Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ashland Biology in Costa Rica

Boat trip for snorkeling on the Pacific coast
Ashland University has hosted a foreign languages summer program in Costa Rica for many years.  But this summer was the first time that we have offered a natural science course as part of the AU in Costa Rica program.

Students in Biology Professor Merrill Tawse's BIO 202: Organisms, Adaptation, and Diversity course spent this summer at the biologically rich campus setting of Conversa Language Center, a Spanish language school situated in a lush mountain setting overlooking the Santa Ana Valley.  Students did weekend field work in the tropical cloud forest of Monteverde and the marine park in Manuel Antonio while learning Spanish.  For additional cultural experiences, students live with families and participate in excursions.

Professor Tawse reports that
This is the first time that the Ashland University Biology/Toxicology Department has led
Hiking in the rain forest with Professor Tawse
students into this part of the world where they were surrounded by some of Earth's most biologically diverse ecosystems. Students were in awe as they observed first-hand the richness of plant and animal species surrounding them as they were snorkeling in coral reefs, hiking through mountain cloud forests, and when comparing upland and lowland tropical forests of Costa Rica. Student lab experiences included measuring and comparing the biological diversity in select habitats, night hikes, mist netting of birds and bats, encountering lizards and snakes along the park and preserve trails and visiting a local animal refuge center. For many, being able to watch a sea turtle foraging in a coastal reef, discovering Howler and White-faced Monkeys moving through the canopy above them, and observing sloths sleeping in the trees will become some of the lifetime memories of their Ashland University experience.
Here are some more pictures from this summer's trip:

Snorkeling with sea turtles
Setting up a mist net to collect birds
A rufous capped warbler

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