Helpful Websites for the Tropical Ecology Student

So there is a pretty good chance that if you are currently exploring this Wikispace you are interested in the Tropical Ecology study abroad course to the beautiful country of Costa Rica. In this country, tropical ecology can easily be observed and understood. Tropical regions around the world all have some similar features, from climate patterns to unique plant and animal species. The purpose of this page is to provide quality resources for the preparation of this educational adventure that you are about to embark on. There are links and descriptions below for websites that can provide essential information for topics that are important to understand prior to your departure to Costa Rica. The variety of topics include information on the culture, locations, and history that you will be observing during your time in Costa Rica as well as information on the aspects of Tropical Ecology itself.
Anywhere Costa Rica is a website that provides travel resources for students or anyone else that is interested in visiting this country. The travel guide section offers great information on what to expect during your time in this biologically dense country. It also provides essential travel tips which discuss: weather and climate patterns that are to be expected any time of the year, currency information, geography of the area, and information on the society of the country. The website also features a map section in order to locate and see where some of the locations are that will be visited during the study abroad trip. Furthermore, the most interesting, and helpful, section of this website is the destinations portion. There are numerous subcategories such as top destinations, nature, volcano, etc. that allow you to see the various places you will be visiting during your time in Costa Rica. For example, the Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the top destinations in Costa Rica. Anywhere Costa Rica offers information about the different types of species that can be found here. There are several facts about the volcano that can also be found here; such as, height, recent activity, location, and much more. Overall, this website is a great educational resource for learning what to expect during your time in Costa Rica. Students can learn valuable information about the country, the locations visited on the trip, and much more from Anywhere Costa Rica.
Mongabay is a site that provides great information about tropical rainforests! The author of this site has been studying tropical rainforests for over a decade and obtains information for the website from peer-reviewed journals, tropical rainforest researches, etc. The information was originally in a book but has been adapted to this website, which enables the information to be periodically updated. The initial page that the link accesses provides a summary of tropical rainforests. The original book was divided into ten chapters covering topics such as: distribution and characteristics, structure, biodiversity, people, deforestation, and conservation. Each of these topics, and more, are listed at the top of the page and enable students to access more information than the summary that is provided on the initial page. At the bottom of the page there are links to many articles over current events that have to do with rainforests around the world. Why is this website so beneficial to the tropical ecology student? Prior to your trip to Costa Rica, students are required to learn and take quizzes over information regarding forest structure, forest function, watershed, and conservation. All of these topics are covered on this website and can help students better grasp pre-trip information.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest is a location that was a favorite among the students who visited Costa Rica on the 2014 trip. Bosque Nuboso is the Spanish word meaning "cloud forest." These rare and interesting forests cover just 1% of the global woodlands. This type of forest is located in tropical mountainous environments where cloud cover is constant due to atmospheric conditions. This website provides a lot of beneficial information about the Monteverde Cloud Forest as well as other cloud forests located in this region of the world. Under the cloud forest tab there is a playlist of videos that students can watch and learn about many things that they will be seeing and experiencing while in Costa Rica. Not only are there interactive videos about the cloud forest, there are videos about mammals in Costa Rica, the water environments, nature highlights, beaches, and more. Also under this tab, there is a photo gallery of many animals, trees, and some of the hiking trails that may be visited during your time in Costa Rica. Under the facts and resources links, students can view graphs of rainfall amounts as well as temperature measurements for the cloud forest, as well as other links to more sources about the Monteverde Cloud Forest!
Sea Turtle Conservancy is a great resource for background information on the sea turtles that are endangered in Costa Rica. During the Costa Rica trip, students will have the opportunity to volunteer with the sea turtle conservation. Costa Rica is home to the Chelonia mydas which is a type of green turtle, Dermochyels coriacea a leatherback turtle, and Eretmochyels imbricata a hawksbill turtle. If you explore the Research programs link, there is information on the 50 years of monitoring that has been done on the nesting sites of the many endangered turtles that call Costa Rica home. The seasonal reports link shows graphs of the nesting trends for green turtles and leatherback turtles. The flipper tag returns link shows maps of some of the 48,000 tags that have been located throughout north, central, and south America since 1955. The success of the project can be viewed under the Longterm success link. This organization has been working towards protecting endangered turtles longer than any other. Along with Costa Rica, they have been working with turtles in other regions such as Florida and Panama.
The Arenal Volcano as mentioned earlier, is one of the main attractions to visit in Costa Rica. This country is home to 6 active volcanoes and over 60 dormant or extinct volcanoes, the Arenal Volcano is the most active. This website provides a ton of information on the Arenal Volcano and the 29,692 acre national park that surrounds it. This volcano is a 5,437 foot stratovolcano that is over 7,000 years old. The historical section of the website enables students to learn about some of the most violent eruptions that the Arenal Volcano has produced. Lake Arenal, which sits at the base of the volcano is also included on this website. The photo galleries that can be accessed from this website are one of a kind. You can access photos from previous eruptions of the Arenal Volcano, as well as the La Fortuna village and waterfall, the Arenal National Park and Lake.

The tropics provide a climate and environment unlike any other in the world. There are very unique things, such as rain forests, volcanos, and cloud forests that are all apart of Tropical Ecology. When learning about the biodiversity of this region, it is also important to appreciate and help with the conservation of the animals, plants, and environments that are associated with this area of the world. Hopefully, after viewing and exploring these five websites you may have a better understanding of what to expect on your trip to Costa Rica as well as understanding and appreciating the subject of Tropical Ecology. It is important to understand the country that you are visiting, and what all that it has to offer, in order to get the most out of the educational experience that can be gained from studying Tropical Ecology.