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UH Hilo joins Organization for Tropical Studies

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Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has obtained permanent membership in an international organization comprised of more than 50 universities in the U.S. and abroad involved in the study of tropics. The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), founded in 1963, has developed programs acknowledged to be world-renowned models for tropical education and research.

“This is an important milestone in the growth of our programs in conservation and tropical biology,” said Chancellor Donald Straney. “We join the best in the world who are preparing the next generation of stewards of our lands and waters.”

OTS is managed by Duke University and based in Costa Rica, which has served as “the laboratory of the tropics,” for thousands of researchers and students from across the globe for over four decades. Its three biological field stations feature state-of-the-art research facilities that have made critical advances possible in the study of tropical systems. As the ‘classroom of the tropics,’ OTS’ experiential education approach has equipped multiple generations of students with the tools to understand how natural and man-made processes have shaped the tropical world.

“The University’s permanent membership in the OTS program will allow our graduate and undergraduate students enhanced opportunities to take courses and conduct research in Costa Rica,” said Dr. Donald Price, director, UH Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) graduate program and professor of biology. “UH Hilo also plans to develop similar courses here in Hawaiʻi for both UH students and international students attracted to this program.”

Price was selected along with Dr. Patrick Hart, associate professor of biology, as UH Hilo’s two delegates to represent the University at OTS. Dr. Rebecca “Becky” Ostertag and Dr. Elizabeth Stacy, professor and associate professor of biology, respectively, will serve as alternates.

For more information on OTS and its programs, visit . To learn more about the University’s Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) program, visit

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