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DANTA Methods in Primate Behavior and Conservation Field Course, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Educational Organization:
DANTA: Association for Conservation of the Tropics

Date Posted:

Program 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). Your participation in our programs help preserve this Central American jewel.

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, sustainability 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 and sustainable agriculture project.

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 and overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about their community and traditional lifeways. 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.

As much of our advertising is done by word-of-mouth, we encourage you to spread the word by forwarding this information to students or friends who may be interested in our programs.

For more information, please visit our website at or email You can find us on Facebook and Twitter. For an alumni perspective on our programs, please see our new blog DANTAisms

Thank you and hope to see you in Costa Rica!

Entrance Qualifications:
Our 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.

Tuition / Fees:
$2600 excluding international travel

Support (scholarships, travel):

Start + End Dates:
Winter Session: January 1 - 16, 2017; Summer Session: July 15 - 30, 2017

Application Deadline:
Winter Session: December 1, 2016; Summer Session: June 1, 2017

Contact Information:
Kimberly Dingess
304 12th Avenue W
Huntington, WV 25701

Telephone Number:


E-Mail Address:

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