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Module Reading List 2

Costa Rica Field Trip, 2019/20, Semester 1, 2
Dr Roel Brienen
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Publications with a (*) are deposited as a PDF on the VLE folder.

Tropical ecology introductory textbooks

Whitmore, T. C. (1990). An introduction to tropical rain forests. Clarendon Press.

Kricher, John C. A neotropical companion : an introduction to the animals, plants, and ecosystems of the New World tropics ISBN: 0691044333 (cl : alk. paper). Princeton University Press, 1999.

Nicely written, and very broad introduction to tropical ecology.

Kricher, J. (2011). Tropical ecology ISBN: 9780691115139 (hbk.) : £59.00; 0691115133 (hbk.) : £59.00. Princeton University Press

Richards, P. W. (1952). The tropical rain forest; an ecological study. The University Press; Cambridge.

Holdrige, L.R. (1971): Forest environments in tropical life zones : a pilot study. ISBN: 0080163408. - Pergamon Press.

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Forest and gap dynamics

Oliver, C. D., and B. C. Larson. 1996. Forest stand dynamics ISBN: 0471138339. Update edition. Wiley, New York, New York, USA.

Whitmore, T. C. (1989). Canopy gaps and the two major groups of forest trees. Ecology. ISSN: 0012-965870(3), 536-538.

Pickett, STA, White PS (1985) The Ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics ISBN: 0125545207 (alk. paper). Academic Press, New York.

Vitousek, P. M., & Denslow, J. S. (1986). Nitrogen and phosphorus availability in treefall gaps of a lowland tropical rainforest. Journal of ecology. ISSN: 0022-0477, 1167-1178.

Chazdon, R. L., & Fetcher, N. (1984). Photosynthetic light environments in a lowland tropical rain forest in Costa Rica. Journal of ecology. ISSN: 0022-0477, 553-564.

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Secondary Forest Succession

Brown, S., & Lugo, A. E. (1990). Tropical secondary forests. Journal of tropical ecology. ISSN: 0266-46746(1), 1-32.

Chazdon, R. L., S. G. Letcher, M. van Breugel, M. Martínez-Ramos, F. Bongers, and B. Finegan. 2007. Rates of change in tree communities of secondary Neotropical forests following majordisturbances. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. B. 362: 273–289.

(*) Finegan, Bryan. "Pattern and process in neotropical secondary rain forests: the first 100 years of succession." Trends in ecology & evolution. ISSN: 0169-5347 11.3 (1996): 119-124.

Guariguata, M.R. and Ostertag, R., 2001. Neotropical secondary forest succession: changes in structural and functional characteristics. Forest ecology and management. ISSN: 0378-1127148(1), pp.185-206.

Martin, P. A., Newton, A. C., & Bullock, J. M. (2013). Carbon pools recover more quickly than plant biodiversity in tropical secondary forests. In; Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. B. ISSN: 0264-3839. Vol. 281. No. 1782.

Pickett, S. T. A. 1989. Space-for-time substitution as an alternative to long-term studies. Pages 110–135 in G. E. Likens, editor. Long-term studies in ecology : approaches and alternatives ISBN: 0387967435 (New York); 3540967435 (Berlin). Springer-Verlag, New York, New York, USA.

Poorter et al. 2016. Biomass resilience of Neotropical secondary forests. Nature. ISSN: 0028-0836; 1476-4687 530:211-214.

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Tropical species diversity

(*) Barlow, J., Gardner, T.A., Araujo, I.S., Ávila-Pires, T.C., Bonaldo, A.B., Costa, J.E., Esposito, M.C., Ferreira, L.V., Hawes, J., Hernandez, M.I. and Hoogmoed, M.S., 2007. Quantifying the biodiversity value of tropical primary, secondary, and plantation forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. ISSN: 0027-8424104(47), pp.18555-18560.

Brown JH. 2014. Why are there so many species in the tropics? Journal of biogeography. ISSN: 0305-0270 41:8-22.

Denslow, J. S. (1987). Tropical rainforest gaps and tree species diversity. Annual review of ecology and systematics. ISSN: 0066-416218(1), 431-451

Grubb, P. J. (1977). The maintenance of species‐richness in plant communities: the importance of the regeneration niche. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. ISSN: 1464-7931; 0006-323152(1), 107-145.

Givnish, T. J. (1999). On the causes of gradients in tropical tree diversity. Journal of ecology. ISSN: 0022-047787(2), 193-210.

