Overview Description Requirements Outline Itinerary Cost Application Instructor Rainforest And Reef Penn State Lehigh Valley

Red Backed Spider Monkey

The course is divided into three sessions:

Owl Butterfly




PRE-TRIP: Background Knowledge

TRIP: Conceptualizing Knowledge

POST-TRIP: Integration and Application of Concepts

Buttress Roots


Background Knowledge

The pre-trip session will consist of assignments using the course web site (see “Outline” link). These assignments will focus on background information on Costa Rica, its ecosystems, its history, culture, government, and the human impacts on biodiversity.


onceptualizing Knowledge

The trip session will consist of a two week expedition through selected Costa Rican habitats. Daily programs, field-based research activities, round-table discussion sessions, and participant presentations will occur throughout the trip. Maintenance of a journal and research of a selected species or the completion an independent research project in and out of the field is also required (see “Requirements” link).


The following topics,and many others related to specific environmental issues, will be covered:

  • Biogeography of Costa Rica
  • Biodiversity and speciation
  • Species richness and abundance
  • Rainforest structure and stability
  • Identifying the variety of life (flora and fauna) that exists in the varied rainforests of Costa Rica
  • Species interactions
  • Evolutionary adaptations and niche selection of rainforest organisms
  • Importance of biodiversity and threats (required reading, The Future of Life, E.O. Wilson)
  • Costa Rica’s conservation efforts
  • Threatened, endangered and extinct species in Costa Rica and throughout the world
  • The plight of the Chelonia mydas (Atlantic Green) and the Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback) sea turtles (required reading, The Windward Road, Archie Carr)
  • HIPPO (Habitat distruction, Invasive Species, Population explosion, Pollution, Overharvesting)
  • Global Warming (required reading, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore)
  • Ecological and economic challenges of the 21st century
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Global water supply
  • NGO's and their work in conservation
  • Biodiversity of the world biomes
  • Conservation and hands-on research efforts of the Carribean Conservation Corporation (CCC), the Asociacion ANAI, and La Selva Biological Station (Organization of Tropical Studies)





Integration & Application of Concepts

Submission of reports, journal entries, species assignments, and answers to questions that summarize the objectives of the course will occur during the post trip session (see “Outline” link for more information).

Bubble Flower

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

2006 Photo Album ~ 2005 Photo Album

©2006 Penn State Lehigh Valley

This site was last updated on October 10, 2006.
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