Carlos de la Rosa is the new Director of La Selva Biological Station
OTS is pleased to announce that Dr. Carlos de la Rosa has agreed to join the OTS team as Director of the La Selva Biological Station, based in Sarapiquí, Costa Rica.
Dr. de la Rosa holds a Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology from the University of Pittsburgh, where he carried out research on resource partitioning among a complex assemblage of freshwater insects. Since then, Dr. de la Rosa’s research has bridged the fields of ecology and taxonomy of aquatic insects, natural resource conservation and management and outreach to citizens about science and conservation.
Carlos career has taken him to a wide variety of environments and projects, from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, to Costa Rica (where he spent 10 years doing research on freshwater ecosystems and environmental management), as well as Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Belize and then Florida and California. He is Adjunct Professor at several US and Costa Rican universities, providing yet additional links and collaborations with academic institutions, researchers and students.
Carlos undertook his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering and biology at the Simón Bolívar University, in Venezuela, where he was born. A US citizen now, he continued his graduate studies in Pittsburgh and landed a job as a scientist with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, which brought him to Costa Rica. Here, he was instrumental in freshwater research and in the development of the Maritza Biological Field Station in the Guanacaste Conservation Area. Later he became the Director of USAID’s Environmental Management Office in Upala, northern Costa Rica. From there, he consulted, among others, with the Organization of American States’ Bi-National (Nicaragua-Costa Rica) San Juan River Basin Project, leading teams of Nicaraguan, Costa Rican and international biologists in a broad evaluation of this important watershed.
In Florida, Carlos served as Program Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve, a landscape-scale wetland and upland restoration project; Education Coordinator for the Environmental Lands Division of Pinellas County, where he led the design and construction of two major Environmental Education Centers; 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. Finally, in California, Carlos and his team have blended wildland conservation, ecosystem restoration, management of native and non-native species and the cultural context in which they exist, using Catalina Island as a living, working laboratory to develop strategies and actions to address major conservation issues. The lessons learned through this work are applicable to a broad spectrum of places and situations, including the California Islands, Mediterranean climate ecosystems, gateway communities and preserved areas around the world, including his beloved American tropics.
He has written several books and over 50 articles, papers and field guides in various aspects of science and conservation, as well as given more than a hundred presentations in national and international conferences and meetings.
His links to Costa Rica are deep, professionally and personally. “My children grew up in the forested slopes of Volcán Orosí, in Guanacaste, as well as in Monteverde, where they learned to love and appreciate nature, science and reading (they never watch TV, to this day),” he says. “To us, Costa Rica is more than a wonderful place to live and work. It is the home we’re returning to.”
As the new Director of the La Selva Station, Carlos will provide leadership and direction to an important suite of projects and initiatives in research, education, management and outreach. Together with his zoologist and wildlife artist wife, Claudia, they will bring a refreshing collection of ideas, enthusiasm and dedication to the amazing history and significance of La Selva’s long-term and wide-ranging programs.