Hubbell, S. P., Foster, R. B., O'Brien, S. T., Harms, K. E., Condit, R., Wechsler, B., ... & De Lao, S. L. (1999). Light-gap disturbances, recruitment limitation, and tree diversity in a neotropical forest. Science. ISSN: 0036-8075; 1095-9203283(5401), 554-557.

Janzen, D. H. (1970). Herbivores and the number of tree species in tropical forests. American Naturalist. ISSN: 0003-0147104(940), 501-528.

ter Steege et al. 2013. Hyperdominance in the Amazonian tree flora. Science. ISSN: 0036-8075; 1095-9203 342: 1243092. 

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Forest fragmentation

Laurance, W. F., & Bierregaard, R. O. (Eds.). (1997). Tropical forest remnants : ecology, management, and conservation of fragmented communities. University of Chicago Press.

Complete work on various aspects of tropical forest degradation and fragmentation, and conservation. Available in Leeds library.

 (*) Laurance, W. F., Camargo, J. L., Fearnside, P. M., Lovejoy, T. E., Williamson, G. B., Mesquita, R. C., ... & Laurance, S. G. (2017). An Amazonian rainforest and its fragments as a laboratory of global change. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. ISSN: 1464-7931; 0006-3231.

(*) Gascon, C., Lovejoy, T.E., Bierregaard Jr, R.O., Malcolm, J.R., Stouffer, P.C., Vasconcelos, H.L., Laurance, W.F., Zimmerman, B., Tocher, M. and Borges, S., 1999. Matrix habitat and species richness in tropical forest remnants. Biological conservation. ISSN: 0006-320791(2), pp.223-229

(*) Weissenhofer, A., Huber, Chacon Madrigal E. & Lechner (eds) (2012). Creating a forest: trees for biological corridors in the Golfo Dulce region, Costa Rica. Verein zur Forderung der Tropenstation LA Gamba. Vienna, Austria

La Gamba publication on the biological corridor project at the station.

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(*) Don, A., Schumacher, J. and Freibauer, A., 2011. Impact of tropical land‐use change on soil organic carbon stocks–a meta‐analysis. Global change biology. ISSN: 1354-101317(4), pp.1658-1670.

Jordan, C.F., 1985. Nutrient cycling in tropical forest ecosystems : principles and their application in management and conservation. John Wiley & Sons.

(*) Laurance, W.F., Fearnside, P.M., Laurance, S.G., Delamonica, P., Lovejoy, T.E., Rankin-de Merona, J.M., Chambers, J.Q. and Gascon, C., 1999. Relationship between soils and Amazon forest biomass: a landscape-scale study. Forest ecology and management. ISSN: 0378-1127118(1), pp.127-138.

(*) Quesada, C.A., Lloyd, J., Schwarz, M., Patiño, S., Baker, T.R., Czimczik, C., Fyllas, N.M., Martinelli, L., Nardoto, G.B., Schmerler, J. and Santos, A.J., 2010. Variations in chemical and physical properties of Amazon forest soils in relation to their genesis. Biogeosciences. ISSN: 1726-41707(5).

(*) Quesada, C.A., Lloyd, J., Fyllas, N.M., Schwarz, M. and Czimczik, C.I., 2011. Soils of Amazonia with particular reference to the RAINFOR sites. Biogeosciences. ISSN: 1726-41708(6), p.1415.

(*) Vitousek, P.M. and Sanford Jr, R.L., 1986. Nutrient cycling in moist tropical forest. Annual review of ecology and systematics. ISSN: 0066-416217(1), pp.137-167.

(*) Vitousek, P.M., 1984. Litterfall, nutrient cycling, and nutrient limitation in tropical forests. Ecology. ISSN: 0012-965865(1), pp.285-298.

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Land use  

Barlow et al. 2016. Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation. Nature. ISSN: 0028-0836; 1476-4687 535:144-147.

Impacts of disturbances on land use

 (*) Don, A., Schumacher, J. and Freibauer, A., 2011. Impact of tropical land‐use change on soil organic carbon stocks–a meta‐analysis. Global change biology. ISSN: 1354-101317(4), pp.1658-1670.

On soil organic carbon and land use change

 (*) Fitzherbert, E.B., Struebig, M.J., Morel, A., Danielsen, F., Brühl, C.A., Donald, P.F. and Phalan, B., 2008. How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity? Trends in ecology & evolution. ISSN: 0169-534723(10), pp.538-545.

