La Selva Biological Station and Tirimbina Rainforest Center, Costa Rica — Caterpillars have developed an impressive repertoire of defenses to protect themselves from predators and parasites. Some eat plant toxins to keep parasites off, others “bungee-jump” out of harm's way. Understanding why one caterpillar is a diner and the other is dinner is an important part of learning how to conserve forests and other habitats. Working in one of the world's richest tropical rainforests, you can help sort out the tangle of offense and defense in Costa Rica.
Meet the Scientists
Dr. Lee Dyer
University of Nevada, Reno
Dr. Lee Dyer is an ecologist who has worked with a variety of organisms in the tropics and in temperate areas for approximately two decades. He received a B.S. in biochemistry and English from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Colorado, Boulder where his thesis work examined interactions between plants, herbivores, and their natural enemies. Lee was a professor for five years at Mesa State College in Colorado where he established the Western Colorado Center for Tropical Research. He is now a professor in the Biology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. Lee spends his free time hanging out with his son, rock climbing, listening to music, and reading books. He is in charge of all aspects of the project, and his specialties relevant to the project are statistical modeling, community ecology, caterpillar natural history, and basic natural products chemistry.