As Director of the largest, most productive research station in the tropics, Carlos lives the dream of a field biologist, surrounded by researchers, educators and naturalists that produce an enormous amount of data on how tropical ecosystems work. Having lived in field stations for most of his professional life has provided an in-depth view and philosophy of the role of nature and biology in every person’s life. A published author and scientist, he uses his photography and writing skills to build bridges between the scientist community and the rest of society. He has written several books and over 50 articles, papers and field guides in various aspects of science and conservation, as well as over a hundred presentations in national and international conferences and meetings. He specialized in aquatic insect ecology and taxonomy, as well as in river and forest conservation and education.
Bioliteracy and Sustainability: Can’t have one without the other
Can society be sustainable if its citizens don’t understand where their resources come from? Understanding through real experiences the value of biodiversity in our lives would allow the development of an environmental ethics over time, which leads to assuming personal responsibility for its use and conservation. Achieving bioliteracy takes time, but it is an essential investment in a society that seeks to live in harmony with the planet.
Carlos de la Rosa is the current Director of the La Selva Biological Station for the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica.
Previously he served as Chief Conservation and Science Officer and Chief Conservation and Education Officer for the Catalina Island Conservancy, in Los Angeles County, California. He has been Program Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve in Florida, Education Coordinator for the Environmental Lands Division of Pinellas County, Florida and Director of the Riverwoods Field Laboratory for the South Florida Water Management District, where he worked as a researcher in the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. He has been a scientist for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, biodiversity advisor to the Organization of American States, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and organizations in Central and South America as well as in Florida. He is an Aquatic Ecologist by training and a Conservation Biologist by experience. He has worked extensively in environmental education programs, sustainability issues, and conservation of wildlands.
In his current position, Dr. de la Rosa and his team run one of the most successful research and education field stations in the world. Each year between 250 and 340 researchers from over 100 institutions visit La Selva, publishing over 200 scientific papers a year. In addition to scientific studies and courses, the La Selva Biological Station and its parent organization, the Organization for Tropical Studies, host a number of visitors and users including decision makers, students and tourists. They manage a 1,600-hectare preserve that connects to large conservation areas in Costa Rica. The lessons learned through this work are applicable to a broad spectrum of places and situations, including tropical areas around the world, the effects of climate change in the world’s ecosystems, gateway communities and preserved areas in developing countries, and more.
He has written several books and over 50 articles, papers and field guides in various aspects of science and conservation, as well as over a hundred presentations in national and international conferences and meetings. He specialized in aquatic insect ecology and taxonomy, as well as in forest conservation and education. His most recent books are entitled Wild Catalina Island: Natural Secrets and Ecological Triumphs (The History Press) with co-author Frank Hein; A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America: Natural History, Ecology and Conservation (University of Texas Press) written and illustrated with his wife, Claudia Nocke; andMysteries of the Brooker Creek Preserve (Pinellas County Publications, Florida), a multi-collaborator effort showcasing his writing and nature and insect photography. Recently he also co-wrote the chapter Biodiversity and Actions for Change: Putting the pieces together to solve the biodiversity puzzle for the United Nation’sYouth Guide to Biodiversity.
He has been at La Selva since March 2012.