with students and are in continuous contact as mentors throughout the program. Students master field and analytical methods (including hypothesis testing, statistical and software skills) for observational and experimental research. We pursue a great variety of research topics, including plant-pollinator and plant-herbivore interactions, processes driving coral reef structure (and coral reef decline), determinants of species distributions, animal behavior, and conservation ecology. Students practice contemporary scientific inquiry: making observations, asking testable questions, generating hypotheses, developing experimental protocols, collecting data, making statistical inferences - including multi-model comparisons, writing scientific papers, and presenting seminars. Research papers are published in an annual book. Accommodations are at field stations in Costa Rica, and at a marine laboratory in the Caribbean.
Printable syllabus with sample schedule and readings