This proposal will fund travel, subsistence expenses, publications and other administrative expenses for the participation of ten undergraduate students in a research oriented tropical biology program to take place at the Organization of Tropical Studies, (OTS), Costa Rica, under the auspices of Duke University. The students, chosen from economically disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, will be introduced to a diversity of tropical habitats, and through interactions with senior scientists and researchers and hands-on learning, to the scientific principles that guide current research in tropical ecology, as well as to a variety of research techniques. They will also be exposed to the representative environmental challenges facing developing tropical nations. Costa Rica is an ideal place for this activity because of its astonishing richness of ecosystems and biodiversity.
The goal of this activity is to improve the number and diversity of undergraduate students being provided with a quality international experience in tropical biology. Support from NSF will aid the effort to attract promising students to tropical ecology and to become familiar with development and conservation issues in the international arena.