DANTA TROPICAL BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION TRAINING COURSES SUMMER 2016

Each year DANTA offers a number of training courses in various aspects of tropical biology. Typically, the courses are one month long but shorter courses are also offered through our organization. The courses are intended for undergraduates or early graduate level students who have a keen interest in tropical biology and conservation, but have little or no experience of working in a tropical environment.

For more information, please visit our website and/or contact us at conservation@danta.info.

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Primate Behavior and Conservation

Dates: June 15-July 10, 2016

Program Fee: $3100

Guest Lecturer: Dr. Christina Campbell

Application deadline: May 15, 2016

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with field experience in primate behavior, ecology, and conservation. The course will be conducted at Osa Conservation‘s Piro Research Station in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa peninsula. As the one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon (roughly 400,000 acres in the Osa Conservation Area), it is renowned for high species diversity. It is one of only a few sites in Costa Rica that contain 4 species of primate (mantled howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkey). Four species of sea turtle also nest along its beaches. Please help us protect this unique region which is of international conservation concern.

The learning experiences for the course fall into five main categories: field exercises, independent research, discussions, lectures and applied conservation. The first half of the courses is devoted to learning ecological field techniques, while in the second half students develop, carry out and present data from their independent research projects. Many of our participants have gone on to present their work at national and regional conferences. The field exercises and seminars provide instruction and experience in:(1) methods of measuring environmental variables, including assessment of resource availability, (2) methods of collecting and analyzing the behavior of free-ranging primates, (3) assessments of biodiversity and (4) techniques for estimating population size. Lecture topics will cover the behavior and ecology of Old and New World primates from an evolutionary perspective. Selected lecture topics include primate sociality, feeding ecology, taxonomy, rain forest ecosystems, conservation, climate change and sustainability. Participants gain experience in applied conservation through participation in Osa Conservation’s reforestation,and sea turtle breeding and monitoring programs.

The course includes a field trip to an sustainable chocolate plantation,and boat tour of the Golfo Dulce for dolphin viewing and snorkeling. We overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about the community and their traditional lifeways, and help with needed projects. The field trip is in cooperation with Planet Conservation, our sustainable and socially responsible travel partner.

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. The course is open to both credit and non-credit seeking students. University credit can be arranged through your home institution.

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Human Ecology and Tropical Conservation

Dates: June 27 – July 10, 2016

Program fee: $2300

Instructor: Dr. Janette Wallis

Application Deadline: May 15, 2016

Course Description

This short course is designed to provide students with field experience in a great tropical setting, with an emphasis on current efforts to conserve tropical wildlife and their habitats. As part of this, we will focus on the role of our own species. Human activity can result in both a positive and negative influence on tropical conditions. The course will be held at Osa Conservation’s Piro Research Station in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa Peninsula. As one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon (roughly 400,000 acres in the Osa Conservation Area), it is known for its high species diversity. It is one of only a few places in Costa Rica that has jaguar, puma, sea turtles and four species of monkey (mantled howling monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin, and squirrel monkey).

The learning experiences for the course fall into five main categories: field exercises, training seminars, lectures, case study discussion, and applied conservation. The field exercises and seminars provide instruction and experience in: (1) methods of measuring environmental variables, including assessment of resource availability, (2) methods of collecting and analyzing the data on biological diversity, (3) methods of interviewing humans and assessing their histories and attitudes about wildlife, and (4) techniques for assessing population health as well as ecosystem health.

Lecture topics will cover several topics of human-wildlife interactions and we will address all aspects – negative and positive – of each. For example, selected lecture topics include: (1) human use of resources – detrimental and sustainable, (2) deforestation – the ecological consequences and the economic benefits, (3) tourism – the effects on the environment and the financial gains, and (4) hunting and fishing – the effects on wildlife population numbers and the nutritional and economic benefits to humans. We will also address the impact of climate change and global politics, when relevant.

