Rain Forest Study Syllabi U of Costa Rica

T. Jesse Fox tjfox at sam.neosoft.com
Tue Jan 23 17:14:15 EST 1996

University of Costa Rica

	In this post you will find a syllabus for each of the three 
environmental science 
course offered at the University of Costa Rica.  Each of these classes 
will be conducted in 
English by doctored professors through their department of 
bioenvironmental sciences.  
With special arrangements visiting professors may provide additional 
instruction when 

Please let us know how credits will transfer into your institution.

Biodiversity and Conservation
Tropical Ecology
Natural History of Costa Rica

	Spanish will be offered as well.  The University of Costa Rica 
recommends four 
hours of transfer credit for each of the four classes.  Students are 
required to participate in 
the entire program.  
	General History and Culture of Costa Rica will be included.  
However, it is not 
offered for credit.

Please advise interested students of this program.

If you have questions of a general nature or would like additional 
promotional material 
please contact...
T. Jesse Fox 
World Class Adventures 
1300 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 1750
Houston, Texas 77056
Tel (713)-961-3836
Fax (713) 921-9545
E-Mail worldc at sam.neosoft.com
Home Page http://www.neosoft.com/~worldc/learn.html

Please address you questions regarding transfer of credit information 
Dr. Manuel M. Murillo
Office of International Affairs
University of Costa Rica
San José, Costa Rica
Tel (506)-253-5323
Fax (506)-225-5822

University of Costa Rica
Bioenvironmental Tropical Rain Forest Study
(For English Speaking Students)


Biological Diversity and Conservation
Prof. Maria E. Zaldivar

Costa Rican Natural History
Prof. Jose Manuel Mora

Tropical Ecology 
Prof. Mauricio Quesada

Approved by the department of Biology at the University of Costa Rica as 
November 20, 1995


Prof. Maria E. Zaldivar


	One of the greatest wonders of our world is the diversity of life 
forms produced 
through billions of years of biological evolution.  This diversity of life 
forms can be 
appreciated at various levels of organization.  At the ecosystem level, we 
can look at the 
diversity of the biota and recognize different biomes.  Biodiversity can 
also be estimated 
in terms of species richness or species diversity.  We can also evaluate 
the degree of 
distinctness of evolutionary lineages.  At a genetic level, we can measure 
the amount of 
genetic variation within species.

	This diversity of life forms has been increasingly reduced in 
recent times.  Large 
number of species have gone prematurely extinct.  Genetic diversity of 
many species has 
been eroded.  It appears that we are now experiencing a new era of mass 
this time caused by our own species.  The earth has already experienced 
several mass 
extinctions, usually when a new life form takes over and disrupts the 
stability of natural 
ecosystems, sometimes at the expense of its own future survival.  The rate 
of growth of 
the human population and the destructive standards of consumption of 
western societies 
have resulted in a rapid decline of biodiversity.

	Conservation of biodiversity is essential for the stability of 
natural ecosystems and 
it is, therefore, essential for assuring our own species survival.   Thus, 
we need an 
immediate solution to the problem of maintaining biodiversity.  The 
epilogue of a book 
produced by the National Forum on BioDiversity states that this immediate 
seems to "depend on the collective behaviors and perceptions of people 
towards their 
habitat (...)  controlled rational exploitation may be the answer if the 
surviving humans 
have the foresight and sensitivity to carry it out."

	The object of this course is to introduce the student to the study 
of biodiversity, 
describing and measuring biodiversity at various levels.  Also, we want to 
students about the major threats to biodiversity and document their 
impact.  Finally, we 
will introduce basic concepts of conservation biology and discuss 
strategies for 
biodiversity conservation.


What is biological diversity?						
Week  1
Species diversity

Genetic diversity							
Week  2

Ecosystem diversity							
Week  3
How is biodiversity distributed?

Loss of biological diversity						
Week  4

Conservation biology							
Week  5
Minimum viable populations  
Vulnerability to extinction

Environmental factors:  Habitat destruction and			Week  6
 fragmentation.  Catastrophes.  Over-exploitation,
 disease, exotic species introduction

The problems of small populations.  Genetic and			Week  7
demographic factors

Conservation at the population level.  Population			
Week  8
vulnerability analysis

Protected areas:  design and management				Week  9

Ex-situ conservation strategies					Week 10
Species reintroduction

Human societies: social, economic, political and			
Week 11
legal factors

Setting priorities and planning for the future				
Week 12


PRIMACK, R.B.  1993.  Essentials of conservation biology. 
Massachusetts: Sinauer Ass.


School of Biology

Costa Rican Natural History

Prof. Jose Manuel Mora B., Ph.D.


-	To understand the cosmic, geological and biogeographical facts 
that determine the current 
Costarican richness of flora and fauna.

