Spring 2019
Stay Connected to Students and Researchers in the Tropics – Get Social with OTS!
The Year Ahead!
OTS is committed to maintaining and managing our research stations in Costa Rica to further OTS’ legacy in the tropics. These facilities provide the foundation for OTS’ mission and serve as the home to countless research projects and educational programs. Our goal is to maintain visitor and research support and provide for infrastructure improvements.

To promote our work, OTS has developed an electronic version of our 2019 calendar. The new format still conveys the beauty of the rain forest and the importance of OTS’ mission while reducing our impact on the environment. Please let us know if you would like a copy sent to you.

Please consider a donation at this time to help with the operations of Palo Verde, La Selva, Las Cruces and Skukuza Research Stations. Together we can make a difference!
Restoring the Palo Verde Wetland
On February 20 th , the OTS Research Station at the Palo Verde National Park held a fundraising event to highlight OTS’ involvement with the Palo Verde wetland, one of the largest and most important wetlands in Central America and an international Ramsar site for wetland protection. The surrounding area is also home to one of the largest remaining tropical lowland dry forest in Mesoamerica providing critical habitat for more than 750 species of trees and plants, including 20 endangered hardwood tree species. OTS, in collaboration with the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment, is conducting key research to help develop restoration plans for this internationally important wetland.
XXXIV Christmas Count Bird at La Selva
On December 15, 2018, OTS hosted the 34th Christmas Bird Count at La Selva. This is a census of birds in the Western Hemisphere performed annually by volunteer birdwatchers. The main goal is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology. The large number of observers and favorable weather allowed us to have the highest count in history with a total of 381 species and 13,725 birds. Read more.

Stories from the field: OTS African Ecology & Conservation Spring course
Wetland wonderland: Nylsvley in a nutshell
By Dr Lisa Nupen (Resident Lecturer)

After a long drive from Emerald Backpackers, OTS South Africa students arrived at Nylsvley Nature Reserve – the first of many field sites that they will visit during their African Ecology and Conservation semester programme. They dived right into lectures with Dr Laurence Kruger talking about south African Biomes and savannas. The first morning at Nylsvley was spent conducting a “Natural History walk”. OTS staff and students discussed African fauna and flora: the importance of termites, savanna plant adaptations, weaver nests, wildflowers and aardvark burrows. Read more.
Stories from the field: OTS African Ecology & Conservation Spring course
OTS Students Experience

Hello from the OTS Spring 2019 students! Sprinkled into all of this studying and field work are 6 am game drives where we see some COOL COOL COOL animals, as well as some afternoon visits to the tourist shop and restaurant, and practicing some language with the members of the catering staff (Better learn some Venda ASAP!!). All fourteen of us students have seen the Big 5; Lions, Elephants, Buffalo, Rhino, and Leopards. The Big 5 club is missing some quintessential African fauna, as we have also seen hippos, crocodiles, African wild dogs, monitor lizards, and some lucky few have seen a cheetah and a honey badger. There are some hyenas that like to come along the fence of camp after dinner, and the vervet monkeys are practically everywhere. Read more.
Important Research at La Selva: How Tropical rain forest are affected by global climate change
By Dr. David Clark and Dr. Deborah Clark.

We called this project the CARBONO project, using the Spanish word for carbon. Our principal goal was to understand the sensitivity of tropical rain forests to changing climatic factors in order to predict the likely future for these forests. We worked in the Republic of Costa Rica, a remarkably welcoming and safe place to set up the long-term research required to study the growth and survival of the hundreds of tree species that makes up a tropical rain forest. In an undisturbed lowland rain forest, we set up a network of 18 study plots strategically sited across a large natural landscape. Every year from 1997-2019 we intensively measured many key aspects of the forest’s carbon use and carbon storage. We discovered that the TRF we studied is tightly linked to current weather conditions. Read more.
Research Experience for Undergraduate Students Summer Program in Costa Rica
The Organization for Tropical Studies hosts a summer research experience for undergraduate students from underrepresented minorities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program at the National Science Foundation funds this program, where each year 30 students gain hands-on experience developing their own research. Furthermore, the program is designed to increase the appreciation of students own and that of other cultural backgrounds, improve student scientific literacy, to develop research skills, and to develop the motivation to expand their professional network while promoting the self-confidence to continue along a STEM career trajectory. Read more.
Graduate Program 2019
We are pleased to share our key upcoming graduate courses
Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach  
(8 credits Universidad de Costa Rica)
Course duration: 6 weeks | 8 June – 19 July 2019

Students focus on the formulation of research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, and oral and written presentations along side top researchers. All the skills will be strengthened through research practice in tropical coastal forest, lowland wet forest, tropical dry forest.

Application Deadline:  enrollment on rolling basis.

Tropical Ecology and Conservation (Offered in Spanish) 2020:
Course duration: six weeks | January 8th – February 20th 2020

This Spanish language course provides rigorous training in research methods in tropical ecology, and includes a field unit on conservation biology in the tropics. It is primarily intended to serve Latin American graduate students regardless of institutional affiliation, although Spanish-speaking graduate students may apply regardless of nationality. Partial fellowships may be available.
Application Deadline: June 15, 2019.
For more information on our Graduate Programs, please visit our website.
Undergraduate Program 2019
We are pleased to share our key upcoming undergraduate courses
Tropical Biology (Summer – Costa Rica)
Summer 2019

The summer course in tropical biology is fast-paced and will engage you in some of the most critical issues facing tropical biodiversity and ecosystems today. During the four-weeks of the course, you will study in OTS’ three field stations in Costa Rica, giving you access to highly threatened tropical dry forests, lowland wet forest, and primary and secondary premontane wet forest.

Application Deadline: enrollment on rolling basis.

Global Health Issues (Summer – South Africa)
Summer 2019

This program will allow you to explore a range of health issues and medical practices in South Africa through an interdisciplinary lens. An integrated learning model which incorporates both classroom and field instruction will help you understand the fundamental principle of health as a human rights issue. You will conduct collaborative research projects and participate in a three-night homestay in a village in the remote HaMakuya area of Limpopo Province.

Deadline Passed - Please contact Brooks Bonner if interested.

Fall Semester 2019

Spend the majority of the semester in Kruger National Park, one of the largest conservation areas in Africa and the oldest national park in South Africa. Students are mentored by local and international academics, conservation managers, and other practitioners in ecology and conservation. By designing research projects with their professors, students will contribute meaningful scientific data to issues faced by managers in South African National Parks.

Application Deadline:  Extended to May 1, 2019
For more information on our Undergraduate Programs, please visit our website.
Faculty Led Academic Groups
OTS´ academic logistics staff has assisted hundreds of faculty members throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Costa Rica to 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 | info@tropicalstudies.org | www.tropicalstudies.org