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Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities

San José & field sites, Costa Rica

Michael McCoy

Areas of expertise

Control of Agricultural Damage by Wildlife Species, Wetland Ecology and Rehabilitation, Tropical Dry Forest Ecology

Degrees

  • B.Sc. in Wildlife and Range Management, Humboldt State University
  • M.Sc. in Wildlife and Range Management, Humboldt State University

Potential student research areas

  • Follow up study on tourist boat impacts to waterbird colony of Bird Island of Tempisque River, Puerto Humo
  • Manual roto-tilling impact of contaminated beach sand for improving hatching rate for Olive Ridley mass-aggregate nesting turtles, Ostional
  • Rates of bacterial and fungal infections in differing sectors, depths of sand of aggregate nesting area for marine turtles (ideal for microbiologists)
  • Harvest techniques and Population characteristics of harvested Pacific lobsters from small-scale fisherman of the Tarcoles Cooperative
  • Confirmation of sexual maturity associated with size of harvested fish species from small-scale fisherman of the Tarcoles Cooperative
  • Sociological study on impact to agricultural reform by recent farmers’ sale-off of their own government-handed personal plots, with emphasis in Guanacaste ricelands
  • Sociological study of the Bagatzi Womens’ Group working on community-based ecotourism and especially with their hand-made cattail paper project
  • Behavioral foraging study of Jabiru storks in irrigated rice fields in Guanacaste (or approximately 20 other species of waterfowl)
  • Testing of repellents against rice grain stink bugs in irrigated ricelands of Guanacaste (ideal for those interested in agriculture)
  • Economic study of pros and cons of the CoopeTarcoles small-scale fisherman organization, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
  • Small-scale rice farmer attitudes on benefits received from the 8-yr old Rice Corporation
  • Small-scale rice farmer opinions on their present needs in Guanacaste
  • Waterfowl ecology in irrigated rice fields of Guanacaste
  • Impact of recent electricity-producing windmills on bird mortality
  • Impact of high-tension power lines and transmission towers on bird mortality
  • Ecological and economic impact of sugar cane cultivation expansion in Guanacaste

Biography

Mike McCoy was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and he hunted and fished in nearby areas, which led to his studies in wildlife management.  Graduating from Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA in 1975 with a double B.Sc. in Wildlife and Range Management, Mr. McCoy entered Peace Corps that year to work in agricultural research project with the Agricultural and Livestock Ministry in Costa Rican highlands.  Then he taught wildlands management, wildlife seminar and wildlife management courses at the University of Costa Rica. In 1980,  Mr. McCoy was hired to teach wildlands and wildlife management course in Environmental Sciences School (EDECA) of Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica, then in the M.Sc. graduate program in wildlife management in the same university, which he helped cofound with C. Vaughan. He has participated in about 70 M.Sc. thesis committees.  Mr. McCoy and C. Vaughan coedited the international scientific journal, Vida Silvestre Neotropical, from 1993 to 2005.

Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities

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Sarah Jane Algar My semester in Costa Rica with ACM was hands-down the most exciting, interesting, and formative semester of my college years. In one semester, I absorbed more Spanish, Costa Rican culture, and knowledge of ecology and the scientific process than I knew possible. Personally, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in the security of the supportive ACM staff and my host family and gained self-confidence and independence while seeking out the adventure I craved. The ACM Costa Rica Field Research Program is unique among Costa Rica study abroad semesters in that they guide you, with the support of a mentor, in an independent research project that has the potential of being published. In my case, I was told that my first-author publication was a deciding factor in my acceptance to graduate school, where I received my Ph.D. in Zoology. It worked out well for me, since it was my experience in this program that fostered my passion to pursue graduate school in the first place.

—Sarah Jane Algar, Costa Rica, Spring 1997

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