Students and instructors meet throughout the fall term, and go on a two-week field study to Costa Rica during the winter term. In the field, the main focus of the research projects are terrestrial vertebrates and arthropods. Students design and conduct their own field project and help each other with data collection.


AUBIO 253 (Ecological interactions) and consent of the instructors based on successful completion of selection process.

The Courses

AUBIO/ENV 350 - (Fall, 4 hrs per week) includes readings, seminars and workshops related to the natural history of the tropics, conservation biology and biodiversity methodology. The major project for this course is the preparation of research proposals. In addition, travel preparation is initiated in this course, including logistics, safety and health considerations.

AUBIO/ENV 459 - (Winter, January 3-week block) includes the 16-day field trip itself and the follow up work leading to the preparation of a scientific poster. Posters are presented at the winter Student Academic Conference.

Field activities

Most field activities take place during a 12-day stay at a field station in a tropical forest on the Osa Peninsula. The trip from San Jose to/from the station will be through a number of different Costa Rican ecosystems. 

At the field site the daily pattern will include: going into the field any time from prior to sunrise to well after sunset in order to collect data for the various field studies; carrying out lab work, data organization and analysis associated with those studies; maintaining personal and group journal entries on a daily basis; consulting regularly with an instructor about field study progress; participating in a daily group meeting.

While each project will be the responsibility of a team, all students will contribute to daily data collection for all projects on a rotating basis.