This collection contains the findings of scientific studies of tropical terrestrial and marine ecosystems, their components, and their conservation from Monteverde, Cuajiniquil, and other areas of Costa Rica.
This digital collection is a service of the Monteverde Institute, whose mission is to catalyze social, ecological and economic sustainability by integrating community initiatives with education, research and conservation.
Esta colección contiene los hallazgos de estudios científicos de ecosistemas tropicales terrestres y marinos, sus componentes y su conservación de Monteverde, Cuajiniquil y otras áreas de Costa Rica.
Esta colección digital es un servicio del Instituto Monteverde, cuya misión es catalizar la sostenibilidad social, ecológica y económica integrando iniciativas comunitarias con educación, investigación y conservación.
Life Monteverde is a 17 hectare coffee farm in Monteverde, Costa Rica. To irrigate their garden and to provide water for their small amount of livestock, they divert water from a nearby stream that begins at a spring about a kilometer uphill from the farm. The farm has a system to filter the water it uses from the stream before returning it to the watershed in an effort to return it in better quality than when the water was diverted. I studied the use of this water over seven study sites as it flowed through the farm. Twice a day for seven days I took measurements of five water quality parameters: temperature, conductivity, total dissolved solids, dissolved oxygen, and pH. These parameters provided me with a comprehensive idea of the quality of the water flow in different areas of the farm. The water faced several points of contamination including a goat pen, a duck pond, and a pigpen. It also flowed through a series of ponds used to treat the water using floating hyacinth plants. The goal of the study was to determine if the farm returned the water it used to the watershed in better, worse, or similar quality, and what factors on the farm determined this quality. I found that the water quality did slightly decrease as it moved through the farm, but the filtering system functioned well. The water got to the three filtering ponds at a slightly lower quality than when it was first diverted, but the first two ponds improved it back to the point of undisturbed water quality. However, there was one major contaminant, the effluent from the biodigestor, which entered the water flow just before it was returned to the watershed. Therefore, the water was in slightly worse quality after the farm than before. Nevertheless, water quality was still within healthy ranges in the parameters studied. Life Monteverde es una finca de café de 17 hectáreas en Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Danielle M. Thoene
Rodents are at risk as climate change and human interference promote the spread of infectious disease. As a result, understanding the relationship between disease and population characteristics is important in developing conservation and management strategies. I investigated the existence of immune dimorphism, which is the variation in immune response and function between sexes, in mice of the Monteverde region. I captured a total of 33 mice and 1 rat: Heteromys nubicolens (n=18), Peromyscus nudipes (n=13), Scotinomys teguina (n=1), and Oligoryzomys fulvescens (n=1). For each captured individual, I collected all visible ectoparasites and took a blood sample for further laboratory analysis. I calculated average ectoparasite abundance and leukocyte count and compared these values between males and females to test for the existence of immune dimorphism. No significant differences in average ectoparasite abundance or leukocyte count were found between sexes of the same species or among different species; therefore, my findings do not support the existence of immune dimorphism in wild mice of Monteverde. The lack of immune dimorphism has positive health and survival implications for the study species, such as greater resilience to outbreaks of disease. Since males are not disproportionately at risk to disease and parasitism, the ratio of males to females is more likely to be balanced which enhances the stability of a population.
Frogs interact with their environment directly through their skin through activities that are necessary for survival, such as respiration and rehydration. This causes vulnerability to pathogens like B. dendrobatidis, the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, that can be picked up in the environment and passed between individuals. I ask if other types of fungi are present on the skin of frogs and whether they are picked up in the environment or living on the skin. To answer these questions, I swabbed 19 individuals from five species of frogs and cultured the fungi that I collected. Nine different types of fungi or fungal spores developed within 48 hours of incubation. After analyzing the data, I suggest that the microbes were picked up as the frog moves about its environment and do not grow on the skin.
