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This course focuses on studies of biodiversity and on conservation issues in the tropics. It is intended for students who want to experience field research in ecology and get a taste of tropical biodiversity.

Students and instructors will meet throughout the academic year and go on a two-week field trip to Costa Rica which will overlap with the 2015 reading week. In the field, projects will be related to the ecology and conservation of bats and insects, using a broad range of current techniques and tools. In groups of 2 or 3, students will design and conduct their own field project and help other groups with their data collection. While most of the time in Costa Rica is spent at the field station, the itinerary allows the group to experience the country's diverse landscapes and its culture.

Recipients of the 2014 of the Roger Epp Team-Based Undergraduate Award.


More about our field research in Costa Rica and OSA Conservation

The Augustana Field Research Program in Costa Rica was initiated in 1999 in order to carry out class based undergraduate field research on tropical biodiversity and ecology in the context of conservation. To date, 94 students have contributed over 950 days of ecological field work in Costa Rica under the umbrella of the six-credit courses in Tropical Ecology and Conservation (AUBIO/ENV 350 and 459) or through independent studies in BIO and ENV. Several students presented their research at scientific meetings ranging from provincial to international and peer-reviewed conferences. For each trip, we have also been sharing the biodiversity information acquired during the courses with our host organizations by providing them with updated species lists and selected student papers.

The Piro Biological Station of the Osa Conservation Centre is the current location of our field studies. This reserve is part of a biological corridor on the Osa Peninsula, an extension of the Corcovado National Park, which together make up one of the largest lowland Pacific tropical rainforests in existence today. The reserve covers diverse ecosystems including mangroves, restored habitats and mature forests. The biodiversity in this corridor is rich, encompassing 50% of the species found in Costa Rica and including over 300 endemic plant and invertebrate species. In spite of this diversity, much less ecological work has taken place in the Osa in comparison to other regions in Costa Rica. Osa Conservation is the largest NGO in the peninsula and emphasizes a multi-disciplinary knowledge-based approach to environmental protection which is grounded in community engagement.

Check out the gallery of past trips.