Organization for Tropical Studies

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of nearly sixty universities, colleges, and research institutions from around the world. In the early 1960’s, scientists from U.S. universities forged working relationships with colleagues at the Universidad de Costa Rica in the interest of strengthening education and research in tropical biology. Intense interest, both in the U.S. and in Costa Rica, led to the founding of OTS in 1963.

OTS was founded to provide leadership in education, research and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. To this end, OTS offers intensive field courses for undergraduates, graduate students, and natural resource professionals in tropical biology and related disciplines in Costa Rica and South Africa. OTS maintains research stations in three ecologically diverse ecosystems in Costa Rica:

La Selva Biological Station is located in the Caribbean lowland at the northern base of Braulio Carrillo National Park and recognized internationally as one of the premier sites in the world for ongoing research in lowland rain forests. In particular, work on climate change and its impact on biodiversity in tropical wet forests has become a significant area of study at the station.

Palo Verde Biological Station located in the northwestern Pacific lowlands, it is known for its deciduous dry forest, freshwater marsh, and extensive wetlands. Palo Verde is home to thousands of migratory and domestic waterfowl, yet the wetlands are experiencing negative impacts from large scale agriculture located outside the boundaries of the park. Research on the ecological processes occurring within the park and in the surrounding region of the Lower Tempisque Basin is helping to protect the park’s wide array of ecosystems and its biodiversity as well as having significant ramifications on similar parks around the world.

Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Garden on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific slope is renowned for its extensive collection of palms, bromeliads, and endangered plants. Las Cruces is part of the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve and is a key site in the study of restoration ecology and biological corridors.


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