The origins of this book can be traced to my time as an undergraduate
at New College of Florida, when Sandra Gilchrist, Alfred Beulig, and Ma-
ria Vesperi gave me a long leash and guided me as I worked to integrate
knowledge of biology and cultural anthropology on my own terms. I first
traveled to Costa Rica in 1996, when I served as an undergraduate research
assistant for Terry McGlynn at La Selva Biological Station. Staff scientists
at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute—namely William Wcislo,
Allen Herre, Egbert Leigh, and Stanley Rand—first welcomed me to their
facilities as an undergraduate in 1997. When I returned a decade later, as
a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Science and Society
(award number 750722), Smithsonian staff graciously let me explore ques-
tions related to ecological entanglements, cultural theory, and interspe-
cies sociality while in residence at their laboratories.
James Clifford, Donna Haraway, and Anna Tsing, who gave me a set of
critical tools for thinking about nature-culture, contact zones, and mul-
tispecies mingling, allowed me to take leave from my PhD program at
uc Santa Cruz in 2006 to pursue graduate training in field ecology. The
Organization of Tropical Studies graciously offered me a spot in their
fundamentals graduate course, Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach.
Gregory Gilbert helped me reactivate my knowledge of tropical ecology at
uc Santa Cruz and also provided financial support as I took the course.
Erika Deinert, Katja Poveda, and Diego Salazar taught me how to dance
merengue while giving me rigorous training in the methods of field ecol-
ogy. Don Carlos Porras provided critical logistical support, while Craig
Guyer taught me how to speak with and for fringe-toed foam frogs. Peers
in this tropical biology course—especially Quinn Long, Katie Cramer,
Elizabeth Wheat, Haldre Rogers, Laura Marx, Amy Savage, and Kristiina
Hurme—helped me understand emergent ecological thinking.