-	To study the natural environment (climatic and geographical 
conditions) where our current biota 

-	To present a general picture about Costa Rican biodiversity 
(groups and biological phenomena).

-	To present a general picture about the current status of 
Costarican biotic resources.

Week	Topic	Reading
1	INTRODUCTION-  Biodiversity of Costa Rica-  A world comparison	
2	COSMIC ASPECTS-  Origin of our Universe-  Origin of solar system- 
 Origin of the earth	
3	GEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF COSTA RICA-  Plate tectonics-  Tectonics 
plates and Costa Rica-  The Archipelago Phase	Chapter 4
	-  Talamanca-  Tilaran vulcanism and the bridge-  Recent vulcanism	
4	INTRODUCTION TO COSTA RICAN GEOGRAPHY-  Mountains:  the principal 
axes-  Intermountain valleys-  Plateaus-  Lowlands-  Main rivers	
Week	Topic	Reading
5	COSTA RICAN CLIMATE-  Astronomical seasons-  Temperature-  Wind	
Chapter 3
6	-  Precipitation-  Climate of the Atlantic Region-  Climate of the 
Pacific Region and the Central Valley	
7	OTHER BIOPHYSICAL ASPECTS-  Soils-  Coasts	Chapter 6 
8	BIOGEOGRAPHY-  Wet canal in Middle America-  Land bridge during 
the Pliocene-  Costa Rica as a filter-  Separation of Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans-  Dispersal of flowering plants	Chapter 2
9	-  Geographical relationships of Costarican Flora-  
Pre-Pleistocens mammal faunas	
10	ECOSYSTEMS-  Climatic factors-  Holdridge Life Zone System-  Life 
zones in Costa Rica	Chapter 7
11	-  Life zones ion Costa Rica (continued) 	
Costarican fauna-  Man and the sustainable use of natural resources-  
Habitat destruction in Costa Rica-  Protected areas-  An outlook to the 
Future	Chapter 7
Textbooks:  The chapters assigned above are from:

Janzen, D. 1983.  Editor.  Costa Rican Natural history.  The University of 
Chicago press.  Chicago.

There is not actually a textbook.  However, Janzen’s book on Costa Rican 
natural history have lots of 
information not only on the chapters assigned above but about many 
Costarican organisms and ecosystems.

Gallant, R. A. 1986.  National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe.  
National Geographic Society.  
Washington, D.C.




Professor:  Dr. Mauricio Quesada

- To learn about principles in tropical ecology.

- To learn about principles in tropical evolutionary biology.

- To study the components and dynamics of tropical ecosystems

- To learn the current literature in tropical ecology.

- To understand and discuss case studies related to the
management and conservation of Tropical ecosystems.

1 week    An Introduction to Tropical Ecology     	Chapter 1
          The tropical ecosystem:                 		
               - Floristics 
               - Number of Species
          Global interest

2 week    The Physical Setting                    		Chapter 2
           Continental Drift
           Tropical Climate:
               - Precipitation
               - Storms and droughts
               - Temperature and radiation
               - Seasonal variation and other cycles
3 Week    Evolutionary Patterns in the Tropics    	Chapter 4
           Natural Selection                      		(Richer)
           Origin of Biodiversity: Hypotheses

4 Week    Soils and Nutrients                     		Chapter 3
           Tropical soils                         		
           Soil Types
           Habitat associations
           Nutrient cycling

5 Week    Tropical Succession                		Chapter 4
           General concepts                       		
           Forest Dynamics:
                    - Primary succession
                    - Gap Ecology
                    - The ecology of pioneers
                    - Late succession
                    - Animals and succession

6 Week    Coexistence and coevolution I.          	Chapter 6 
           Herbivory and resistance              		
           Frugivory and seed dispersal

7 Week    Coexistence and coevolution II.         	Chapters 4,5
           Pollination Biology:                   		(Endress)
           - Floral Adaptations to pollination              	Chapter 4
           - Special adaptations to pollinator attractions  	Chapter 5
8 Week    Plant breeding systems                  		Chapter 6

9 Week    Traditional use of tropical ecosystems 	Chapter 8 
		Non-traditional tropical products	(Mabberley)

10 Week   Management of Tropical Ecosystems       	Chapter 9
11 Week   Conservation of Tropical Ecosystems
          Case studies of conservation and management

12 Week   Conclusion and discussion of case studies


Mabberley, D. J. 1992. Tropical rain forest ecology. Chapman and Hall, 

Richer, J. C. 1989. A neotropical companion.  Princeton University Press.

Endress, P. K. 1994. Diversity and evolutionary biology of tropical 
flowers.  Cambridge University Press. 

Whitmore, T. C. 1991. An introduction to tropical rain forests.  Oxford 
University Press.

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