Good introduction to the effects of palm oil on ecosystem biodiversity

(*) Höbinger T., S. Schindler, B. Seaman, T. Wrbka & A. Weissenhofer. 2011. Impact of oil palm plantations on the structure of the agroforestry mosaic of La Gamba, southern Costa Rica: potential implications for biodiversity. Agroforestry systems. ISSN: 0167-4366: (2012) 85:367–381.

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Castello L & Macedo MN. 2016. Large-scale degradation of Amazonian freshwater ecosystems. Global change biology. ISSN: 1354-1013 22:990-1007.

Taniwaki et al. 2017. Climate change and multiple stressors in small tropical streams. Hydrobiologia. ISSN: 0018-8158 793:41-53.

Wohl et al. 2012. The hydrology of the humid tropics. Nature climate change ISSN: 1758-678x 2:655-662. 

Zhang et al. 2017. A global review on hydrological responses to forest change across multiple spatial scales: importance of scale, climate, forest type and hydrological regime. Journal of Hydrology. ISSN: 0022-1694 546:44-59.

Moulton, T. P. (2010). Tropical stream ecology. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. ISSN: 0887-359329(2), 773-774.

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Climate- forest interactions

Spracklen et al. 2012. Observations of increased tropical rainfall preceded by air passage over forests. Nature. ISSN: 0028-0836; 1476-4687 489:282-285.

Brienen, R.J.W., Lebrija-Trejos E., Martínez-Ramos M.M. and Zuidema P.A. (2010) Climate growth analysis for a Mexican dry forest tree shows strong impact of sea surface temperatures and predict future growth declines. Global change biology. ISSN: 1354-1013, 16, 2001- 2012.

Use of tree rings to assess climate sensitivity of trees

Clark, D. B., Clark, D. A., & Oberbauer, S. F. (2010). Annual wood production in a tropical rain forest in NE Costa Rica linked to climatic variation but not to increasing CO2. Global change biology. ISSN: 1354-101316(2), 747-759.

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Forest measurement techniques

The RAINFOR manuals are very useful. These contain practical manuals on how to measure above ground biomass, tree height, dead woody debris, lianas, wood density, soils, etc. See :

Phillips, O., Baker, T., Brienen, R. & Feldpausch, T. RAINFOR field manual for plot establishment and remeasurement.

Most of what you need to know on above ground biomass measurements you find here. Books below are useful if you want to know more in depth. 

Marthews TR, et al. and colleagues from the RAINFOR and GEM networks (2012). Measuring Tropical Forest Carbon Allocation and Cycling: A RAINFOR-GEM Field Manual for Intensive Census Plots (v2.2). Manual, Global Ecosystems Monitoring network, -

More on plant physiological measurements such as respiration, photosynthesis,

Hoover, C. M. (Ed.). (2008). Field measurements for forest carbon monitoring : a landscape-scale approach ISBN: 9781402085055 (cased) : No price; 9781402085062 (e-ISBN) : No price. Springer Science & Business Media.

Is more complete than other texts, including more aspects such as below ground processes, soils, dead wood, and plant physiological measurements 

Alder, Denis, and Timothy J. Synnott. Permanent sample plot techniques for mixed tropical forest ISBN: 085074122X; 085074122x. Oxford Forestry Institute, University of Oxford, 1992.

Condit, R. (1998). Tropical forest census plots : methods and results from Barro Colorado Island, Panama and a comparison with other plots. Springer Science & Business Media.

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Costa Rica General Natural history & biogeography

Janzen, Daniel H. Costa Rican natural history ISBN: 0226393321. (1983).

Kappelle, M. ed. (2016) Costa Rican ecosystems ISBN: 9780226121642 (e-book). The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, Ill.

Jackson, J. B., Budd, A. F., & Coates, A. G. (Eds.). (1996). Evolution & environment in tropical America ISBN: 0226389448 (pbk. : alk. paper ; cloth : alk. paper); 0226389421. University of Chicago Press.

Coates, A. G., & Obando, J. A. (1996). The geologic evolution of the Central American Isthmus. Evolution & environment in tropical America ISBN: 0226389448 (pbk. : alk. paper ; cloth : alk. paper); 0226389421, 21-56.

Readable online at:

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Costa Rica field guides

Complete fieldguide to flowering plants of Golfo Dulce is available here:

Fieldguides at La Gamba:

Here you will find an overview of the various field guides available on Amphibians and Reptiles, Bird, Dragonflies, Bees, and Butterflies. Please indicate if you need any of these books.

