top of page



Tropical Biodiversity & Lab
BIOL 122 (2) & 123 (1)


This course will introduce students to the scientific study of biodiversity in the Neotropics.  We will travel to a diversity of natural biological communities including rainforests, coastal communities, coral reefs, freshwater streams, and cloud forest. 

An emphasis of this class will be to examine effects of modern land-use patterns on the distribution and abundance of species.  We will visit agricultural areas used for intensive cultivation of major export crops including coffee and chocolate.  One assignment will be for each student to research an economically important agricultural product and report to the class on the environmental impacts associated with it.

Another of the goals of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to develop hypotheses about tropical systems and design specific experiments to test such hypotheses.  To that end, students will participate in guided research with faculty.  Students are then required to develop their own ideas and figure out ways of testing those ideas.


This course satisfies the University Core requirement for a Natural Science Elective or the core requirement for a Scientific Perspective course.


Tropical Ecology
BIOL 255 (3)


This course will introduce students to the scientific study of tropical ecology in Costa Rica.  While visiting a diversity of natural biological communities students will learn to identify tropical plant families and common tropical wildlife including resident and migratory birds, reptiles, & amphibians.  

This course will also have a strong emphasis on the methods of modern scientific investigation in a tropical setting.  Students will read primary literature describing current research projects and be introduced to techniques used to investigate tropical ecology. 


This course satisfies elective credit for Biology majors and Environmental Science majors.


IMG_9014 (1).JPG

Course Dates & Itinerary


The course begins Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 2022 and ends Sunday, Jan. 8th,2023

Dec 27

Dec 28 to 31

Jan 1 & 2

Jan 3 to 6

Jan. 7

Jan. 8

Fly into San Jose, Costa Rica

4 nights in Bijagual Ecological Reserve

2 nights in High-elevation forest at Savegre

4 nights on the Osa Peninsula (Morgan's Jungle Lodge)

Travel to San Jose

Fly home


Course Fees & Application

Cost of the course is expected to be about $4,000 and includes three biology credit hours, all within-country transportation, room and board.  It does not include round-trip airfare, application fee,  or any incidental expenses. 


Click the link below to visit the study abroad website for an application:

Costa Rica Application

or email Dr. George Farnsworth at



Dr. Farnsworth teaches General Biology, Animal Behavior, and Ecology at Xavier University and has been taking students to Costa Rica since 2008.  His research focuses on behavioral ecology of birds and includes projects in Costa Rica studying blood parasites in tropical birds and roosting behavior of White-collared Swifts.  Dr. Farnsworth seeks to introduce students to the diversity of tropical plants and animals as well as the modern research techniques used by scientists to study tropical ecology.



Phone: 513-745-2062

Emily Franzen is an expert in Entomology with a keen interest in the Neotropics. She has experience in agricultural entomology, insect ecology, and integrated pest management. Emily has worked to help students understand the diversity of the Neotropics through insect, plant, and bird identificaiton. 


If you have questions feel free to email us or visit our FAQ page.


bottom of page