"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 (whose topics may not be listed), Dr. McLaughlin, Dr. Fadigan, and all 497 students and in-service teachers selected to participate in this program.*
Possible presentation topics are listed below. You may choose any of these, or select a topic of your own (the latter must be approved by Drs. McLaughlin and Fadigan). The key here is that you stay within the realms of the fields of ecology, environmental science, and/or conservation biology.
Students in Biology 497 and CHANCE high school in-service teachers must select a topic and lead a 30-45 minute presentation followed by a 15 minute group discussion (order may vary).
- Biodiversity of our Earth's Ecosystems: Homage to Water (Dr. McLaughlin)
- Medicinal Value of Rainforest Plants (Dr. Fadigan)
- Contribution of Inbreeding to the Extinction Risk in Top Predators
- Ecological Wreckage: A World Without Predators
- Over Harvesting: In Costa Rica and Our Own Backyard
- Biological Hotspots: In Costa Rica and Around the World
- The Story Behind the Banana: Pesticides
- Soil as an Endangered Ecosystem
- Sustainable Agriculture through Soil Conservation
- Global Amphibian Decline
- Integrated Pest Management
- Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources
- Will Hydrogen End Our Fossil Fuel Addiction?
- Global Oil Production: What Happens When We Run Out?
- BioFuel: Pros and Cons
- Global Fisheries and Costa Rica's Role
- The Costa Rican Shark Industry
- Tropical Rainforest Productivity and Deforestation
- Raptor Ecology and Migration
- Bats as Keystone Species
- Leatherback Turtle: Biology, Life Cycle, Threats, and Conservation Efforts
- Atlantic Green Sea Turtle: Biology, Life Cycle, Threats, and Conservation Efforts
- Global Warming: Ecosystem Instability and Shift
- Biodiversity above and below the Surface of Soils
- Invasive Plants and/or Fungi
- The Importance of Lichens and Ecological Indicators
- Climate Change and Forest Disturbances
- Evolutionary Adaptations in the Rainforest
- Non-governmental Organizations and their Work to Save Sea Turtles
- Costa Rica's Tropical Dry Forest and its Sustainability
- Coral Reef Ecosystem Dynamics and the Cost of Bleaching
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Global Warming and Carbon Fluxes
- Costa Rica's Ecological Challenges of the 21st Century (HIPPO)
- Plastic: An Environmental Nightmare
- China and the USA: Impacts and Regulations of Carbon Emissions
- The State of Pennsylvania's Northeastern Deciduous Forest
- The World's Most Environmentally Damaging Industries: Petrochemical Plants, Semi-conductor factories, and Strip Mining
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 to write some of your answers throughout your travels in your journal.
- In general,
what impressed you the most about Costa Rica’s biodiversity?
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 about biodiversity throughout
your adventures in Costa Rica or in Panama?
- 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) the affects of abiotic factors on Leatherback hatchling success
in Gandoca (you may want to carry out the CHANCE “Plight of the
Leatherback” module for guidance here;
(b) 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)
a summation of a field presentation by any fellow CHANCE participant;
(d) a summary of your field work at La Selva Biological Field Station
- You have
acquired a substantial amount of knowledge and you have been exposed
to a variety of points of view. How has this changed your opinion of
conservation efforts, especially those linked to NGO’s (re-read
Wilson’s last chapter entitled, The Solution, and reference).
"Trip" Species Assignments
- to be completed throughout the trip component and upon return to the
taking the course for Biology 297 credits are required
to research one selected Costa Rican native plant or animal species. Students
and all CHANCE in-service teachers taking the Biology 497
course for credits are required to research two selected Costa Rican native
plant or animal species.
During your trip you should research your selected organism(s) by asking
questions, using field guides, etc. Upon your return, you may wish to
research your organism(s) in more depth. Please answer the following questions
as thoroughly as possible using complete sentences:
- 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?
- What conservation
efforts, if any, are presently being undertaken to protect this organism's
Field-based Research for Biology 497 Students and CHANCE High School Teachers
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
Additional Information for In-Service and Pre-Service Teachers:
CHANCE has filled a void in the standards-driven environment of public
science education, by offering authentic research embedded into multimedia
learning materials that students and teachers can use easily and efficiently.
Indeed, CHANCE has grown to impact hundreds of teachers and thousands
of students and, by design, an exponential number of science teachers
via the Internet where these modules are readily available and continually
supplemented. After you complete the CHANCE trip component, Dr. McLaughlin will be
in touch to share information with you on how you can join her at a National
Association of Biology Teacher’s (NABT) or Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association (PSTA) professional development
workshop in the spring of 2010 for training in the use of CHANCE “research