stringodendron
THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
19th PLANT SYSTEMATICS FIELD COURSE IN COSTA RICA
June 4, 2015 -- plan ahead! Save up for the trip.  Let me know if you are interested in going!
TENTATIVE DATES NOW IN PLACE: DATES TO BE FINALIZED BY JUNE 30
led by Dave Barrington (dbarring@uvm.edu)

General Goals:

1. to compare the diversity of flowering plants and ferns in a diversity of tropical American forest types to be encountered in Costa Rica, including as many moisture and temperature regimes as possible.

2. to appreciate the relationship between the Costa Rican people and their landscape.


Plan:

The basic attack is to study tropical flowering plant diversity as it relates to variety of forest types in Costa Rica. Our activity in each of the forests will be as follows. We will survey the forest for flowering-plant and fern diversity, assembling a list of plants to the genus level. We will dissect flowers and fruits on site as possible; in addition I will try to build a sense of the field recognition characters useful for identifying tropical plants. We emphasize field recognition of flowering-plant families, because this training is transportable to any other tropical forest in the world.  Many students choose to collect small fragments for reference: these are taped into a looseleaf notebook (particularly artistic types simply draw the plants).  Digital photographs have become a major tool in learning the overwhelming diversity in these forests.   We may also do short-term group research projects at some sites.

capparis

Forests

(Cited forest types are those of the Holdridge Life Zone System.)

Cerro de la Muerte: high montane rain páramo and high montane wet forest dominated by oak species - mixture of Andean and Cordilleran Western North American elements - many familiar genera. Simple lodging in a roadside restaurant and rooming house.

Monteverde: premontane and lower montane wet forest and rain forest (the classic cloud forest of the media) rich in exotic species of all types, dominated by figs, avocados, etc. Lodging and meals at a rooming house at the entrance to the cloud forest reserve. 

Osa (Corcovado): tropical rain forest with Amazonian affinities - including legumes, brazilnut family, Bombacaceae etc etc -  hike into the national park along the beach with a guide and camp on the beach, explore the forest from the beach.

Santa Rosa (Guanacaste): tropical (=sea-level) moist forest dominated by legume trees, Sapindales, etc; evergreen but seasonally very dry (some trees are deciduous). At the coast itself there are small tracts of true tropical dry forest, mangrove associations, seabeach flora, and other coastal plant associations. Camping at a national park with running water and cold showers.

We also visit Volcán Irazú National Park to see the geological infrastructure of the country at the same time we get another chance at high oak forest and páramo vegetation.

satytria

Costs:

Overall cost estimate is $900 in country, all expenses included. Airfare is extra (cheapest Burlington airfare at the moment is about $550 round trip). The $900 includes your share of the van in Costa Rica, room and board.  It does not include the cost of gifts and the like.  Some financial support may be available, not likely.

malipghia

Itinerary:


This is the tentative 2015 Itinerary.   DEPARTURE AND RETURN DATES ARE NOW FIRM; YOU CAN RESERVE AIR TRAVEL ACCORDINGLY.


Please note that we will return after the semester starts.   You will have to make arrangements with each of the instructors in your Spring courses relating to your late return.  If you need help convincing them that this is a legitimate excuse, ask me for help. 

 

DAY

DATE

ACC

PLAN

(Sun)

December 31

Casa

TO CR (San José), stay at Casa Ridgway

(Mon)

January 1

Geor

 

travel to Cerro de la Muerte, oak forest, stay at Hotel La Georgina, a primitive rooming house and cabins

(Tue)

January 2       

Geor

Cerro de la Muerte: high forest and páramo

(Wed)

January 3 oscar      

Bkpkr

 long road trip to Puerto Jiménez on the Osa Peninsula, stay in very simple hotel (buy groceries enroute at San Isidro)

(Th)

January 4       

Leon

drive and walk in to the campsite at Las Leones. (swim!!)

(Fri)

January 5       

Leon

explore tropical rainforest behind campground

(Sat)

January 6       

Bkpkr

walk and drive out of the national park, back to Puerto Jimenez, same simple hotel again

(Sun)

January 7       

Casa

drive to San José stopping at bog/Wes’s site, arrive in late afternoon, stay at Casa Ridgway

(Mon)

January 8       

Casa

day trip to Irazú volcano; good plants, great geology, Casa Ridgway again

(Tue)

January 9       

MV

Drive to Monteverde; brief walk around the dorm

(Wed)

January 10

MV

Monteverde: bullpen

(Thu)

January 11     

MV

Monteverde: reserve

(Fri)

January 12     

MV

Monteverde: Bajo Tigre

(Sat)

January 13     

SR

drive NW to Guanacaste National Park: early departure!!! (buy groceries in Liberia); camp in the campground

(Sun)

January 14     

SR

Guanacaste: moist tropical forest around campground

(Mon)

January 15      

SR

Guanacaste: dry tropical forest

(Tue)

January 16     

SR

Guanacaste: estuary communities

(Wed)

January 17     

 Casa

road trip to San José, arrive ca. 2 PM, stay at Casa Ridgway

(Thu)

January 18

 

to Vermont

 

ACC is accommodations: abbreviations are Casa (Casa Ridgway); Geor (La Georgina, Villa Mills); Bkpkr (Backpackers Pensión, Puerto Jiménez); Leon (campground at Las Leones entrance to Corcovado National Park); MV (dormitory with kitchen at entrance to reserve); R (campgound in Guanacaste-Santa Rosa National Park)

 

 

Credit:You may sign up for Plant Biology  232 for one credit (either this fall or next spring) for this experience if you like.  You must have my permission to go on the trip to register for the course.


Meetings: those who are able (that is at UVM) will meet several times before the trip to go over the science and logistics of the experience.
Practicalities: You must arrange your own air transportation to and from Costa Rica -- do this AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.   I will make arrangements so that once you arrive in the country, your rendezvous with the group is easy. You will be responsible for seeking your own health advice for the trip, but will find comfort in knowing that we have had no major health problem in 16 previous trips.  Costa Rica remains one of the safest places to travel, and we are expert in reducing what risks there are. Your personal equipment will need to be compact but not spartan, no backpacking with all equipment required but expect walking with a fairly good load for a mile.
blakea

What to do if you want to go:

You should have taken Plant Biology 109 (offered both summer or fall) or an equivalent introductory plant systematics course to go (dendrology is also adequate preparation). Ask to be put on my list of participants at any time (email, dbarring@zoo.uvm.edu), first come first serve with certain restrictions. These are - first priority goes to anyone who has taken Plant Biology  241 (next offered, fall of 2014), then UVM undergraduates, then UVM graduate students. Others encouraged to inquire, especially from other universities. Two to three spaces reserved for others who will add to the trip experience. Total group size is usually about 14.