IIP Placements in Costa Rica
Location: Turrialba, Costa Rica
Bioversity International undertakes, encourages, and supports research and other activities on the use and conservation of agricultural biodiversity, especially genetic resources, to create more productive, resilient, and sustainable harvests. Its aim is to promote the greater well-being of people, particularly poor people in developing countries, by helping them to achieve food security, improve their health and nutrition, boost their incomes, and conserve the natural resources on which they depend. The organization is active in over 100 countries worldwide, with more than 300 staff working from some 20 country offices. It is one of the 15 centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Bioversity’s headquarters are located just outside Rome, Italy, in Maccarese. This year, Bioversity is offering placements in their headquarters office, as well as, in their offices in China, Costa Rica, France/Uganda, Malaysia, Nepal, and Uganda. Bioversity staff includes specialists in agriculture, forestry, information science and technology, socioeconomics, law and policy, finance and administration. Through the IIP internship program, Bioversity offers invaluable on-the-job training under the guidance of established experts in genetic resources, communications, and policy and law practices that encourage the production of public goods. IIP interns will be assigned to research projects and will learn to work as part of a project team and will gain a broad understanding of issues in international agricultural research for development, in particular regarding sustainable conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity for food and agriculture. IIP interns will typically gain experience in carrying out desk studies, literature searching, compilation and analysis of information, database work, and writing reports, papers, and public awareness materials.Two placements have been created for International Internship Program (IIP) interns in Costa Rica. These IIP placements in Costa Rica are located in the beautiful tropical environment of the campus of the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE). CATIE is a place where students and scientists from around the world come together and interact about tropical agriculture, forests and biological diversity. IIP candidates with interests in biology or forestry sciences are encouraged to apply. GIS skills, skills in basic scripting (Python, R, etc.), and analytical skills would be an asset. Proficiency in Spanish is preferred. Here is more detailed information on these two IIP placements:
- Mapping tree genetic diversity hotspots in the Americas: There is an increasing recognition of the necessity to assess and optimize conservation actions of socio-economically important tropical tree species. The conservation status of their genetic diversity is often unknown whereas this resource is essential to maintain viable tree populations that can adapt to climate change. Moreover many populations can offer yet-unknown traits for tree domestication. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecogeographic analysis could contribute significantly to visualize and understand spatial patterns of tree species´ genetic diversity as a key input to optimize their conservation and use. The aim of this IIP internship is to map the geographic patterns of genetic diversity of 8 socio-economically important neotropical tree species and revise their reproductive biology. This will be done by a literature review of existing population genetic studies. The study species are part of the prioritized species by MAPFORGEN (www.mapforgen.org) that were selected because they are important for people´s livelihoods. Moreover the study species should occur in the same ecosystems; the results can then be used to draw conclusions for forest genetic resources conservation at the ecosystem level. Spatial analyses will be used to determine common patterns of historical dispersal routes and identify genetic hotspots that need to be prioritized for conservation. The results will be combined with threat analysis to determine in which hotspots most urgent conservation is required. The information that the student generates will be relevant to updating MAPFORGEN, an atlas for the conservation of forest genetic resources. The IIP intern will make a report that will be used as input for a scientific journal article and a presentation for conservation organizations that are active in the region.
- Strengthening suitability modeling to support farmers in site-specific crop diversification for climate change adaptation: Climate change endangers agriculture production and sustainability of food systems; smallholder families are especially vulnerable because they are directly affected. To adapt their households to climate change, environmental researchers and development economists recommend farmers to diversify their portfolio of crop and tree species. This helps spreading risks to uncertain climates. However, there are no practical tools to help farmer families in making sound diversification strategies. Therefore Bioversity is building user-friendly software to consult for specific geographic locations and those crop and tree species that are suitable for diversification. The targeted users are NGOs, governments and farmers cooperatives to improve the livelihoods of smallholder families. The software will include an ecological modeling tool to recommend suitable species for site-specific climate conditions and future climate uncertainty. This model will be developed in R statistical environment and uses FAO´s Ecocrop database as basis (www.ecocrop.fao.org). The method will be tested in Central America and eventually in other parts of the worlds. To make sound recommendations, the Ecocrop database needs to be updated, in this case, particularly with data of crop responses to climates and soil conditions in Central America. The aim of this IIP internship is to update the Ecocrop model for 8 potentially promising crops for diversification in the region and map with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and crop climate response modeling the suitable areas for these crops under current climate conditions and future climate projections. The final products will be an updated database on climate responses of 8 crops. The IIP intern will write a report that will be used as input for a scientific journal article.