"Trip" Presentations and Programs *
- to be attended by all participants throughout the trip component,
reading handouts will be given to you when necessary. Presentations will
be given by field researchers at conservations sites visited, Dr. McLaughlin
and her staff, Costa Rican government officials, all 497 students and
all pre-service and in-service teachers selected to participate in this
topics, and many others related to specific environmental issues will
Students in Biology 497 and CHANCE high school teachers must select
a topic of interest that pertains to a specific environmental issue
(approved by instructor) and lead a 30-45 minute discussion.
of Costa Rica
richness and abundance
structure and stability
the variety of life (flora and fauna) that exists in the varied rainforests
of Costa Rica
adaptations and niche selection of rainforest organisms
of biodiversity and threats (required reading, The Future of Life, E.O.
Rica’s conservation efforts
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)
(Habitat distruction, Invasive Species, Population explosion, Pollution,
Warming (required reading, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore)
and economic challenges of the 21st century
and their work in conservation
of the world biomes
and hands-on research efforts of the Carribean Conservation Corporation
(CCC), the Asociacion ANAI, and La Selva Biological Station (Organization
of Tropical Studies)
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
your trip you will be asked to write a short summary for each day of travel.
Your entries may also be quoted in various newspaper, magazine, and journal
publications given your permission.
trip you will be required to answer the following questions. It is suggested
that you keep them in mind and write some of your answers throughout your
- In general,
what impressed you the most about Costa Rica's biodiversity?
impressed you most about Costa Rica's environmental polices to protect
what were your best and worst experiences in Costa Rica?
was the most challenging (physical and/or emotional) experience that
you accomplished in Costa Rica?
- Any surprises
or disappointments throughout the trip?
was the most significant thing that you learned while in La Selva doing
research with a selected REU (or for Erika, while in the arboretum)?
- How have
human activities impacted the natural habitats of Costa Rica? Be specific.
are your opinions on the future of Costa Rica's biodiversity?
are your opinions on the future of biodiversity in the United States?
problems concerning conservation biology on a global scale did you uncover
during CHANCE? And are there solutions?
what you have experienced either directly or indirectly in the field,
and through your extraneous use of textbooks and other resources to
understand basic environmental science and ecology concepts, elaborate
on three of the following items being as thorough as possible:
(a) a example of a keystone specie(s) exerting strong controls on community
structure in La Selva [you have to think about this one. I will be happy
to verify your choice(s)]
(b) the affects of abiotic factors on Leatherback hatchling success
in Gandoca (you may want to carry out the "Plight of the Leatherback"
module for guidance here)
the affects of climate and local geography on the distribution of lowland
tropical, pre-montane, cloud forest, and paramo (alpine forest) in Costa
(d) what is meant by ecological succession seen in the primary rainforest
of La Selva following a natural disturbance
(e) the dynamic biological processes affecting the population of Leaf-Cutter
Ants in La Selva
(f) the species diversity (species richness and relative abundance)
of the lowland land tropical rainforest vs. the northeastern deciduous
forest (re: E. O. Wilson's Latitude Density Model).
"Trip" Species Assignments
- to be completed throughout the trip component and upon return to the
taking the Biology 297 credits are required to thoroughly
research a selected Costa Rican plant or animal species. Students taking
Biology 497 credits and CHANCE high school teachers are required to thoroughly
research two selected Costa Rican plant or animal species.
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, your professor and other biologists on the trip, using field
guide books, etc. Upon your return you may wish to research your organism(s)in
You will need to answer these questions in detail:
- What is
the scientific name of the species? Common name?
was the organism spotted (if at all; if not spotted, where could we
have seen it)?
is the range and habitat of the species?
is its evolutionary history? (origin, relatives etc.)
role does it play in its environment (niche)? Is it a keystone species?
- Any unique
- Any unique
- Any unique
interspecific interactions like competition, predation, and commensalism?
on the species food chain.
- Is it
an endemic species to Costa Rica? If not, where else is it found?
are the threats to its survival?
conservation efforts, if any, are presently being undertaken to protect
this organism's survival?
Based Research for Biology 497 Students and CHANCE Pennsylvania High School
to be completed during the trip component and upon your return to the
Based on actual field based research activities in Costa Rica, you are
required to complete two research summaries as part of your scientific
inquiry-based training in environmental science and ecology. Each summary
will document your research objectives, methods, data analysis, data itself,
data interpretation, conclusions, and summary. Each summary must be approved
and signed by the field scientist you are assigned to work with. A scientific
report will be due as part of your post-trip assignment and will include
objectives, methods, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions, and