In February 2011, Drs. Daniel Mennill and Stephanie Doucet and fourteen students explored the tropical forests of Costa Rica during a two-week field course offered through the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology. Based in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, the course focused on studying the ecology of the neotropical dry forest, and included exploration of the neotropical dry forest, neotropical rain forest, and mangrove forest. This page is a photo album showing the hands-on learning that took place during the course, through the lenses of the cameras of Dan, Stephanie, and the students on the course.

The participants of the 2011 field course on the steps of the Casona at Santa Rosa National Park.

The monument to the heroes at Santa Rosa.

Watching wildlife in the dry Cuajiniquil riverbed.

Emily climbs a vine.

A spider monkey climbs a vine.

Jae climbs a vine.

A pazel of pizotes crosses the road.

Two coatis stare at us from the trees.

Studying wildlife at a dry season watering hole.

A hike in the humid forest.

Fran: Our resident seed taster.

Watching a troupe of howler monkeys near Playa Naranjo.

Watching a troupie of howler monkeys near Playa Naranjo.

Roca Bruja.

A fiddler crab.

Exploring the mangroves.

The participants in the 2011 Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica field course.  Front row (left to right): Fran Ruddick, Elizabeth Beharriell, Ashley Percy, Jizel Miles, Maggie Stoeva, Erica Gagnon, Courtney Runnings. Back row: Stephanie Doucet, Sarah Guindre-Parker, Michelle DePass, Jae Perez, Andrei Cerghet, Nagham El-Houssein, Nisreen Al-Farra, Emily Upham-Mills, and Dan Mennill..

A ctenosaur.

Mangrove roots at our feet.

A view of Cacao volcano.

At Maritza Biological Station.

Yellow Cortez trees in flower.

Our fearless driver, Eladio Castro Mora.

The road to Maritza.

Wildlife watching en route to Maritza.

The red dirt road to Maritza.

A hike to see the mysterious petroglyphs near Maritza Biological Station.

A petroglyph of a snake.

A snake.

Hiking from Maritza to Cacao.

One of many stream crossings.

Our dining quarters at Maritza.

Outstanding Tico food.

Watching a colony of Montezuma's Oropendolas en route to Ecolodge Las Bromelias.

Watching the oropendolas.

An active nesting colony of oropendolas.

Wildlife watching near Ecolodge Las Bromelias.

Wildlife watching near Ecolodge Las Bromelias.

A hike in the rainforest...

in the rain...

...leads to a soaking wet crew.

A drenched group of field biologists pose for a photo halfway up Rincon de la Vieja volcano.

Emily uses a Cecropia leaf for an umbrella.

Hiking in the rainforest.

A tarantula.

A camouflaged sphynx moth.

A mantis.

Emily and an epiphyte.

Nisreen and a Rufous-and-white Wren.

Sarah and a Banded Wren.

Fran and a Barred Woodcreeper.

Michelle measures a feather.

Jizel holds a Barred Woodcreeper studied as part of her independent field project.

Ashley watches an acacia tree.

Elizabeth measures a sapling.

Maggie studies leaf herbivory.

Nagham smells a fragrant Palanco flower.

Erica and a cecropia sapling.

Courtney assesses plant biodiversity.

Andrei at Boulder Valley.

Jae with an Ovenbird.


Dan Mennill, Stéphanie Doucet, and the students of the 2011 Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica thank the staff of the Guanacaste Conservation Area, especially Roger and Maria Luisa, as well as all of our cooks, especially Sadie our cook at Maritza Biological Station. We would like to thank Oscar, Johnny, and everyone at Las Bromelias Ecolodge, an outstanding place for viewing wildlife on Rincon de la Vieja volcano. To visit Las Bromelias Ecolodge, phone Oscar at 506-2200-0822 or 506-8389-2208; he offers outstanding tours and accommodation on Rincon de la Vieja volcano. Our driver, Eladio, provided excellent transportation around Guanacaste; he can be found through information on this website and he provides excellent guided tours, transportation around the Guanacaste area for wildlife watching or surfing, and even accommodation near Liberia. 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 Stéphanie will take place in Costa Rica in February/March of 2012.

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