Víctor José Acosta Chaves, M.S.


Lecturer in Tropical Ecology and Sustainability


Costa Rica




M.Sc in Biology
Universidad de Costa Rica (San José, Costa Rica)

B.Sc. in Tropical Biology
Universidad Nacional (Heredia, Costa Rica)


SFS 3770 Tropical Ecology and Ecosystem Resillience

SFS 4910 Directed Research

SFS 3141 Environmental Justice, Coffee, and Chocolate

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Faculty Profile

Víctor J. Acosta-Chaves is a biologist, naturalist, and herpetologist born and raised in the town of Heredia, Costa Rica. He studied tropical biology at the National University of Costa Rica, where he also earned his master’s degree in biology, focused on the ecology of cloud forest amphibians and reptiles. He has more than 10 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in tropical ecology, sustainable development, the natural history of Costa Rica, tropical birds, as well as the amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica. He has taught on these subjects for the University of Costa Rica, at other public and private universities and study abroad programs in the country, and as a master’s thesis advisor.

Victor has worked as a consultant biologist for assessments of the environmental impacts of clean energy, human structures, and eco-touristic projects since 2009. He is often advising national and international organizations as an expert on the amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica. Currently, he is also associated with the University of Costa Rica Atlantic Branch, where he has taught general biology, biosystematics and touristic eco-development.

At SFS, he is interested in involving students in research related to the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems of Costa Rica.

Academics & Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Zoology (tropical herpetology and birds)
  • Environmental impact of human structures and clean energy
  • Amphibian and reptile conservation
  • Tropical ecology and natural history

Professional Affiliations

  • College of Biologists of Costa Rica (Representative in the National Wildlife Commission)
  • Board member of the Union of Ornithologists of Costa Rica
  • Board member of the Herpetology Association of Costa Rica
  • Board member of the Montane Forest Conservation Foundation
  • University of Costa Rica - Adjunct professor

Research Interests

Víctor has researched and published around 40 academic papers and natural history notes on topics related to vertebrate ecology and conservation. His current research is related to amphibian, reptile, and bird ecology and conservation; urban ecology; habitat assessment; human-wildlife interaction; ecotourism; ecosystem resilience and environmental impact.

Research Projects


  • Habitat assessment of the critical endangered Holdridge’s Toad (Incilius holdridgei). Data collection 2013-2015. Currently analyzing data and preparing manuscripts.
  • Habitat assessment and distribution of the endemic Blue-sided Leaf Frog (Agalychnis annae) Data collection 2021-2022. Project in development using citizen science outputs.
  • Amphibian and reptile monitoring from the Western Central Valley of Costa Rica. Data collection since 2010. Several papers released from Alberto Brenes Biological Reserve and Silencio de Los Ángeles cloud forest. Current research in Peñas Blancas (Texas A&M Soltis Center) and Bajos La Paz cloud forest (further Directed Research courses).