The Yayo tree, Rehdera trinervis, is a largely unstudied tree that produces foliar extrafloral nectar glands that are commonly exploited by a wide variety of insect species. These nectar glands are positively correlated with number of fruit, a commonly accepted metric of plant reproductive potential and fitness. Though there are many cases of ant-plant mutualistic systems, it is yet unclear if the Yayo tree represents one of those cases or if the nectar glands have a different adaptive significance. This paper studies the possibilities that nectar glands facilitate ant-plant mutualism and explores the Distraction Hypothesis stating that nectar glands distract herbivores away from more valuable floral nectaries and fruits, which both require higher energy investments due to their larger structure and can be rendered nonfunctional by minimal damage. Observations of exploitative ant species and predatory wasps foraging nectar glands provide mixed evidence of protection from herbivores by mutualistic insect species. Data that correlates number of nectar glands and number of fruit on a Yayo sprig appear to corroborate the Distraction Hypothesis. By collecting 218 leaf samples and categorizing them by level of damage from herbivory, strong trends emerge showing that herbivorous insects target foliar nectar glands at a statistically significant level. Leaves that are more damaged have far fewer nectar glands than one would expect based on the proportion of lost leaf tissue. Observed leaf surface scars caused by herbivory that were determined to be nectar glands by the presence of yellow puckered areas on the undersides of the leaf suggest that Yayo nectar glands distract herbivorous insects away from eating large areas of photosynthetic tissue, a less nutritious food source. This localizes damage and preserves the plant’s photosynthetic potential.
Nesting Behavior of Acapulco damselfish (Stegastes acapulcoensis): pairs defend nests more vigorously than solitary males
Unique pair behavior was observed in Stegastes acapulcoensis, the Acapulco damselfish, in the reefs of Santa Elena Bay of Costa Rica. Observations and video were collected on aggression and territoriality demonstrated by both male-female pairs and solitary males guarding eggs. Agonistic chases and chase distance were recorded over four days during snorkeling expeditions. Results compared parental care behavior (pairs versus solitary) with aggressive chases and chase distance. Solitary male Acapulco damselfish chase significantly less times than paired. Additionally, the paired males chase significantly farther than solitary. Males were observed to defend territory and eggs using aggressive chases, while paired females remained within the nest. These data and behavioral differences may suggest that pair behavior is an effective defensive strategy, likely motivated by a common goal of ensuring survival of offspring. Furthermore, pair defense may be influenced by differences in parental investment and contribution to reproductive success.
Sea stars living on the ocean substrate rely on multiple senses to detect touch, temperature, and chemicals in the water. They have rudimentary compound eyes similar to arthropod compound eyes on the tip of each arm. These eyes allow them to detect light and dark images and see in a wide range of directions. However, it is unclear whether sea stars use eyes in their environments, or if the ability to see influences sea star behavior. One species, Linckia laevigata, has been shown to rely on its eyesight to navigate back to its preferred reef location after being displaced. This study aimed to see if another species, Phataria unifascialis, also uses eyesight to find their preferred rock location. Sea stars in three different experiments were displaced away from the initial rock where they were found and then their movements were observed. My data and analysis shows that most sea stars with eyes covered did not move back towards their initial rock location, but sea stars with uncovered eyes did return towards their initial rock location.
Presence of bacterial microbiome and incidence of infection in Chagas disease vectors Triatoma dimidiata
Chagas disease is a condition caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. In Costa Rica, it is spread by one species of kissing bug, Triatoma dimidiata. Recent studies have concluded that the microbiomes of insect disease vectors play a role in the insects’ transmission of diseases. My study examines the relationship between the number of individual bacteria morphospecies found in the microbiome of each T. dimidiata and whether that insect was a Chagas disease carrier. With this data, I analyzed the correlation between the presence of the trypanosome, or not, and the microbiome of the insect. I collected Chagas bugs from various locations across the San Luis Valley and the Monteverde area of Costa Rica and took fecal samples from the live insects. Through microscopic examination, I determined whether the T. dimidiata carried the parasite T. cruzi. Subsequently, I surveyed the number of bacteria in the microbiome of each Chagas bug using oil immersion. There was a significant relationship between the number of bacteria and the presence or absence of the parasite T. cruzi. T. dimidiata individuals carrying T. cruzi had a greater number of total bacteria than individuals who did not have the infection. In both types of bacteria studied, cocci and bacilli, the presence of the parasite was related to a higher number of individual bacteria in each Chagas bug. In summary, my research provided information toward understanding microbiomes and their relationship to Chagas disease.
