The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students to travel to Costa Rica for biology course

The biology department is offering a course that sends students to Costa Rica for five weeks, but it’s not just for fun in the sun. Students would be collecting data and interacting with other scientists in the field.

Tropical Biology Semester is a whole package students will be learning and gaining hands-on experience during, as well as earning 16 upper-division units in biology. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Students will not be enrolled in any other classes during that semester.

The course is only offered during the spring semester because it rains a lot during the fall and winter.

Dr. Fritz Hertel started the class three years ago in order to give students the opportunity to learn about the ecology of the tropics.

Ecology deals with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment.

“If students are interested in biology, then they should go to Costa Rica,” Hertel said. “It’s a great experience, and there are tons of things to see. Students will see things that they’ve never seen before.”

Enrolled students will spend four weeks on campus learning field-sampling methods and attending lectures that will cover background information.

Five weeks will be spent in Costa Rica, traveling to different field station sites. Students will be visiting a range of places, including Cabo Blanco, Santa Rosa, La Selva and Monteverde.

“Students will be studying the tropical rain forest’s ecological system, tropical ecology and tropical vertebrae animals,” said Dr. Gray.

Each student will work on a project for the course and will also work on group projects for Tropical Biology.

For the last five weeks of school, students will be back on campus analyzing their data, putting together their findings from Costa Rica, and working on their final paper.

“I’ve never been outside of the US before,” said Nikki Osbourn, biology graduate student.

“I’m only used to the ecology in California. I signed up as soon as I found out it was being offered. It sounded like a great opportunity to be able to go to another country to see their environment,” Osbourn said.

Osbourn is interested in seeing what types of insects there are in Costa Rica.

There are 12 students signed up for the trip this spring. They will be leaving Feb. 26, 2007.

In order to enroll in the course, students applied well in advance. Sign up began last spring, and the deadline was September 2006.

The estimated cost of attendance is approximately $3,500 – $4,000 and the fee will be added on to students’ normal tuition. Students will not be paying for the faculty involved.

If payment exceeds the estimated expenses then students will receive a refund.

The cost of attendance includes boarding, food and all of the locations that students will be going to.

Students will be staying at field stations with bunk style lodging. They will be sharing rooms, and food will be offered.

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