Víctor J. Acosta-Chaves


Professor 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 Sustainable Development
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

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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. He is member of the Wildlife Commission of the College of Biologists of Costa Rica, the National Commission for Wildlife, and serves as a board member for foundations and associations related to montane forest, herpetofauna, and bird conservation in the country. Currently, he is also associated with the University of Costa Rica Atlantic Branch, where he has taught general biology and biosystematics.

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


  • 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

Research Interests

Víctor has researched and published more than 35 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; 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

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.