Student Julia Buck will examine soil compaction and porosity in logged versus undisturbed forests, while Trent Strapon will use trail cameras to compare wildlife observed in the tropical forests to those observed in northern Wisconsin in forests of the same age on similar sites. He will then attempt to determine the ecological reasons for the differences and similarities in types of wildlife.
Professor Michael Heim, science faculty member at the college, will assist them with implementing their field projects, including experimental design, data gathering and analysis to prepare for publication and/or a presentation of results at a local, regional or national conference. Their research will be conducted around the mid-elevation Las Cruces Biological Station, a seven-hour drive south of the capital, San Jose.
While there they will also meet the local residents and learn about their culture and customs. The program that they are a part of is called the Costa Rica International Research Experience and is funded by a National Science Foundation grant administered through Salish-Kootenai College. Any student attending a tribal college is eligible to participate.