The effect of abundance of surrounding trees on the abundance of mycorrhizae in Ocotea monteverdensis (Lauraceae)
A very important mutualism for many plant species is the association between mycorrhizal fungi and its host plant. Mycorrhizal fungi assist in nutrient and water uptake, helping to protect the plant from desiccation. The hyphae of the fungus can spread into the surrounding soil and link with other mycorrhizae to form mycorrhizal networks. The network then allows for interplant communication either between the same or different species of plant. This study examines how the number and size of surrounding trees impacts the abundance of mycorrhizae present in the roots of Ocotea monteverdensis. I collected one root from 28 different Ocotea monteverdensis trees, and quantified the number of surrounding trees by counting all trees within a 3-meter radius of the sample. I then broke the surrounding trees into three different size categories. After looking at three sections from each root, I determined the average number of mycorrhizae present. In the end, it was concluded that the number of surrounding trees did not affect the amount of mycorrhizae present. I also found that the size of the surrounding trees did not have an affect on the abundance of mycorrhizae in roots of O. monteverdensis. Further studies should be conducted on other factors that may affect mycorrhizal abundance in O. monteverdensis in order to provide the best possible environment for the mycorrhizae to thrive in. This potentially could help to preserve and improve the survival of this critically endangered species.
Predatory animals often need to consider the costs and benefits of an attack, so as to avoid getting bitten or stung. Orchard spiders, Leucauge sp., manipulate their orb-webs to detect prey that lands on their web and attack them accordingly. Generally, they bite prey to inject venom and may also wrap them in silk. This study investigated the behavioral sequences of orchard spiders when they were presented with highly dangerous prey (Atta sp. minima ants) versus low danger prey (Drosophila sp. fruit flies). I tested 60 spiders, which I classified by body size (to account for size of the spider) and abdomen size (to control for their hunger level). I split them into two groups based on which prey I fed them, and observed their behavior, which I categorized into predatory and non-predatory. The results showed that on average, orchard spiders showed predatory behavior far more often towards Drosophila sp. than to Atta sp. Additionally, spider size was shown to not be a factor in the likelihood of predatory behavior. The results also showed that hunger level does not play a large part in whether or not predatory behavior was displayed. I also made ethograms to detail the spiders’ behavioral patterns, which showed that individual spider behavioral sequences were far more random and unique with Atta sp. than with Drosophila sp. This was either due to the novelty of the ants as prey or the uncertainty about how to react to dangerous prey. These results ultimately support the idea that orchard spiders take a more offensive approach with non-dangerous prey than with dangerous prey.
The effects of a possible soil nitrogen gradient on Mimosa pigra root nodule density and black bean plant growth
Ronnie E. Appleseed
Cattle produce feces that contain organic nitrogen. The farm at the University of Georgia (UGA) station in San Luis, Monteverde is built on a sloping hill with nitrogen producing cattle present on the top and absent at the bottom. The legume Mimosa pigra has a mutualistic relationship with nitrogen fixing Rhizobia bacteria and is found growing as a weed on the UGA farm. I hypothesized that the possible decrease in soil [N] along the UGA farm hill would result in decreased Mimosa root nodule densities and that the greatest nodule densities would be found in plants growing closest to the cattle feces, the assumed N source, and at the bottom of the hill, an assumed N sink. After surveying the roots of ten Mimosa plants each at four collection sites going downhill and away from cattle feces, I found that increased root nodulation density does occur in M. pigra growing in soil closest to the nitrogen producing cattle at the top of the UGA farm hill compared to further away. However, I did not find that plants grown in soil at the bottom of the hill also had increased root nodule density, suggesting that there may not be a nitrogen sink, as predicted. Additionally, black bean plants were grown for 17 days in soil collected from the same sites used to study Mimosa pigra along the UGA farm hill. I found no significant differences for leaf area or leaf dry matter density, however, I did find that bean plants growing in soil collected closest to the nitrogen producing cattle at the top of the hill did have increased plant height and stem dry matter density. Similar to the findings for Mimosa root nodule densities, plant height and stem dry matter density were actually lowest when grown in soil collected at the bottom of the hill, the assumed N sink. These results contradict my predictions and further support the idea that there may not be a nitrogen sink at the bottom of the UGA farm hill. The negative correlation between distance away from cattle feces at the top of the UGA farm hill and Mimosa root nodule density, as well as black bean plant height and stem dry matter indicates that there may be a decrease in soil nitrogen concentrations further away from cattle feces. However, because I was unable to directly test soil [N], future studies must be conducted to confirm this hypothesis.
Hummingbird feeders may appear to be something that brings life and excitement close to viewers. However, not much is known about how this unlimited food source alters the pollination of plants that rely on hummingbirds. It could be possible that feeders deter hummingbirds from visiting flowers. I studied the effects of feeders on hummingbird-carried pollen abundance and diversity. I used two sites for my study, one that has had feeders for nearly 20 years and another site where I introduced feeders for the first time. With these feeders, I collected pollen samples from the heads of visiting hummingbirds and then examined the samples to count pollen morphospecies and abundance of grains. I found that the numbers of morphospecies found in the two sites were very similar, but there were significantly more pollen grains found at my long-time feeder site. During my study, I also observed very unique behavior of hummingbirds at feeders. At my long-time feeder site, I observed little aggression and territoriality, but the hummingbirds at my introduction site displayed high aggression and territorial behavior. My results show that hummingbirds that visit feeders are also visiting a variety of flowers. These results could imply that feeders have little effect on the important role of the hummingbird as a pollinator.
