Overview Description Requirements Outline Itinerary Cost Application Instructor Rainforest And Reef Penn State Lehigh Valley Biology - Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin
I. Reading and Web Assignments

II. Presentations and Programs

III. Journal Assignments

IV. Species Assignments

Savegre Hike

I. Reading and Web Assignments
- to be completed before departure, questions will be sent to you via e-mail

A.Costa Rica - General Information
CIA World Factbook
Costa Rica Bruncas
Costa Rica Handbook
Lonely Planet: Destination Costa Rica
Fodors.com Costa Rica
Central America Web Directory
(U.S.) Consular Information
Cocori: Complete Costa Rica

B.Costa Rican Culture
Costa Rica's Culture
Costa Rica Arts and Culture

C.Costa Rican National Parks
World Headquarters: Costa Rica National Parks
National Parks of Costa Rica
Costa Rica Map's Biodiversity
Costa Rica National Parks and Reserves
Costa Rica Travel and Tourism Bureau
Phillip Greenspan's Costa Rica

D.Costa Rican Flora and Fauna
Martin Kramer's Animals of Costa Rica
INBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad)
Manual de Plantes de Cosa Rica
Organization for Tropical Studies
La Suerte Biological Field Station and Ometepe Biological Field Station
Skip's Costa Rica Nature Tour

E.Biodiversity Links
Biodiversity Project: What is Biodiversity?
Conservation International: Biodiversity Basics
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Union of Concerned Scientists: Biodiversity
World Conservation Union: Biodiversity is Life!



II. *Presentations and Programs
- to be attended throughout your travels, reading handouts will be given to you when necessary

• Biogeography of Costa Rica
• Rainforest Types, Structure, and Stability
• Identifying the variety of life (flora and fauna) that exists in the various Costa Rican tropical rainforests and coral reefs
• Interspecific interactions and community structure
• Disturbance and community structure
• Species richness and abundance: biotic and abiotic factors
• Importance of biodiversity and threats (required reading, The Future of Life, E .O. Wilson)
• Costa Rican conservation efforts

* Students in Biology 497 must select a topic of interest (approved by instructor) and lead a
30-45 minute discussion.


III. Journal Assignments
- to be completed throughout your travels and upon your return to the mainland.
You will be given a trip journal
to keep notes on your trip. For
example, you should keep a daily
journal of things you did, things
you saw and things you learned.

You might also want to keep track
of the people you met and anything
else you wish to remember, such
as your first impressions, your
surprises, etc.

Sky Track

After your trip you will be asked to write a short summary for each day travel. Your submitted entries will be incorporated into student learning activities for students in Drs. Jacqueline McLaughlin's and Stam Zervano's PSU
first year seminar course entitled Biodiversity on Line. Your entries will also be quoted in various newspaper, magazine, and journal publications given your permission.

After your trip you will also be required to answer the following questions. It is suggested that you keep them in mind and write some of your answers throughout your travels.

a). In general, what impressed you the most about Costa Rica?
b). Overall, what were your best and worst experiences?
c). Any surprises or disappointments throughout the trip?
d). What did you learn about the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rainforests? Coral reefs?
e). What problems concerning biodiversity did you uncover? And are there solutions?
f). How have human activities impacted the natural habitats of Costa Rica?
g). What are your opinions on the future of Costa Rica’s biodiversity?
h). Give an example of two or three key concepts of biodiversity that you experienced firsthand in the field.

Examples: keystone species exerting strong controls on community structure, affects of abiotic factors, affects of biogeographic factors, ecological succession, and disturbance and community structure. Elaborate on how these experiences impacted your learning.

IV. Species Assignments
- to be completed throughout your travels and upon your return to the mainland

1. Students taking the Biology 297 credits are required to research one selected Costa Rican plant or animal species. Students taking Biology 497 credits are required to research two-selected Costa Rican plant or animal species (tropical rainforest or coral reef). In order to eliminate replication, you need to tell Dr. McLaughlin the species you have chosen. Please do this on the airplane to Costa Rica or sometime early on, during the trip. She will record your choices(s) and eliminate it from her list. If there is replication she will notify you so that individuals can make other choices, if need be.

During your trip you should try to find out as much as possible about your selected organism(s) by asking questions, talking with expert naturalist field guides, using field guide books, etc. Upon your return you may wish to research your organism(s) some more. You will need to answer the following questions:

1. What is the scientific name of the species? Common name?
2. Where was the organism spotted?
3. What is the range and habitat of the species?
4. What is its evolutionary history? (Origin, relatives etc.)
5. What role does it play in its environment (niche)? Is it a keystone species?
6. Any unique adaptations?
7. Elaborate on the species food chain.
8. Is it an endemic species to Costa Rica? If not, where else is it found?
9. What are the threats to its survival?


Overview | Description | Requirements | Outline | Itinerary | Cost | Application | Instructor

©2002 Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College

This site was last updated on September 9, 2002.
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