University description (as per official university website)
The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a non-profit consortium that has grown to include 63 universities and research institutions from the United States, Latin America and Australia. In the early 1960's, scientists from U.S. universities forged working relationships with colleagues at the Universidad de Costa Rica in the interest of strengthening education and research in tropical biology. Intense interest both in the U.S. and Costa Rica led to the founding of OTS in 1963. OTS was founded to provide leadership in education, research and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. To address this mission, OTS conducts graduate and undergraduate education, facilitates research, participates in tropical forest conservation, maintains three biological stations in Costa Rica and conducts environmental education programs.
OTS owns and operated three biological stations in Costa Rica:
La Selva Biological Station is located in the Caribbean lowland at the northern base of Braulio Carrillo National Park and recognized internationally as one of the premier facilities for rain forest research.
Palo Verde Biological Station lies in the heart of Palo Verde National Park in the northwestern Pacific lowlands and known for its deciduous dry forest, freshwater marsh and extensive wetlands.
Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Garden on Costa Rica's southern Pacific slopes, noted for its extensive collection of palms, bromeliads and endangered plants. Las Cruces is part of the Amistad Biosphere Reserve.
All three OTS stations are affiliated with the Organization of Biological Field Stations to promote interchange of professionals for biological research and education. Since its founding in 1963, OTS has offered over 200 graduate-level courses in the natural sciences and can count more than 3,600 graduate students and professionals as alumni. OTS alumni now occupy leading positions in universities, research institutions, government agencies and conservation organizations throughout the world. Of the alumni, nearly 1,000 are from Latin America.
Research at the OTS stations has added significantly to what is known about tropical biology and forest ecosystems - more than 300 scientists from 25 countries work at OTS sites each year. The traditional focus on education and research has broadened to encompass quality learning options for natural history visitors and local school children who come to the OTS stations just for short visits.
In 1985, OTS was awarded the John and Alice Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, As the first organization to be so honored. OTS was recognized for its pivotal contributions to tropical research, training and conservation. In 1999, The Ecological Society of America recognized OTS with an Award of Special Recognition. OTS was recognized because of its significant and meritorious contribution to the education of scientists, educators, and policy-makers.