Volatile compounds and microbiota: Antibacterial properties in traditional preparation methods of medicinal herb Neurolaena lobata (Asteraceae)
I assessed the differential effectiveness of traditional herbal preparation methods of medicinal herb gavilana (Neurolaena lobata) on an assay of four bacteria (E. coli, S. aureus, Shigella sp. and Salmonella sp.) known to cause food poisoning symptoms in humans. Medicinal plants are used both traditionally at home in many cultures and in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals. Their medicinal properties often come from their secondary compounds, chemicals that play a role in their ecophysiology and primarily defend them from herbivory. I prepared three types of Neurolaena lobata extracts - an oil, an alcohol, and a tea - and assessed the zones of inhibition of the bacteria around filter paper disks impregnated with each extract. These assessments were done "blindly" (without knowledge of the inoculum/extract combination on the Petri dish) and I compared the zones of inhibition of the treatments to those surrounding the control. Results showed no significant inhibition of any bacterial inoculum by any Neurolaena lobata treatment; the majority of disks showed no inhibition and did not differ from the control. However, oil seemed to be the least effective preparation method, Shigella sp. and Salmonella sp. appeared to be more resistant to antibacterial activity than E. coli and S. aureus, and Neurolaena lobata tea treatments appeared to increase in effectiveness at higher concentrations. There are still thousands of plants that have yet to be explored for antibacterial or other health-related properties, and diverse areas such as tropical forests must be protected in order for this potential to remain alive.
What factors affect Broca beetle (Hypothenemus hampei) incidence in Coffea arabica plants at Life Monteverde?
The goal of this study was to identify the factors that affect incidence of the coffee berry borer (CBB) or Broca beetle, Hypothenemus hampei. I surveyed three sites within the Life Monteverde coffee plantation in Costa Rica. The three sites varied from High (C2) to Medium (C14) to Low (C18) historical incidence of Broca infestation. Six 6x3m plots per study site were created and I selected four plants per plot. Per plant, I chose five branches with the one condition that the branch had a high density of berries (n>50). I conducted observations between 15 and 23 November 2016 and observed 39393 berries, of which 3229 were infested with Broca (7.92%). Site C2 had an infestation of 18.88%, 3.83% were infested in Site C14, and 1.02% in Site C18. Using stepwise regression modeling, the resulting best-fit model indicated that the most significant variables that affect the percentage of Broca-infestation per study site were the distance from the back windbreak, the distance from each side windbreak, the distance from the road, the length of the branches, and the height of the tree. Understanding the factors that influence the habitat preferences of Broca beetles can help to increase natural and biological control methods, reducing the need for chemical and artificial control methods.
Giardiasis, the disease caused by the protozoan endoparasite, Giardia lamblia, has become an increasingly concerning threat to both animals and humans, especially for travelers in the form of “travelers’ diarrhea” and in developing countries such as Costa Rica. Parasitic infections are an omnipresent problem that are often a result of zoonotic diseases, or diseases that are transmitted from animal to human. This study strove to determine if white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica) could potentially be hosts to Giardia lamblia in Monteverde, similar to how they are capable of acting as hosts for other zoonoses. I collected 28 coati fecal samples at three locations within Monteverde, Costa Rica, and found five samples positive for Giardia lamblia. Not only did this demonstrate that Nasua narica could act as hosts for the endoparasite, but the individuals surveyed were also hosts to 19 other parasitic species ranging from roundworms to tapeworms. Such parasitic incidences depended on the locations in which the samples were found, along with hosts’ interactions with possible sources of contamination in the particular environment; the latter could have resulted from contact with infested water and/or food, or through fecal-oral routes. Close human proximity to coatis can pose a danger to human health and increase our risks for contracting the disease, while jeopardizing the health of coatis and neighboring wildlife, as well.
