Education Generating Science Education Generating Science

Programs Offered


Nothing can replace the hands-on experience of a field-based course in the tropics!

“Generation of science” is the product of our graduate field courses, where doing research in premier biological stations in the tropics provides students with the perfect scenario to test their theoretical knowledge. New species, new methods, new processes and more data, results in scientific articles that promote biodiversity conservation as well as the future of your career.

Our graduate field program consists of two kinds of courses:

Graduate Field Courses concentrate on the use of a “field problems” approach focusing on the formulation of research questions, experimental design, sampling, and data analysis in an intense fieldwork experience which is paramount in any biologist´s career.

Specialty Field Courses offer advanced graduate students and early career professionals the opportunity to delve deeper into a specific topic of interest. Specialty course topics vary each year. The topics range from ecology such as microbial ecology of amphibian decline, conservation genetics; taxonomy such as tropical ferns and lycophytes, ecology and evolution of arachnids, to social impact topics such as payment of ecosystem services.

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Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond

Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond is an intensive, four-week course in tropical ecology that will challenge you in every way. At its heart lie the highly regarded OTS “field problems”, which engage students in the fast-paced formulation of research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, oral presentations, and written papers. Students will take away advanced skills in research design, data analysis, writing, science communication, modeling, and collaborative research.

Where: OTS Stations in Costa Rica (La Selva, Las Cruces, & Palo Verde) and Cuerici

When:Dec 28, 2015 – Jan 23, 2016

Duration: 4 weeks

Accreditation: 4 credits

Deadline: Oct 10, 2015

Language: English

Ecología Tropical y Conservación

Este curso, dictado en español, ofrece un riguroso entrenamiento en métodos de investigación de la ecología tropical e incluye una unidad de campo en biología de la conservación. Está dirigido principalmente a estudiantes y profesionales latinoamericanos, independientemente de su afiliación institucional; también se aceptan solicitudes de estudiantes con dominio del español de cualquier nacionalidad e institución. Becas parciales disponibles.

Dónde: Estaciones OET (La Selva, Las Cruces, Las Alturas, Palo Verde) y Monteverde

Cuándo: Ene 8 – Feb 19, 2016

Duración: 6 semanas

Acreditación: 7 créditos

Idioma: Español

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Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach

Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach

Tropical Biology: and Ecological Approach is an intensive, field-based experience in tropical biology for graduate students. Since the 1960s, this classic OTS course has trained ecologists and evolutionary biologists using an active learning approach, which engages students in a fun and fast-paced research environment. With guidance from expert scientists, students will gain experience in critical thinking, research design, data analysis, science communication, ecological modeling, and collaborative research. We guarantee you will come away from the course with new skills and ideas to carry into your future research

Where: OTS Stations in Costa Rica (La Selva, Las Cruces, and Palo Verde), Cuerici, Monteverde and Cabo Blanco

When: Jun 8 – Jul 19, 2016

Duration: 6 weeks

Accreditation: 6 credits

Language: English

Deadline: March 1, 2016

Tropical Plant Systematics

Offered in even–numbered years, this course emphasizes a strong conceptual foundation in phylogenetic systematics in an intensive field setting. The course travels to diverse habitats around Costa Rica, from cloud forest and paramo to tropical dry forest and Atlantic lowland rain forest.

Where: OTS Stations in Costa Rica, La Selva, Las Cruces, Palo Verde. Cuerici, San Jose Herbaria.

When: Jun 9 – Jul 21, 2016

Duration: 5 weeks

Accreditation: 6 credits

Language: English

Deadline:March 1, 2016

Sistemática de plantas tropicales

El curso hace énfasis en la sistemática filogenética conceptual en un entorno intensivo a través de trabajo en el campo. El curso viaja a diversos sitios en Costa Rica con el objetivo de visitar diferentes hábitats, del bosque nuboso, al paramo, al bosque seco estacional, hasta el bosque tropical húmedo bajo del Atlántico. El curso brinda la oportunidad a estudiantes de posgrado latinoamericanos de participar en un curso intensivo en sistemática de plantas sin importar la institución de la cual provengan. Sin embargo estudiantes estadounidenses de provenientes de institución miembro que deseen participar lo pueden hacer. Becas parciales disponibles.

Dónde: Estaciones OET La Selva en Costa Rica, Las Cruces, Palo Verde, Cuerici, Herbarios

Cuándo: Jun 30 – Ago 3, 2017

Duración: 5 semanas

Acreditación: 6 créditos

Idioma: Español

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Nov 15, 2016

Tropical Fungi and Fungi-like Organisms

Tropical Fungi and Fungi like Organisms

This intense course will focus on the ecology, diversity and basic classification of tropical macro- and micro-fungi, and fungal-like organisms, including slime molds “myxomycetes.” The course will cover fungi from high elevation to mid-elevation forested areas, while engaging participants in short field and laboratory research projects. In addition, we will discuss how fungi affect conservation, our lives and society.

Program Details

Where: OTS Stations in Costa Rica (Las Cruces) and Cuerici

When:May 21 – June 4, 2016

Duration: 2 weeks

Accreditation:2 credits

Language: English

Deadline: March 1, 2016

Foto credit: J.J. Pucci

Systematics, Ecology, Evolution and uses of palms

This course is designed to build the diverse skills needed for systematic, phylogenetic and ecological research on tropical palms. It is an intensive, 10-day introduction to the identification, classification, phylogenetics, ecology, reproductive biology, management, and conservation of tropical palms, using the living collections in the Wilson Botanical Garden at Las Cruces Biological Station and palms in nearby forests.

Where: OTS Las Cruces Research Station

When: May 26 - Jun 6, 2016

Duration: 2 weeks

Accreditation: 2 credits (University of Costa Rica)

Language: English

Deadlines: Mar 1, 2016

Tropical Conservation & Sustainable Development: Law, Policy & Professional Practice

This 4 week course is oriented towards law and graduate students with an interest tropical conservation and sustainable development. The course will visit OTS Research Stations and other field sites in Costa Rica. The course will focus on integrating law, development and conservation science, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary communication, and practitioner training.

Where: OTS Stations (La Selva, Las Alturas, Las Cruces), and other sites

When: May 29 - Jun 30, 2016

Duration: 4 weeks

Accreditation:5 credits (University of Florida)

Language: English

Deadline: March 1, 2016

Animals, People and Nature

Animals, People and Nature introduces students to a wide spectrum of wild animal issues through an interactive and interdisciplinary social science lens. The course provides an academic experience that is engaging, interdisciplinary, applied, personal, and inclusive, not just in terms of its accessibility and variety, but in terms of the multi-species perspectives it promotes.

Where: OTS Las Cruces Research Station and a wildlife rescue center

When: August 4 - 20, 2016

Duration: 2 weeks

Accreditation:2 credits (University of Costa Rica)

Language: English

Deadlines:May 1, 2016

Inquiry in Rainforests: an in-service program for teachers

Inquiry in Rainforests: an in-service program for teachers

Inquiry in Rainforests is an in-service program for teachers that aims to improve K-12 science teaching by helping teachers DO science – by conducting open-ended, inquiry-based research. Inquiry in Rainforest focuses on discussions of tropical ecosystems and conservation, research focused on organisms and ecological concepts, and development of teaching and assessment plans for use in home institutions. Teachers also receive training in filming and producing videos for use in teaching

Where: OTS Station La Selva, and Soltis Center (University of Georgia Station)

When: Jul 8 - 21, 2016

Duration: 2 weeks

Accreditation: 2 credits or 96 contact hours PD/CE credit

Language: English

Deadline: April 1, 2016