During the course participants will also have opportunity to see an active volcano and take a short hike through montane cloud forest during our visit to Volcan Poas National Park in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. In addition, we will visit a sustainable chocolate plantation, and take a boat tour of the Golfo Dulce for dolphin viewing and snorkeling. We overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about the community and their traditional ways of interacting with their environment. All in-country travel is in cooperation with Planet Conservation, our sustainable travel partner. Every effort is made to implement eco-friendly and socially responsible practices into our day-to-day operations, field courses and overall mission.

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. The course is open to both credit and non-credit seeking students. University credit can be arranged through your home institution.

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Methods in Primate Behavior and Conservation

Dates: July 15- July 29, 2016

Program Fee: $2300

Application deadline: May 15, 2016

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with field experience in primate behavior, ecology, and conservation. This course will be held at Osa Conservation’s Piro Reseach Station in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa peninsula. As the one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon (roughly 400,000 acres in the Osa Conservation Area), it is renowned for high species diversity. It is one of only a few places in Costa Rica that has jaguar, puma, sea turtles and four species of monkey (mantled howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkey).

The learning experiences for the course fall into four main categories: field exercises, seminars, lectures, and applied conservation. The field exercises and seminars provide instruction and experience in: (1) methods of measuring environmental variables, including assessment of resource availability, (2) methods of collecting and analyzing the behavior of free-ranging primates, (3) assessments of biodiversity and (4) techniques for estimating population size. Lecture topics will cover the behavior and ecology of Old and New World primates from an evolutionary perspective. Selected lecture topics include primate sociality, feeding ecology, taxonomy, rain forest ecosystems and conservation. Service learning is a large component of all our programs. Students will gain experience in applied primate conservation and also have opportunity to participate in Osa Conservation’s sea turtle breeding and monitoring program.

During the course participants will also have opportunity to see an active volcano and hike through montane cloud forest during our visit to Volcan Poas National Park in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. In addition, we will visit a sustainable chocolate plantation,and boat tour of the Golfo Dulce for dolphin viewing and snorkeling. We overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about the community and their traditional lifeways, and help with needed projects. All within country travel is in cooperation with Planet Conservation, our sustainable travel partner. Every effort is made to implement eco-friendly and socially responsible practices into our day-to-day operations, field courses and overall mission.

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. The course is open to both credit and non-credit seeking students. University credit can be arranged through your home institution.

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Tropical Rain Forest and Wildlife Conservation

Dates: August 6-19, 2016

Program fee: $2300

Application deadline: June 1, 2016

Course Description

The proximate and ultimate causes of declines of rain forest habitats and biodiversity will be examined through a combination of direct observations in the field, lectures, and critical reviews of the literature. Topics will include the role of hunting, logging, agriculture, disease, predation, expanding human populations and their consumption of natural resources as they affect forest and biodiversity conservation.

The majority of the course will be conducted at Osa Conservation‘s Piro Research Station on Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa Peninsula. As one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon (roughly 400,000 acres in the Osa Conservation Area), it is renowned for high species diversity. It is one of only a few sites in Costa Rica that contain 4 species of primate (mantled howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin and the Central American squirrel monkey). Four species of sea turtle also nest along its beaches. Here we will spend time learning about the rain forest and the problems involved with evaluating the status of wildlife populations in the tropics. Emphasis will be on the primates, birds, and sea turtles.

In addition, problems of various land-use activities will be evaluated with side trips to an oil palm plantation, a coffee plantation, and small-scale agricultural plots. The impact of tourism on biodiversity conservation will be demonstrated with visits to local tourist lodges on the Osa Peninsula.

During the course participants will also have opportunity to see an active volcano and hike through montane cloud forest during our visit to Volcan Poas National Park in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. In addition, we will visit a sustainable chocolate plantation,and boat tour of the Golfo Dulce for dolphin viewing and snorkeling. We overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about the community and their traditional lifeways, and help with needed projects. All within country travel is in cooperation with Planet Conservation, our sustainable travel partner. Every effort is made to implement eco-friendly and socially responsible practices into our day-to-day operations, field courses and overall mission.

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. The course is open to both credit and non-credit seeking students. University credit can be arranged through your home institution.

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