Zombie fungi: Occurrence of arthropod endoparasitic fungi at different altitudes in the Monteverde Region
Arthropod endoparasitic fungi consist of multiple genera that exploit the bodies of insects and arachnids as host organisms to spread their fungal spores and to obtain nutrients from the body of the host. Arthropod parasitic fungi can be classified into three families: Clavicipitaceae,Cordyipitaceae and Ophiocordycipitaceae . I conducted an observational study in the Monteverde region of Costa Rica where I collected and analyzed arthropods that have been parasitized with fungi by searching in different altitudes and life zones. My goal was to determine if there was an altitudinal gradient associated with the presence and abundance of arthropod parasitic fungi and which Orders were most affected. The results reveal that there is the highest abundance of parasitized arthropods at the lowest altitude and the least abundance at the highest sampled altitude. However, there is no trend in abundance in increasing altitudes. I found the highest abundance of arthropod hosts present in the Order Hymenoptera in various wasp species. There is variety in fungal morphologies between nearly every individual I found that range from mold-looking to mushroom fruiting bodies. This paper provides detailed descriptions of every sample of parasitized arthropod, the specific microhabitat it was discovered in, and the method of attachment it has taken to the substrate. These detailed descriptions reveal the high variation in which fungal parasites can attack arthropod hosts in a range of ecosystems.
Microbes in the oral cavity utilize exogenous nutrients taken in from their hosts to sustain themselves. As such, a more diverse diet will likely lead to a more diverse bacterial composition content. Oral swabs from bats of the species Dermanura tolteca and Myotis keaysi were taken in order to assess the diversity of the oral cavity between captive and wild individuals and between frugivorous and insectivorous species by culturing and comparing bacterial morpho species. The captive bats were found to have lower diversity of bacteria present than those in the wild and the frugivores were found to have a higher diversity of bacteria compared to the wild insectivores. In addition, captive bats carried a higher richness of pathogenic Staphylococcus bacteria compared to wild bats of the same species. It is likely that diet is a main contributing factor in this variance of bacterial diversity.
Epiphylls are very vulnerable to forest disturbance and climate change, making them good indicators of forest health. It is therefore important to better understand their distribution pattern, richness and abundance. In this study, I surveyed the understory plants of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica and investigated whether some plant families hosted more epiphylls than others, as well as described the most abundant epiphyll morphospecies observed. Out of 106 plants sampled, I identified 36 plant families, with an epiphyll coverage ranging from zero to hundred per cent. I also identified 36 morphospecies of epiphylls, 78.4% of them observed between one and ten times, and 21.6% observed more than ten times and on different plant families. I found no significant difference between the mean number of morphospecies found on the most abundant plant families. I examined whether the leaf surface area influenced the number of epiphyll morphospecies or the percentage of leaf covered by epiphylls by providing more potential habitat, but no significant correlation was found. While there was a clear difference in epiphyll abundance between plant families, only five out of the 36 plant families surveyed had 50% or more of leaves covered, suggesting that plants are able to maintain a certain level of leaves free of epiphylls overall.
Distribution of lichens and bryophytes along an elevational gradient in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
Climate change is causing decreased moisture levels during the dry season on the Pacific slope of the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica. This alteration could be harmful to the abundant epiphytic, poikilohydric bryophyte and lichen community by causing range shifts, which could lead to local extinctions. I investigated the potential impact of changing moisture levels by establishing a baseline of the current distribution of bryophytes, bare bark, and crustose, foliose, and fruticose lichens between 1550-1750m in the cloud forest at the Monteverde Biological Station. I determined the percentage cover of each organism and the canopy cover for each cardinal direction at intervals of 20m of increasing elevation. I found a higher abundance of bryophytes and a lower abundance of crustose lichens at the higher elevations while the foliose and fruticose lichens did not illustrate a trend. There was a strong negative correlation between the bryophytes and crustose lichens that seemed both causal and correlated with elevation.
Flor A. Calderon
Many bat species around the world are threatened because of habitat loss due to land development. This study looked at how foraging of insectivorous bats differed among four different localities including: agricultural, urban, and forested sites of two different elevations. Bio-acoustic recordings were done using an “Echo Meter Touch”. Species richness was recorded throughout the sites. Overall bat foraging activity was measured by the amount of individual bat calls, total duration of bat calls per location, and a Shannon’s index to compare activity between sites. A Chi-squared test was used to compare species richness, no significant differences were found between sites. I performed a modified t-test to compare the differences in H’ values which resulted in a significant difference between all sites, except the low elevation forest and the urban sites. The Agricultural site has the highest richness (11 species) and bat activity index (H’=0.89), while the least anthropogenically disturbed site at the high elevation forest had the lowest species richness (4 species), and had the lowest bat activity index as well (H’= 0.20). Land developed for agriculture or urban use had greater or equal foraging activity than areas not developed, therefore human development has not negatively impacted the insectivorous bat community of Monteverde.