Featured Publications

Evan H. Campbell Grant, Staci M. Amburgey, Brian Gratwicke, Victor Acosta Chaves, Anat M. Belasen, David Bickford, Carsten A. Brühl, Natalie E. Calatayud, Nick Clemann, Simon Clulow, Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailovic, Jeff Dawson, David A. De Angelis, C. Kenneth Dodd Jr, Annette Evans, Gentile Francesco Ficetola, Mattia Falaschi, Sergio González-Mollinedo, David M. Green, Roseanna Gamlen-Greene, Richard A. Griffiths, Brian J. Halstead, Craig Hassapakis, Geoffrey Heard, Catharina Karlsson, Tom Kirschey, Blake Klocke, Tiffany A. Kosch, Sophia Kusterko Novaes, Luke Linhoff, John C. Maerz, Brittany A. Mosher, Katherine O'Donnell, Leticia M. Ochoa-Ochoa, Deanna H. Olson, Kristiina Ovaska, J. Dale Roberts, Aimee J. Silla, Tariq Stark, Jeanne Tarrant, R. Upton, Judit Vörös, Erin Muths. (2023) Conservation Science and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.12988
Zumbado-Ulate, H., Searle, C. L., Chaves, G., Acosta-Chaves, V., Shepack, A., Salazar, S., & García-Rodríguez, A. (2021). Assessing Suitable Habitats for Treefrog Species after Previous Declines in Costa Rica. Diversity, 13(11), 577.2.
Villalobos-Chaves D, Jiménez J.E., Acosta-Chaves, V. 2020. Assembling rodent's feeding links: Observation of Sumichrast's Vesper Rat, Nyctomys sumichrasti (Rodentia: Cricetidae), feeding on fruits of Tabernaemontana glabra (Apocynaceae). Elsevier Food Webs, 24 e00156
Acosta-Chaves, V. J. 2019. Book Review: Vallely y Dyer. 2018. Birds of Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Zeledonia 23 (2):76-81.
Acosta-Chaves VJ, Ramírez-Calvo D. 2020. La avifauna del Recinto Universitario de Paraíso, Cartago, Costa Rica. Pensamiento Actual, 20(34): 153-173.
Morera-Chacón, B. H., & Acosta-Chaves, V. J. 2019. Anfibios del bosque nuboso de El Silencio de Los Ángeles, San Ramón de Alajuela, Costa Rica. Pensamiento Actual, 19(33), 190-204.
Madrigal, J., Parallada, M., Alvarado, G.& Acosta-Chaves, V.J. 2019. Distribution and invasion progress of Eleutherodactylus coqui (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae) introduced in Costa Rica. Phyllomedusa, 18 (1): 101-107.
Acosta-Chaves, V.J., Madrigal, V., Morera-Chacón, B.H., García-Rodríguez, A., Chaves, G., & F. Bolaños. 2019. Shifts in the diversity of an amphibian community from a premontane forest of San Ramón, Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical, 67(2): 259-273.
Acosta-Chaves, V. J., Sosa-Bartuano, Á., Morera-Chacón, B. H., & Jiménez-Castro, J. E. 2018. Records of preys hunted by the Zeledon's Mouse Opossum Marmosa zeledoni Goldman, 1911 (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) in Costa Rica. Elsevier’s Food Webs, 16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fooweb.2018.e00094
Acosta-Chaves, V.J. & Villalobos-Chaves, D. 2018. Lo que el viento se llevó: ¿conocemos el impacto que producir energía eólica causa sobre los vertebrados voladores de Costa Rica? Revista de Ciencias Ambientales 52(1): 239-246.
Acosta-Chaves, V. 2017. Book Review: Leenders, T. The Amphibians of Costa Rica: a field guide. Ítaca, New York, USA. Revista de Biología Tropical, 65(2): 843-846.
Acosta-Chaves, V., Bolaños, F., Spínola, R.M. & Chaves, G. 2016. Density, biomass, and phenology of Craugastor underwoodi (Boulenger, 1896) from mid-elevation forests in the Valle de Orosi, Costa Rica. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3: 901–908.
Barquero, J.P; Acosta-Chaves, V.J; et al. 2016. Evidencia fotográfica de especies desconocidas de onicóforos (Onychophora: Peripatidae) de Costa Rica. Cuadernos de Investigación UNED 8(2): 139-147.
Sandoval, L., Acosta-Chaves, V.J; et al. 2016. Unusual records of waterbirds in Costa Rica: possible connection to El Niño 2015-16. Marine Ornithology 44(2) 167-169
Acosta-Chaves, V.J & D. Jiménez. 2016. Feeding behavior of the Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus) upon neotropical ranids in Costa Rica. Florida Field Naturalist 44 (2): 49-52.
Acosta-Chaves, V., Chaves, G., Abarca, J., García-Rodríguez, A & F. Bolaños. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Río Macho Biological Station, Provincia de Cartago, Costa Rica. Checklist. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15560/11.6.1784
Camacho-Varela, P & V. Acosta-Chaves. 2015. Nesting and social behavior of White-tailed Kites in urban areas of Costa Rica. Spizaetus 19: 35-42.
Obando–Calderón, G., Acosta–Chaves, V., Camacho, P., Elizondo, P., Montoya, M., Oviedo, S & Y. Sáenz. 2014. Aves en problemas: las causas, cuándo y cómo ayudarlas. Zeledonia, 18 (1): 28 –53.
Acosta–Chaves, V., Granados, F & D. Araya. 2012. Predation of Long–tailed Silky Flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus) by Ornate Hawk–Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus) in a cloud forest of Costa Rica. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 20(4): 451– 452.
Barrantes-Madrigal, J., Parallada, M. S., Alvarado, G., & Acosta-Chaves, V. J. (2022). Acta Herpetologica, 17(2), 177-186. https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/13209