Organization for Tropical Studies

Alternative names

Hide Profile

Consortium of universities created to study tropical environments focusing on Central America and field activities in tropical habitats.

From the description of Organization for Tropical Studies records, 1948-1986. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 79108205

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), founded in 1963, has had its North American Office located at Duke University since 1976. The OTS offers students, faculty, and researchers opportunities to work hands-on in tropical sciences in Costa Rica and other Latin American countries.

From the description of Organization for Tropical Studies records, 1962-1974. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 57225795

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) was created as a consortium of universities to operate a graduate program in the area of tropical research. The University of Michigan became a founding member of OTS in April 1963.

The organization was officially founded in 1962. The origins of OTS come from a committee at the University of Michigan interested in a proposed center for biological study which began in 1956. In 1958 there were several visits to Mexico as a potential location for the project, but this was later abandoned at the suggestion of Mexican officials. In the fall of 1962 a new committee was formed under professors Norman Hartweg and Stephen Spurr with the idea of bringing together a consortium of universities. Hartweg and Spurr were particularly instrumental in writing the original articles of agreement that led to incorporation in the State of Florida. The by-laws and charter were adopted at another conference in Coral Gables, Florida in February 1963 where Hartweg was elected as the first president of OTS, while Thomas Hubbell also of the University of Michigan faculty served as a member of the Board of Directors.

In March 1963, before becoming a member of OTS, the Michigan Committee on Tropical Studies (MCOTS) was formed. This committee was created to support and promote OTS at the University of Michigan. It was later disbanded.

The purpose of OTS is to further the understanding of the tropics through formal graduate courses and individual research projects in tropical areas. OTS typically has involved about 150 graduate students and 50 faculty members from nearly as many institutions, each year. Funds are obtained through grants from the National Science Foundation as well as other organizations. Emphasis is placed on field instruction, which can be carried on only in tropical environments. Courses are offered in various areas of biology, geography, forestry, earth sciences, biometeorology, and marine sciences. The principle area of concentration has been in Central America, particularly Costa Rica, with a Central American Office located at the University of Costa Rica, and with special agreements for study areas in Guatemala near Escuintla and on the Colombian island of San Andres in the Caribbean. Course offerings emphasize field activities in all of the major tropical habitats where classes meet continuously for periods of one to two weeks. Field locations are selected to provide a spectrum of tropical environments including dry lowlands, wet lowlands, highlands and marine areas. Lodging and field laboratory facilities are arranged through rental of commercial and private establishments, and by a network of permanent field stations.

OTS does not employ a permanent teaching staff. Courses are taught by eminent scientists drawn from the faculties and staffs of universities and scientific organizations throughout the world. A balance of scientific specialities appropriate to each course is provided by two or more faculty members and supporting visiting scientists and local lecturers who are involved for periods which vary from one or two days to several weeks.

Membership to OTS is by institution only. In 1995 there were approximately 50 to 60 member institutions paying an approximate $10,000 annual membership fee, which supports the North American executive offices now located at Duke University.

From the guide to the Organization for Tropical Studies records, 1948-1986, 1958-1979, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Several international conferences held in 1962 and 1963 brought together representatives from a number of universities to discuss the possibility of an international program in tropical biology to foster education and research. The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) formally began in 1963 as an educational program that offered graduate students and faculty hands-on experience in tropical biology. In February 1963, the OTS was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization, and the first Board meeting was held in Miami, Florida in June 1963. The ten charter members of OTS were: Harvard University, the Universities of Southern California, California (System), Washington, Kansas, Michigan, Miami, Florida, Costa Rica, and Louisiana State University. The OTS now has 63 members from across the Americas.

OTS offers a number of courses in biology, geography, meteorology, earth science, forestry, and other tropical sciences. The courses generally last two to three months, and draw students from the United States, Latin America, and elsewhere. At its three biological stations in Costa Rica and other Latin American locations, over 3,600 graduate students have participated in OTS programs since 1963. OTS employs a full-time administrative staff, but all OTS faculty are temporary, drawn from member institutions to teach their specialties, providing a dynamic experience for students. In addition, scientists come to the Costa Rican stations to conduct research throughout the year.

OTS had its North American Office (NAO) in Miami, Florida from its founding to 1976, when the NAO moved to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Donald Stone, now professor emeritus in biology, served as Executive Director. The OTS also maintains a Costa Rican Office. The OTS website, which offers additional information, is located at: http://www.ots.duke.edu.

From the guide to the Organization for Tropical Studies Records, ., 1962 - 1974, (University Archives, Duke University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn University of Connecticut, Vice President for Academic Affairs Office Records [Kenneth G. Wilson, 1974-1981], undated, 1939-1984 Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn New York Botanical Garden. Office of the President. William Campbell Steere records, 1927-1983. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Organization for Tropical Studies. Organization for Tropical Studies records, 1948-1986. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Duke University. University Archives. Organization for Tropical Studies Reference Collection, 1979-1988. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Spurr, Stephen Hopkins. Stephen Hopkins Spurr papers, 1940-1971 (bulk 1952-1968). University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Reynolds, Joseph M. Joseph M. Reynolds papers, 1924-1990, bulk 1962-1985. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn University of Connecticut, President's Office Records [Homer D. Babbidge, 1962-1972], undated, 1962-1972. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
creatorOf Organization for Tropical Studies records, 1948-1986, 1958-1979 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Organization for Tropical Studies Records, ., 1962 - 1974 University Archives, Duke University.
creatorOf Organization for Tropical Studies. Organization for Tropical Studies records, 1962-1974. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn University of Connecticut, President's Office Records [John A. DiBiaggio, 1979-1985], undated, 1952-1986. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn Reynolds, Joseph M. Joseph M. Reynolds papers, 1924-1990 (bulk 1962-1985). Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn David Bates papers, 1953-2002. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Stephen Hopkins Spurr Papers, 1940-1971, 1952-1968 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn University of Southern California Office of the Provost records, Bulk, 1973-2007, 1939-2007 USC Libraries Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Campabadal, Jorge R. person
associatedWith Duke University. University Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Hartweg, Norman E. person
associatedWith National Science Foundation (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith New York Botanical Garden. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith Reynolds, Joseph M. person
associatedWith Spencer, Jack Taif, 1912- person
associatedWith Spurr, Stephen Hopkins. person
associatedWith Spurr, Stephen Hopkins. person
associatedWith Turnbull, Kenneth James, 1927- person
associatedWith Tyler, Alice C. person
associatedWith Tyler, John C., 1887-1973 person
associatedWith University of Connecticut. President's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Connecticut. Vice President for Academic Affairs Office. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Southern California. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Southern California. Office of the Provost. corporateBody
associatedWith Wagner, Warren H., 1920- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Tropics
Tropics
Subject
Rain forests--Costa Rica
Biology--Research--Tropics
Research
Ecology--Study and teaching--Field work
Tropical meteorology
Earth sciences
Ecology--Research--Tropics
Forest management
Ecology--Research
Biology
Forests and forestry
Rain forests
Forest management--Troipcs
Biology--Research
Rain forests--Tropics
Geography
Rain forest ecology
Education
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1962

Active 1974

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6pc6rhx

Ark ID: w6pc6rhx

SNAC ID: 11392218