Field Ecology & Evolution 2019-20

Format of the course sequence

  • Fall 2019: lecture course (2 credits) focused on preparation for field trip
  • 29 Dec 2019 – 12 Jan 2020: 2-week field trip to Costa Rica
  • Spring 2020: laboratory course (2 credits) focused on post-trip discussions, write-up of field observations, analysis of field project data from the trip, presentation of project results (oral & written reports)


  • The lecture, field trip, and laboratory components are all required
    • We expect students who sign up for the Fall lecture course to commit for enrollment in the Spring laboratory course and the Dec-Jan field trip
  • Prerequisite for the course sequence
    • One or more courses in ecology, behavior, evolution, environmental science, or relevant organismal biology (e.g., entomology)
    • AND permission of the instructor


Students will be responsible for extra costs of the embedded travel portion. We are pretty sure that the total cost of the field trip will be $2400 (including all airfare, accommodations, food, etc.). This is a fairly standard cost at many universities for a 2-week tropical ecology course like this; if anything, it’s on the low end. The only items not included in this cost are tips for the guide and driver assigned to use (for the whole trip) by the local ecotourism company handling our bookings, and any alcoholic beverages or souvenirs (coffee!) you may choose to buy.

We are trying to make arrangements for ~ half of the trip cost to be billed with your F19 tuition. The second half will be associated with your registration for S20 classes in the fall.

Logistics & Itinerary

We will plan to book group tickets leaving from PHL or BWI (we won’t know airfare options for a while) on 29 Dec and returning there on 12 Jan.

Plans for the field trip component, Dec 2019 – Jan 2020

29 DecFlight to Costa Rica (departing from PHL or BWI); Cerro Lodge, Puntarenas Prov.; Pacific lowland transitional forest
30 – 31 DecRio de Sueños (town of Coronado, Puntarenas Prov.; Pacific lowland moist forest)
1-2 JanPunta Marenco and Corcovado National Park; Pacific lowland rain forest)
3-4 JanParaiso Quetzal Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota (mountain forests)
5 – 9 JanBus from Pariso Quetzal to El Zota by way of Braulio Carillo National Park (cloud forest);  El Zota Biological Field Station (Caribbean lowland rain forest; student projects)
10-11 JanSanta Rosa National Park (Guanacaste region; Pacific dry rain forest)
12 Jantransfer from Santa Rosa N.P.; flight from Liberia (probably) to USA (PHL or BWI)

Map of Costa Rica showing localities we will visit