Jessica C. Kathan
I investigated the effect of altitude on the morphological variation of three species of Craugastor leaf litter frogs. These species have highly variable dorsal coloration and patterning. I collected 31 individuals of C. crassidigitus, C. podiciferus, and C. underwoodi on the Sendero Principal in the Cloud Forest in the Biological Station in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Individuals of C. podiciferus tended to be lighter at higher elevations, but no such trend was found for the other two species. I hypothesize that differences in leaf litter conditions may select for certain morphs at certain elevation, but that selection pressures are so ephemeral that a strong trend is not apparent for all species. Individuals of the species C. underwoodi tended to be larger at higher elevations, which may be due to better breeding conditions at lower elevations and a resulting higher abundance of juveniles.
Captive animal habitats often differ greatly from natural environments. These differences have the potential to introduce health concerns that are otherwise absent in the wild. A prime example of this is the hair loss of Dermanura tolteca bats in The Bat Jungle in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This study investigates this hair loss and aims to contribute to the understudied veterinary and captive care of bats. From each study subject, I took handling observations, a hair sample, a bacterial swab, and a skin scrape. I used these samples to examine reproductive hormones, seasonal molting, social overgrooming, self-‐removal, hair follicle mites, ectoparasites, fungal infection, and bacterial infection as potential causes of the hair loss. The results of the study reveal a strong association between higher fungal infection and captivity that is likely to be a contributing factor to the hair loss. There was evidence against all other investigated causes as possible explanations for the hair loss. Taking measures to treat and prevent fungal growth can greatly improve the health of these bats and allow for better understanding of captive bat care.
Survey of macrofungi species richness pattern along an elevational gradient in the Monteverde Cloud Forest
Laura Yesenia Pérez Olivera
Given that there is an extensive diversity in organisms and landscape in Costa Rica, this study focuses on the species richness of macrofungi along an elevational gradient in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I assessed a 200m elevational gradient from 1550m to 1750m of the trails of the Estación Biológica. Using a GPS and altimeter, I recorded the location and elevation of each macrofungi found along the trails. The data gathered from these walks was then used to create a map with ArcMap10.2 that visualizes the species richness along 8 altitudinal bands of 25m of the total elevational gradient. I found a total of 154 organisms and 91 different morphospecies and identified 21 genera. Results indicate that species richness has an overall decrease as elevation increases. However, because there was an increase in the 1675-1700m and 1700-1725m altitudinal bands, this is not indicative of a monotonic pattern. This biogeographical study may therefore only include one piece of the overall trend found on elevational gradient in the Monteverde cloud forest and a pattern may be better assessed along a wider elevational gradient.
How a senderista helps increase rural tourism for the Sendero Pacífico Trail and businesses of San Luis, Costa Rica
In the small mountain town of San Luis, many families and the two dozen or so businesses that reside there would like to see more development of rural tourism and benefit from the economic opportunities that accompany it. One obstacle the community of San Luis faces when trying to attract more tourists, students, and volunteers is the lack of information it has readily available. In addition to inspecting and physically working on the Sendero Pacifico hiking trail, I aided San Luis businesses by summarizing their operations’ history, what services they provide, and pricing in a Prezi presentation, as well as creating an online magazine about seven integrated farms. The magazine, “The story of Las Fincas Integrales of San Luis” was the most significant piece of work I accomplished, because the stories of these unique farmers needed to be shared in order for visitors to know what activities are available in the town, to better understand the values of the community, and want to visit these sustainable family businesses. The physical work in the Sendero Pacifico, the presentation on businesses, and the magazine on integrated farms will all be discussed below, in addition to further actions that must be taken to increase rural tourism in San Luis.
This document explains the work done by a Lake Forest College intern at the Monteverde Institute, Costa Rica. The internship consisted of creating interpretive materials for the Rachel and Dwight Crandell Memorial Reserve. In this document you can find the process that was carried out to achieve the purpose of the internship. Some of the results that were achieved were the creation of signaling signs, a small construction at the main entrance of the Reserve and some maps of the Reserve. With the help of the internship supervisor and some members of the Monteverde Institute, these projects were able to be carried out over the course of five weeks. In this document you can also find the benefits of this internship and some suggestions to know how to continue maintaining and improving some of the projects carried out in the internship.