Costa Rica Field Studies

These courses focus on studies of biodiversity and on conservation issues in the tropics. They are intended for students who want to experience field research in ecology and get a taste of tropical biodiversity.

Students and instructors will meet throughout the Fall 2024 term and go on a two-week field trip to Costa Rica in January 2025. In the field, projects will be related to the ecology and conservation of forest vegetation and invertebrates using a broad range of current techniques and tools. Students, working in groups, will design and conduct their own field project and help other groups with their data collection. While most of the time in Costa Rica is spent at the field station, the itinerary allows the group to experience the country's diverse landscapes and its culture. 

2015-16 participants

More about our field research in Costa Rica and OSA Conservation

The Augustana Field Research Program in Costa Rica was initiated in 1999 in order to carry out class-based undergraduate field research on tropical biodiversity, under the umbrella of the six-credit courses in Tropical Ecology and Conservation (AUBIO/ENV 350 and 459) or through independent studies in BIO and ENV. Several students presented their research at scientific meetings ranging from provincial to international and peer-reviewed conferences. For each trip, we have also been sharing the biodiversity information acquired during the courses with our host organizations by providing them with updated species lists and selected student papers.

Osa Conservation's Piro Biological Station is the current location of our field studies. This reserve is part of a biological corridor on the Osa Peninsula, an extension of the Corcovado National Park, which together make up one of the largest lowland Pacific tropical rainforests in existence today. The reserve covers diverse ecosystems including mangroves, restored habitats and mature forests. The biodiversity in this corridor is rich, encompassing 50% of the species found in Costa Rica and including over 300 endemic plant and invertebrate species. In spite of this diversity, much less ecological work has taken place in the Osa in comparison to other regions in Costa Rica. Osa Conservation is the largest NGO in the peninsula and emphasizes a multi-disciplinary knowledge-based approach to environmental protection which is grounded in community engagement.

Gallery of past trips

Articles/blogs from past participants

Read an article written by a Winter 2023 participant (PDF)

Read a blog article written by a Winter 2020 participant