A little over 3 weeks from now, the OTS graduate course in tropical ecology will embark on our tropical research adventure. We start our journey in San Jose, hopping on a bus and heading to Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve, a coastal seasonal forest ecosystem where I first fell in love with tropical biology. This reserve is located at the southern-most tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and was Costa Rica’s first established protected area in 1963. At the time of establishment, Cabo Blanco was mostly cleared agricultural land and abandoned pastures, but over the last 60 years, a rich and complex secondary forest has returned, home to howler monkeys, white faced capuchins, giant iguanas, red land crabs, giant Pseudobombax and Pochote trees, and monkey’s ladder lianas swinging across canopies. Its a magical and unforgettable place.
We will spend a week in Cabo Blanco, learning basic statistics, programming in R, and doing research projects with invited research faculty: Nathan Sanders (community ecology), Rachel Gallery (microbial ecology), and Gloriana Chaverri (bat ecology). Cabo Blanco promises to be a magical start to our 2 month adventure and students will post updates and share their experiences along the way. Stay tuned!