Baseline Ecological Data
The impact of global changes on tropical biodiversity has become by far one of the most challenging issues in the tropics; however, to really comprehend those impacts, scientists must rely on long term integrated ecological databases. Although major efforts have been undertaken to create, develop, and maintain long term databases, work to share expertise and information broadly by information networks is just beginning. The Soltis Center is committed to facilitate the gathering of baseline information to support research and education activities, in order to further our understanding of the effects of global changes on natural resources and human activities.
Entomology research: The first baseline ecological data collection at the Soltis Center started on Spring 2009. Chris Wilson (Aggie class of`09) spent the entire spring semester conducting field research on the ant population in the forest surrounding the center. He identified more than 200 species of ants, some of which were previously unknown. Additional research will be conducted by other taxonomic groups to add to the database.
Inventorying birds, amphibians and reptiles of the Soltis Center: Since February 2009, Mr. Alberth Rojas, the Soltis Center`s research and academic program assistant, periodically conducts field observations on birds, amphibians and reptiles found in the forests of the Center. His observations are integral part of long term databases the Soltis Center is putting together on the biodiversity of the region, and thus enhance the importance of conservation activities in the area. Since November 2009, Mr Rojas has identified in the Center’s forest 25 amphibians, 236 birds and 44 reptiles.
Meteorological Station: With the financial support of Kim and Matthew Hammer '80 the Texas A&M department of Geography is working to install a meteorological station at the Soltis Center. This meteorological station will meet all requirements of the Costa Rican Instituto Meteorológico Nacional for their Class A stations, and therefore it will be part of the network of stations of the World Meteorological Organization. The station will provide continuous and detailed world-class weather observations at the Soltis Center that will benefit the residents of Costa Rica and the global climate community as well as Texas A&M faculty and students who are undertaking research on site.
Faculty Development Trips
To foster the development of programs at the Soltis Center, Texas A&M University has supported two faculty trips to Costa Rica where the groups not only get to know the Center and its surroundings but also visit universities and research institutions for developing collaboration with local faculty and researchers. The faculty development trip is a program organized by the Office for Latin American Programs in collaboration with the Study Abroad Office and the Soltis Center.
May 2009: A second faculty group visited The Center once again to further develop proposed research projects and to establish contacts with colleagues at universities and institutions in Costa Rica for potential research and educational collaborations. Read more on faculty proposals.
April 2008: The first faculty group visited The Center to further develop their proposed research projects and to establish contacts with colleagues at universities and institutions in Costa Rica for potential research and educational collaborations. Read more on faculty proposals.
- Ecosystem Conservation (Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences)
- Sustainable Design (Architecture)
- Tropical Hydrology Project (Civil Engineering)
- Bio-geography research and mapping of rain forest (Geography)
- Environmental studies track for B.A. in International Studies (Liberal Arts)
- Various Departments
There are endless possibilities...
Guidelines for Research and Collecting Permits in Costa Rica
Everyone who captures, handles, or transports plants, animals, or microorganisms in Costa Rica for scientific study must register their project, obtain government wildlife service (MINAET) research permits, and submit biannual reports to the government. Anyone collecting plant samples or capturing wild animals for teaching purposes or scientific research (pollinia or scat samples, re-capture, among others) must pay an additional fee for a collecting license, even if specimens are later released. Collecting permits must be obtained even for purely observational research if it is to be carried out in a National Park. Research and the related collecting permits (if needed) are valid for six months, and can be renewed. The export of wildlife from Costa Rica for scientific purposes also requires one or more government export permits. The Soltis Center can assist students, researchers and faculty to obtain the permit if required. Please contact the Center’s Director to obtain the guidelines for permit application. Be aware that the burdens of proof and of timely application are on the applicant. The Soltis Center will take no responsibility for delays caused by late application or incomplete documentation. Once all requirements have been completed and all documents received, it takes a minimum of 30 natural days to obtain a permit. A research permit is valid for six months and is renewable. Read more