*College of Science International Field Studies Program:

*Costa Rica, Central America - 2008


·      Costa Rica Geology & Tectonics Field Module  (GSC 491L/499)

·      Costa Rica Field Biology Independent Studies  (BIO 691/692)

Program Overview | Course Descriptions | Travel Information | Assignments | Reading | Photo Gallery | Web Links

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Photos from 2008 Costa Rica Field Studies Program – by Dr. Jeff Marshall


Program Overview




Dr. Jeff Marshall

Geological Sciences


Dr. Jon Nourse

Geological Sciences



2008 Program Participants

Program Description:

Dr. Marshall’s Costa Rica Geology Field Studies Article from Global Cal Poly - [PDF file: 7.2 Mb]

International Field Studies Program Overview  From original College of Science QLF Program proposal

College of Science Quality Learning Fund Program  – Overview of QLF Projects 

Course Descriptions

GSC 491L / 499 – Costa Rica Geology & Tectonics Field Module


This project-based Geological Sciences field studies course explores the active tectonics of Costa Rica, Central America. During a seven-day trip, students will examine the geology and geomorphology of Costa Rica’s Cordillera Central volcanic range, as well as the Nicoya Peninsula within the Pacific fore arc region. We will visit two active volcanoes, Volcán Poás and Volcán Irazú, and will conduct a set of field-mapping projects near Cabo Blanco on the Nicoya Peninsula. Students will submit field notebooks, project maps, cross sections, and final reports for grading. During the trip, students will also give oral presentations on assigned research articles. All participants are required to attend a series of planning meetings before the trip. This course will be run concurrently with a Field Biology Independent Studies course (BIO 691/ 692).


BIO 691 / 692 – Costa Rica Field Biology Independent Studies


This graduate level Biological Sciences Independent Studies course will be run concurrently with the Geology & Tectonics Field Module (described above). Through directed field projects, students will examine the ecosystems of Costa Rica’s central volcanic cordillera (Tropical Cloud Forest) and northwest Pacific coast (Tropical Dry Forest). Projects will include studies of: 1) bird populations (avian guilds), 2) ant foraging behavior, and 3) nocturnal frog calling. Project results will be compiled in final written reports and summarized in oral presentations. All participants are required to attend a series of planning meetings before the trip.


Travel Information 

Spring 2008 Travel Dates:  March 23-31


GSC 491L / 499:

Overview of Course Assignments

Assignment Details:


GSC 491L / 499:

Photo Gallery

2008 Costa Rica Field Studies Program

Web Links

Program Lodging:

Apartotel La Sabana – Sabana Norte, San José, Valle Central

Nature Lodge Finca los Caballos  – Montezuma, Península de Nicoya

General information on Costa Rica:

La Nacion – Costa Rica's Most Popular Daily Newspaper

The Tico Times – Costa Rica's English Language Weekly

Costa Rica Land of Pure Life  – PBS The Living Edens Series

Costa Rica OverviewLonely Planet Guide

From: Moon Handbooks: Costa Rica   (Beware: Overall good, but some technical info is inaccurate)

Topography, Geology, Climate 




Arts and Culture

Costa Rica Natural Sciences Research and Education:


ECG-UCR – Escuela Centroamericana de Geología – Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro

OVSICORI-UNA – Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica - Universidad Nacional, Heredia

NSF MARGINS – National Science Foundation MARGINS Program – Central America Focus Site


EB-UCR – Escuela de Biología – Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro

OTS – Organization for Tropical Studies

Fundación Neotrópica – Costa Rica Neotropical Foundation

National Park information:

Costa Rica National Parks – Official Web Site of Costa Rican National Park System (MINAE & SINAC)

Volcán PoásMoon Handbooks: Costa Rica

Volcán IrazúMoon Handbooks: Costa Rica

Cabo BlancoNicoya Peninsula Travel Guide

Nicoya Peninsula information:

Nicoya Peninsula Travel Guide – Regional Travel Information on the Nicoya Peninsula

Redes de la Peninsula – Local News & Info from the Southern Nicoya Peninsula

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