Methods in Primate Behavior and Conservation


Summer Session: July 13 – July 28, 2018

Application deadline:

Summer Session: June 15, 2018

Program fee: $2600

Location: Osa Conservation, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Contact: Visit our website and/or email us at for more information

Central American Squirrel Monkey

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with field experience in primate behavior, ecology, and conservation. This course will be held at Osa Conservation’s Piro Reseach Station in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa peninsula. As the one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon (roughly 400,000 acres in the Osa Conservation Area), it is renowned for high species diversity. It is one of only a few places in Costa Rica that has jaguar, puma, sea turtles and four species of monkey (mantled howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkey).

The learning experiences for the course fall into four main categories: field exercises, seminars, lectures, and applied conservation. The field exercises and seminars provide instruction and experience in: (1) methods of measuring environmental variables, including assessment of resource availability, (2) methods of collecting and analyzing the behavior of free-ranging primates, (3) assessments of biodiversity and (4) techniques for estimating population size. Lecture topics will cover the behavior and ecology of Old and New World primates from an evolutionary perspective. Selected lecture topics include primate sociality, feeding ecology, taxonomy, rain forest ecosystems, conservation and sustainability. Service learning is a large component of all our programs. Students will gain experience in applied primate conservation and also have opportunity to participate in Osa Conservation’s big cat and sea turtle monitoring, reforestation and sustainable agriculture projects.

During the course participants will also have opportunity to see an active volcano and take a short hike through montane cloud forest during our visit to Volcan Poas National Park in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. In addition, we will visit a sustainable chocolate plantation, and take a boat tour of the Golfo Dulce for dolphin viewing and snorkeling. We overnight on the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about the community and their traditional ways of interacting with their environment. All in-country travel is in cooperation with Planet Conservation, our sustainable travel partner. Every effort is made to implement eco-friendly and socially responsible practices into our day-to-day operations, field courses and overall mission.

White-faced capuchin monkey

Enrollment is limited to 15 participants. The course is open to all those keen to learn about tropical ecosystems, wildlife, conservation and sustainability. University students can receive credit through their home institutions.

Hope to see you in the OSA!

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