University of Windsor
Tropical Ecology Field Course 2008

In February 2008, fourteen students explored the biodiversity of northwestern Costa Rica through an Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB) course offered through the University of Windsor. The course, lead by University of Windsor biology professors Daniel Mennill and Stephanie Doucet involved hands-on learning about the flora and fauna of neotropical dry forests and rainforests at three different research stations in Guanacaste province, Costa Rica. Below you can see some of the highlights of our trip through the photos taken by the students and professors of this Tropical Ecology field course.

A spiny-tailed iguana.

A blue morpho butterfly.

A Central American agouti.

Participants in the 2008 Tropical Ecology field course. Back row (from left to right): Dr. Stephanie Doucet, John Raisch-Berkoff, Michelle Launder, Kylie Laroche, Julie Koloff, Robyn Thiessen-Bock, Anneka Osmun. Middle three: Emily Jackson, Lex Hand, Ryan Knox. Front row: Diana Lee, Cristina Cassone, Elyse Schafranek, Britney Falica, Veronica Bigelow, Dr. Dan Mennill.

Hiking at Basilisk Cliff

Lex filming a manakin.

Getting ready for field work.

Hiking to Playa Naranjo.

Hiking at Finca Centeno.

Witch's Rock (Pena Bruja) at Playa Naranjo.

White-faced capuchin monkey.

White-nosed coati.

Howler monkeys.

Heading out into the field.

Stephanie points out the three volcanos of northern Costa Rica.

Hiking along a dry riverbed to the edge of Basilisk Cliff.

Volcano Cacao shrouded in clouds.

Dee, John, and Ryan up close with an Olivaceus Woodcreeper.

A white-faced capuchin takes a break.

Ryan and a woodcreeper.

Britney shows off her snake gaters.

Hiking to Playa Naranjo.

The north face of Volcano Cacao.

A leaf-cutter ant.

The professors take a break.

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan.

Lex, Julie, Anneka, and Britney watch the sun set.

Lex and a Red-capped Manakin at Pitilla Biology Station.

Pitilla Biology Station Day 1: Fer-de-lance #1.

Pitilla Biology Station Day 1: Fer-de-lance #2.
The field course hikes through the tropical rainforest up Volcano Orosolito.

Sunset at Pitilla Biology Station.

Veronica and Ryan admire a Red-capped Manakin.

Hiking down from Volcano Orosolito.

Orosolito summit.

Julie, Stephanie, and Veronica pause to catch their breath.

Who's moonwalking now?

The group poses at sunset near Pitilla Biological Station.

Cristina releases a White-ruffed Manakin.

Ecolodge Las Bromelias (Oscar's Place).

Mist-netting team processes a bird.

Veronica measures leaf-cutter ant navigation for her independent study.

Michelle tests ant speed versus ambient temperature for her independent project.

A relaxing dip in the volcano-heated hot springs.

Elyse simulates an ant predator.

John hikes through the tropical forest.

Julie measures tail feathers.

A pair of Keel-billed Motmots nesting at Las Bromelias.

Britney, Cristina, Dee, and Stephanie measuring manakins.
Dan Mennill, Stephanie Doucet, and the students of the 2008 Tropical Ecology class wish to express their sincere thanks to the staff of the Guanacaste Conservation Area, especially Roger, Maria Marta, Maria Luisa, and Maria our cook, as well as Oscar and the staff of Las Bromelias Ecolodge. Our driver, Eladio, provided excellent transportation around Guanacaste (he can be reached at 506-691-0097 for tours and transportation in the Guanacaste area). Ontario students interested in field biology courses should visit the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology webpage ( and University of Windsor students should visit the bulletin board on the first floor of the Biology Building. The next Tropical Ecology field course to be run by Dan and Stephanie will take place in Costa Rica in February/March of 2009.

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