Henderson, Carrol L. Field guide to the wildlife of Costa Rica ISBN: 029273459X (pbk.) : £28.50; 0292731280 : £67.50. Vol. 51. University of Texas Press, 2002.

Lonely planet Costa Rica. ISBN: 9781786571120 (pbk.) : £16.99; 9781786576798 (ePub ebook) : £16.99 Lonely Planet. 2016

The Rough Guide to Costa Rica. ISBN: 9780241280652 (pbk.) : £16.99; 9780241329610 (ePub ebook) : £16.99; 9780241329603 (PDF ebook) : £16.99. 2017

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Costa Rica ISBN: 9780241209486 2016

Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish phrasebook & dictionary. ISBN: 9781786574176 (pbk.) : £4.99 (Lonely Planet Phrasebooks) 2017

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La Gamba and its surroundings

Use the links below to see a list of scientific peer reviewed articles, and

(*) Publication List La Gamba.

Deposited on the VLE. Contains also a useful titles of master dissertations which we may request if needed

link to articles of La Gamba

The biological corridor project that may be of interest

Some articles from network Tropical Ecosystem Research: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions (BDEF) from region.

(*) Weissenhofer, A., Huber, W., Mayer, V., Pamperl, S.,Weber, A. & Aubrecht, G. (eds.) (2008): Natural and cultural history of the Golfo Dulce Region, Costa Rica. - Stapfia 88.

Important book many aspects of abiotic and biotic aspects of Golfo Dulce Region. Not available in library but all chapters of this book are deposited as PDF on the VLE. Chapters of most interest are listed below

(*) WEISSENHOFER A., HUBER W. & KLINGLER M. Geography of the Golfo Dulce region (survey)

(*) MALZER O. & FIEBIG M. Outline of the geology of the Golfo Dulce Region (Costa Rica) and its surroundings in Central America (survey)

(*) WEISSENHOFER A. & HUBER W. The climate of the Esquinas rainforest (survey)

(*) WEISSENHOFER A., HUBER W., KOUKAL T., IMMITZER M., SCHEMBERA E., SONTAG S., ZAMORA N. & WEBER A. Ecosystem diversity in the Piedras Blancas National Park and adjacent areas (Costa Rica), with the first vegetation map of the area

(*) HIETZ P. Plant life forms in the Golfo Dulce region and other neotropical rainforests (survey)

(*) WANEK W., DRAGE S., HINKO N., HOFHANSL F., PÖLZ E.-M., RATZER A. & RICHTER A. Primary production and nutrient cycling in lowland rainforests of the Golfo Dulce region

(*) TSCHELAUT J., PICHLER C., WEISSENHOFER A. & SCHIEMER F. The river network of the Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica (survey)

Weber, A., Huber, W., Weissenhofer, A., Zamora, N.& Zimmermann, G. (2001): An introductory field guide to the flowering plants of the Golfo Dulce rainforests - Corcovado National Park and Piedras Blancas National Park (“Regenwald der Österreicher”).- Stapfia 78.

Full PDF available here:

(*) Hofhansl F, Kobler J, Ofner J, Drage S, Pölz EM, Wanek W (2014) Sensitivity of tropical forest aboveground productivity to climate anomalies  Global biogeochemical cycles. ISSN: 0886-6236 DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004934

Publication on forest carbon cycle and climate sensitivity of La Gamba forests

Taylor, P., Asner, G., Dahlin, K., Anderson, C., Knapp, D., Martin, R., Mascaro, J., Chazdon, R., Cole, R., Wanek, W., Hofhansl, F., Malavassi, E., Vilchez-Alvarado, B. & A. Townsend (2015). Landscape-Scale Controls on Aboveground Forest Carbon Stocks on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. PLoS ONE ISSN: 1932-6203, 10, e0126748.

Comparison of remote sensing of forest stocks in the wider region.

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Designing your research

Jones, A. et al. 2000. Practical skills in environmental science ISBN: 058232873X (pbk). London: Prentice Hall. 

Easy-to-read guidance for fieldwork, sampling, laboratory studies, project work and computing and communication skills

Dytham, C. (2011). Choosing and using statistics: a biologist's guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Fowler, J., Cohen, L. and Jarvis, P., 2013. Practical statistics for field biology. John Wiley & Sons

This list was last updated on 26/09/2017