Stay Connected to Students and Researchers in the Tropics – Get Social with OTS!
OTS video shows impact of REUs on minority students 

A new four-minute video, sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation, highlights the story of the OTS REU program for a small group of Pacific Islander and Native American undergraduate students. The REU program, through grants from the REU Site-based program and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation at NSF, enables African-American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Pacific Islanders to spend nine weeks each summer conducting their own research in Costa Rica.  Mentored by experienced researchers at the OTS stations and faculty mentors from the students’ home institutions, the program is more than a summer experience for the students, but a solid step toward scientific publication, graduate school and a life-long career in the STEM fields.  The video filmed in 2016 at Las Cruces is an excellent depiction of the students in the REU program. 

La Selva’s Canopy Towers Going Back Up, Taller and Stronger

In 2015, two Canopy were toppled by a falling tree during a wind storm at La Selva Research Station. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the famous Canopy Towers are being reassembled and improved. Tower 1 is up and ready for research again. Continue reading.

Second session of Global Health Issues wraps up

Last week marked the conclusion for the second summer session of the OTS undergraduate course Global Health Issues in South Africa.  The global health course has been challenging for the participants many of whom encountered strikingly similar parallels to the current political and social climate in the United States with the effects of health and health care on local communities. Continue reading.

Open House at Las Cruces
On July 29, Las Cruces Research Station and the Wilson Botanical Garden hosted its inaugural Open House Day, with over 450 people from our local community visiting the station! This outreach event aimed to share the station’s science, conservation and sustainability efforts with the surrounding community through guided walks, workshops, talks and exhibitions. Continue reading.
Two REU students present their research at Emerging Researchers Conference
Two OTS REU students from the summer 2016  REU program, Odemaris Carrasquillo (University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez) and Shaquetta Johnson (Jackson State University), presented their REU projects at the annual Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM in Washington DC on March 2-4, 2017.  Continue reading.
Join the OTS friends' community

You can have a direct impact on helping students and researchers understand the critical role of the tropics in maintaining life on earth. More than 1,000 students benefit from our courses each year; courses that reach not only graduate and undergraduate students from the United States, but also students from throughout Latin America and South Africa; courses that focus on the key issues facing the tropics: from climate change, to global health issues, to infectious diseases, to the impact of humans and agricultural landscapes on natural ecosystems. Your support helps us, all of us, our OTS friends and alumni continue to address the great environmental issues of our time! 

Life Below the Surface: understanding the health of rivers.

We traveled upon a very rough road for many kilometers over a surface of dirt and small gravel, getting deeper into the forest until we reached the destination. Stepping out of the car, after the bumpy ride, a humid, green atmosphere surrounds me. The air is laden with moisture and the birds and insects chirp as loud as a crowded restaurant. We’re here to monitor the health of a river, and for this we needed to get into a pristine location. Continue reading.

Scrambled eggs: a La Selva Food Web Study

Scrambled eggs? This title the researcher gave her project really caught my attention. The eggs in question are lizard eggs, and they are being “un-scrambled” in an interesting and far-reaching research project that has been undertaken by one of the graduate students at La Selva. Meredith Swartwout (Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas) has been at La Selva before. Continue reading.

Enrollment Management Team Fall Recruiting

The undergraduate Enrollment Management team will be traveling across the country visiting universities and colleges this fall to talk to students, faculty, and study abroad officers about the upcoming OTS semester and summer study abroad programs in Costa Rica and South Africa. Continue reading.

Call for nominations 2017 Student Paper Award
Attention all OTS students, faculty and alumni! The OTS Membership Committee is pleased to announce the ninth annual OTS Outstanding Student Paper Award. Continue reading.
Become a part of our monthly message exclusively for donors
In addition to the E-Canopy, donors can expect to receive an exclusive monthly message. To make sure you receive your monthly message become  a donor  today!
Help grow the OTS Library
In order to improve the service provided by the OTS Library to our students and researchers we have launched a campaign requesting donations of specific books, which are detailed on the Library's wish list view-able  here.
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When you #StartWithaSmile, AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of the purchase price to OTS! Support OTS every time you shop!

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OTS graduate courses are designed to engage students in the formulation of feasible research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, and oral and written presentations through a “field problems” approach. The courses provide hands-on research experience in plant eco-physiology, microbial ecology, molecular ecology, remote sensing, rapid biodiversity inventories, and other cutting edge topics.  
We are offering the following graduate courses for 2017

Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond
Skills for Science and Beyond is an intensive, four-week course in tropical ecology that will challenge you in every way.  At its heart lie the highly regarded OTS "field problems," which engage students in the fast-paced formulation of research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, oral presentations, and written papers.  Students will take away advanced skills in research design, data analysis, writing, science communication, modeling, and collaborative research.

Ecología Tropical y Conservación
Este curso, dictado en español, ofrece un riguroso entrenamiento en métodos de investigación de la ecología tropical e incluye una unidad de campo en biología de la conservación. Está dirigido principalmente a estudiantes y profesionales latinoamericanos, independientemente de su afiliación institucional; también se aceptan solicitudes de estudiantes con dominio del español de cualquier nacionalidad e institución. Becas parciales disponibles.

Multimedia Science Storytelling
We believe in bringing the beautiful stories behind science/scientists to the world! Effective science communication achieves the goal of knowledge transfer. But great science communication captures the imagination and inspires. Great science communication takes advantage of one of the oldest human traditions - storytelling!

Tropical Landscape Conservation
In this intensive and practical course, students will gain knowledge about anthropologic and natural factors, which interact to produce, restore, and conserve landscapes. Students will apply those concepts on real conservation issues, like reclamation of wetlands and unused agro-forestry areas, linking them with urban realms; in this process, we will interact with local communities, scientists, conservation officers, politicians, and NGOs.

Tropical Plant Systematics
Offered in even–numbered years, this course emphasizes a strong conceptual foundation in phylogenetic systematics in an intensive field setting. The course travels to diverse habitats around Costa Rica, from cloud forest and paramo to tropical dry forest and Atlantic lowland rain forest.

Students attending institutions that are members of the OTS consortium pay lower tuition and have top priority for admission and additional scholarships.  Students from other institutions are also welcome to apply.  For more information about graduate programs and scholarship opportunities, please contact us at
Now Accepting Applications for Spring 2018  Semester Programs
    Spring 2018 
Application Deadline: November 1st

Spring 2018
Application Deadline: November 1st

  Spring 2018 
Application Deadline: November 1st
Scholarships available to qualified students upon acceptance!
Faculty Led Academic Groups
The OTS academic logistics staff has assisted hundreds of faculty members throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Costa Rica enhance their course trips by arranging everything from hotel reservations, transportation, meals, day activities, and research permits.     

Click here to learn more about how OTS can enrich your class today! 

Organization for Tropical Studies | 919-684-5774 | |