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JULY 2017
Stay Connected to Students and Researchers in the Tropics – Get Social with OTS!
Dr. Fred Kruger, former director of the South African Forestry Research Institute and later the CSIR’s Division of Forest Science and Technology, passed away on the 20th of May 2017 at the age of 73. Fred Kruger was a 5th generation forester who conducted ground-breaking research in the fields of fynbos ecology, forest hydrology, and the ecology and management of invasive alien plants.  His career began as a research officer based at the Jonkershoek Forestry Research Centre outside of Stellenbosch, where he worked under the guidance of Prof. C.L. Wicht. 

Fred Kruger was a wise and wonderful soul

To me, Fred's great gift was socratic. The answer was only as good as the question. In this way, in conversations large and small, he brought out the best in others. Continue reading

US AID-ASHA grant to transform 
La Selva

Our recent $620,000 grant from the US Agency for International Development’s American Hospitals and Schools Abroad Program, ASHA, is on schedule to transform the La Selva Research Station. Continue reading.

Ecological Blue Flag Program at 
Las Cruces

Each year, Las Cruces Research Station participates in the Ecological Blue Flag Program (PBAE, its Spanish acronym), which evaluates the environmental sustainability efforts at the station. This year, Las Cruces received 5 stars in Protected Natural Spaces, and 4 stars in Actions to Reduce Climate Change categories. Continue reading.

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In addition to the E-Canopy, donors can expect to receive an exclusive monthly message. To make sure you receive your monthly message become a donor today!

First summer session of Global Health Issues in South Africa wraps up 

The first session of the 2017 Global Health Issues in South Africa summer undergraduate course has just wrapped up.  This was such an exciting, sometimes challenging, yet deeply rewarding time in various parts of South Africa. Continue reading

Reflection on OTS course in sustainable agriculture in Cuba

We are sharing a note we received from one of the students who participated in the Sustainable Agriculture course.  This student reflects on the importance of field-based research and courses, and how she plans to implement her experience with her future career in forestry. Continue reading

Into the canopy!

We got a dose of adventure and a chance for tree-top exploration when a group of volunteer arborists came to the Las Cruces Research Station in early April. Led by Eric Folmer of Treewolf Adventures, the team of climbers got a grant from Yourcause to come to Las Cruces and help us establish a platform for future canopy research. Continue reading

Delegates from IANAS visit
La Selva

A delegation of the Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) visited La Selva Research Station to learn about its work and facilities. Continue reading

Call for nominations
2017 Student Paper Award

Attention all OTS students, faculty and alumni! The OTS Membership Committee is pleased to announce the ninth annual OTS Outstanding Student Paper Award. Continue reading

Our La Selva Facebook group reaches 1,000 members

Welcome and congratulations to José Quirós, our 1,000 member of our La Selva Facebook group. José is an up-and-coming naturalist and nature photographer whose skills and love for nature show through on his photos. Continue reading

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Bridging the gap in the Monteverde Cloud Forest
by: Patricia Salerno, PhD (Co-Coordinator)

We woke up on June 6th atop the beautiful cloud forest in Monteverde, surrounded by tourists and birds and plants that live on plants. The students had a one day crash course in making podcasts. The rules of the game were simple. Continue reading

El Abuelo del Jardin

By: Steph Clements, OTS PhD student from the University of Miami.

El Abuelo del Jardin towers over me, its roots coming out in waves around it. This beautiful giant has lived in this garden for over 100 years. As I reach out to touch its moss-covered trunk, I am struck by the thought of all the change that this tree has witnessed during its lifetime....  Continue reading

The Cloud Forest to the Rainforest

It’s week three of the Tropical Biology: an Ecological Approach course, and we are just getting settled in to our fourth site, La Selva Biological Station. Though we may be missing the fog, the quetzals ...  Continue reading

OTS Film Festival 2017

Six short films made by students from the Organization for Tropical Studies Tropical Biology: an Ecological Approach course 2017. The films are presented by biologists, Nelson and Gancho. Gather round to learn all about different scientific projects in a creative way!              Watch the films!

Help grow the OTS Library

In order to improve the service provided by the OTS Library to our students and researchers we have launched a campaign requesting donations of specific books, which are detailed on the Library's wish list view-able here.

2017 OTS Graduate Courses

OTS graduate courses are designed to engage students in the formulation of feasible research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, and oral and written presentations through a “field problems” approach. The courses provide hands-on research experience in plant eco-physiology, microbial ecology, molecular ecology, remote sensing, rapid biodiversity inventories, and other cutting edge topics.  
We will be offering the following graduate courses this summer and winter 2017 early 2018:

Este curso, dictado en español, ofrece un riguroso entrenamiento en métodos de investigación
de la ecología tropical e incluye una unidad de campo en biología de la conservación. Está dirigido principalmente a estudiantes y profesionales latinoamericanos, independientemente de su afiliación institucional; también se aceptan solicitudes de estudiantes con dominio del español de cualquier nacionalidad e institución. Becas parciales disponibles . Ene 8-Feb 19, 2018


Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond is an intensive, four-week course in tropical ecology that will challenge you in every way. At its heart lie the highly regarded OTS “field problems”, which engage students in the fast-paced formulation of research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, oral presentations, and written papers. Students will take away advanced skills in research design, data analysis, writing, science communication, modeling, and
collaborative research. Dec 28, 2017 -Jan 23, 2018.


We believe in bringing the beautiful stories behind science/scientists to the world! Effective science communication achieves the goal of knowledge transfer. But great science communication captures the imagination and inspires. Great science communication takes advantage of one of the oldest human traditions - storytelling!



In this intensive and practical course, students will gain knowledge about anthropologic and natural factors, which interact to produce, restore, and conserve landscapes. Students will apply those concepts on real conservation issues, like reclamation of wetlands and unused agro-forestry areas, linking them with urban realms; in this process, we will interact with local communities, scientists, conservation officers, politicians and NGOs. Jan 15 – 31, 2018

Check out the website for updates on these courses.

Graduate Courses

Students attending institutions that are members of the OTS consortium pay lower tuition and have top priority for admission and additional scholarships. Students from other institutions are also welcome to apply.  For more information about graduate programs and scholarship opportunities, please contact us at graduate@tropicalstudies.org   

Now Accepting Applications for Spring 2018 Semester Programs

Spring 2018 
Application Deadline: November 1st

Spring 2018
Application Deadline: November 1st

Spring 2018 
Application Deadline: November 1st

Scholarships available to qualified students upon acceptance!

Faculty-Led Academic Groups

The OTS academic logistics staff has assisted hundreds of faculty members throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Costa Rica enhance their course trips by arranging everything from hotel reservations, transportation, meals, day activities, and research permits.       

Click here to learn more about how OTS can enrich your class today!