DANTA Tropical Biology Field Courses 2015

[[NOTE: These are non-IU overseas study experiences.  If you sign up for the program, please contact the IU Overseas Study Office to let them know that you plan to attend.]


Do you have an interest in primates, tropical ecology and/or conservation?


Are you looking to gain valuable field experience?


Would you like to learn about other cultures?


Would you like to learn more about yourself?


Danta is pleased to announce our 2015 field courses in tropical biology. Our course are intended for undergraduates or early graduate level students who have a keen interest in tropical ecosystems and conservation, but have little or no experience of working in a tropical environment. Participants may enroll on either a credit or non-credit basis.


DANTA operates on a cooperative and collaborative teaching model with multiple international instructors on each course. Co-instruction allows for more individualized instruction, and the sharing and appreciation of different ideas. Visiting scholars are often incorporated into the curriculum to broaden student experience.



Course dates: June 15 – July 10, 2015

Location: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Registration deadline: May 15, 2015

Fees: $3000 excluding international airfare.


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 this course fall in 5 main categories: field exercises, seminars, lectures, independent research and service learning. The first half the course is devoted to learning field techniques, while the second half focuses on designing and carrying out independent research on any aspect of primate behavior, ecology or conservation. Lecture topics will cover the behavior and ecology of primates from an evolutionary perspective. Select topics include primate social/mating systems, feeding ecology, conservation, climate change and sustainability. All students participating in our programs will have opportunity to be involved in applied conservation (i.e., sea turtle monitoring and reforestation) and community service. The course includes a 2 night homestay. During the homestay, students will be involved in the daily activities of the host family with the purpose being to gain a greater understanding of Costa Rican culture. The homestays additionally provide support for the local communities and lead to greater community inclusion in our conservation efforts.

During the course participants will 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; learn about marine ecosystems and dolphin behavior during a boat tour of the Golfo Dulce, and overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about their community and fair trade practices. 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.