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Ometepe Biological Field Station
Field Research and Education in Primate Behavior and Ecology
(Established 1997)
Educational Program
Web Site:

Phone: 1-305-666-9932   Fax: 1-305-666-2681   E-Mail:
San Ramon, Ometepe Island NICARAGUA
Institution: Ometepe Biological Field Station
Affiliations: Maderas Rainforest Conservancy

Mission: The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy operates the Ometepe Biological Field Station which offers an array of classes in primatology and ecology. These include: Primate Communication and basic and advanced classes in Primate Behavior and Ecology. Professors come from various Universities in the United States and Europe. PRIMATE BEHAVIOR AND ECOLOGY Ometepe Biological Field Station, Nicaragua Summer session #1 May 25 to June 19, #2 June 22 to July 17, and #3 July 20 to Aug 14 and winter Dec 27, to Jan 18 (classes offered every year) Course description This course covers a range of topics in primate behavior and ecology. Lectures discuss subjects including primate locomotion, life history, social organization, and feeding ecology. Small group training sessions in the forest teach field methods used in primatology, including habitat analysis, primate observations, and research design. These areas of knowledge are brought together in the independent research projects. Under faculty guidance, students design, conduct, analyze and present their own independent research on the flora and fauna of Ometepe. An introductory course in physical anthropology or biology is helpful but not required. Lectures Daily lectures cover a variety of subjects in primate behavior and ecology. Students are required to attend all lectures; there will be an exam on lecture material. The topics to be covered include those listed below. Introduction to the Primates Primate Phylogeny, Evolution, and Distribution Primate Anatomy and Morphology Locomotion and Positional Behavior Adaptation and Function Natural, Sexual, and Kin Selection Primate Life History Primate Social Organization Dominance, Aggression, and Competition Feeding Ecology and Foraging Strategies Monkeys as Members of a Community Primate and Rainforest Conservation Field Methods Students are divided into small groups to learn skills important to primate field research. Using the forests of Ometepe as classrooms, students will learn how to map a trail system; how to conduct vegetation sampling and analysis; methods of assessing food availability; and observation techniques to study the social, feeding, and ranging behavior of primates. Independent Research Projects After completing the field methods section of the class, students begin work on their own projects. Faculty members work closely with students as they undertake this portion of the course. First, each student develops a research proposal detailing the subject to be investigated and the methods to be used. Each student presents his or her proposal to the class. Next, each student must collect data for his or her project; data analysis follows. Finally, students write a final paper on their project and make an oral presentation to the class. Textbook There is one required textbook for this course. Strier, Karen B. 2000. Primate Behavioral Ecology. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. You can order the book at your local college bookstore or try the Allyn & Bacon website at Please allow enough time (up to 4 weeks) to receive the bookÃâ don't wait til the last minute! If you like to read more about primates, another good book is Alison RichardÃâs Primates in Nature (1985; W.H.Freeman and Co.). You can also check out the library at your school to see if it has other books about primates as well as searching databases for research articles. The library at Ometepe has a number of textbooks, field guides, and research papers. Each student is required to bring one original scientific research article to donate to the field library. This article should be on some topic in primate behavior, ecology, or conservation. If you know what topic you want to research, you can do some research at your home institution and bring additional articles with you to Nicaragua to help writing your proposal and final paper. Course Schedule Day 1 Meet in Managua at the Las Mercedes Best Western Hotel in the morning and travel together to Omtepe Biological Field Station. Get settled at the station and have an orientation to rules and regulations. *ARRIVE IN NICARAGUA THE DAY BEFORE THE CLASS STARTS. Everyone will be staying at the Las Mercedes Best Western by the airport, and that is where we will meet the morning of the first day of class. Your hotel cost is NOT included in the course fee. Day 2 Tour facilities and start learning the trail system. Daily lectures begin. Days 3 -10 Learn field methods. Faculty will divide students into small groups. Each group will rotate through a 2 day session of each topic Ãâ food availability; mapping; observations; vegetation sampling and analysis. Student presentations of research articles at night. Day 11-12 Complete and present research proposal. Days 13-22 Collect and analyze data for projects. Exam during this time Days 23-24 Write-up projects and make oral presentations. Day 25 Leave Ometepe and spend the night at Las Mercedes Best Western, Managua. Stop at Volcan Masaya and a market to buy souvenirs on the way to the hotel, conditions permitting. *The hotel cost for this night is NOT included in the course fee. Day 26 Fly home (or wherever you are headed)! Hasta luego! This schedule is subject to change.

Principal Research Programs: Program web link:
Course packet (with application) link:
Class web link:
Staff links
General link:
Contact us with questions!

Training Opportunities: Advanced and intermediate educational programs open for students, non-students, and continuing education.

Number of Staff: 15-20

Associated Field Sites: La Suerte Biological Field Station, Cariari Costa Rica

Supported Species: Alouatta palliata (mantled howler), Cebus capucinus (white-faced capuchin)

Comments: The Ometepe Biological Field Station is operated by the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Last Updated: 2009-09-02

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