Costa Rica: Faculty
Dr. Jeff Klemens is an independent biologist based out of Philadelphia. He has worked in the ACG since 1998, when he began his graduate studies. His Ph.D. was completed in 2003 at the University of Pennsylvania where he worked under the supervision of Dan Janzen and Brenda Casper. He was awarded an NSF graduate fellowship and worked for two years at the University of Minnesota before returning to Philadelphia. His scientific work has focused on regeneration processes in tropical dry forest. He is also the founder of InvestigadoresACG, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting research and teaching in the ACG, and to making the results of scientific research available to biodiversity managers. He has developed and taught field course in the ACG for the last 12 years and has introduced approximately 250 students from Illinois Wesleyan University, Wilkes University, Philadelphia University, and Stevenson High School to the biodiversity and conservation challenges on display in the ACG.
Dr. Randol Villalobos Vega is a Research Fellow in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Technology in Sydney Australia, in the Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change cluster. He is currently studying the ecophysiology of trees in ground water dependent ecosystems and their responses to climate change. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Villalobos conducted research (dissertation- University of Miami) in Brazil and Florida on water table and nutrient dynamics in Neotropical savannas and wetland ecosystems. Randol is from Costa Rica and has always been an avid explorer and outdoorsman. He has extensive experience with the local flora and fauna as a result of these adventures which were further expanded upon as a student at the University of Costa Rica where he completed an honors thesis on the ecophysiology of the dry forest. He has extensive knowledge in tropical ecology and evolution, biodiversity, plant physiology, hydrology, environmental science, conservation, and wilderness exploration and is excited to facilitate a deeper understanding between natural habitats and human communities in his home country and beyond.
Dr. Sybil Gotsch is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Sybil is a tropical plant ecophysiologist who has worked extensively in Latin America. Her research has taken her from the Tropical Dry forests of Guanacaste Costa Rica, to the Savannas of Brazil, and more recently to the Tropical Montane Cloud Forests (TMCF) of Mexico. In 2012, Sybil started a new research program in Monteverde Costa Rica where she and her students are studying the vulnerability of the TMCF canopy community to changes in rainfall and cloud cover. Dr. Gotsch taught with the Brown Environmental Leadership Lab in both 2011 (Rhode sland) and in 2012 (Costa Rica). She finds mentoring young people incredibly rewarding, and is especially interested in using field-based learning activities in her teaching.
Marian Ahn Thorpe is a doctoral student in cultural anthropology at Rutgers University, where she studies indigenous environmental movements and climate change policy. Her work has taken her to Panama to research the effects of mining and hydroelectric dams on indigenous communities, and more recently to Argentina and Paraguay, where she taught leadership and strategic planning workshops for the Disciples of Christ Church. Marian holds a masters degree in environmental science from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and bachelors degrees in environmental studies and ethnic studies from Brown University. This will be her sixth summer working for the Leadership Institute.