Great Rift Valley - Operation Wallacea

Great Rift Valley

    • Opportunity to work with a Nature publishing team of academics on speciation mechanisms
    • Cultural exchange while staying in school in a rural Tanzanian village
    • The only Opwall expedition that is run over 2 countries (Tanzania & Malawi)
    • Chance to visit the Great African Rift Valley – birthplace of humankind – and learn about its ecology
    • Learn to dive in Lake Malawi which has a greater diversity of fish than any other lake on Earth

 

Expedition Options

Expedition 1 – speciation, culture, dive training and East African Wildlife

Start date: 4 July
Expedition length: 2 weeks (1 week Tanzania, 1 week Malawi)

There is limited space available on this project

This expedition is based in a small school in southern Tanzania for the first 5 days where there will be the chance to take part in workshops with the local school and participate in research characterizing the relative abundance of fish species in the nearby crater lakes at different depths. Teams will also complete surveys of the invertebrate and bird fauna in and around the lakes. The team will then cross the border into Malawi where the next week will be spent at a dive lodge in Nkhata Bay on Lake Malawi. If you are not dive trained then you will start with completing a PADI Open Water dive training course. If you are already dive trained you will undertake a lake ecology and aquatic survey techniques course and participate in fish surveys in the most species-rich lake in the world. The last two days will be spent in one of the big game reserves in Malawi seeing some of the iconic East African species and learning about big game management techniques.

Expedition 2 – speciation mechanisms, culture, diving and East African wildlife

Start date: 4 July 
Expedition length: 4 weeks (1 week Tanzania, 3 weeks Malawi)

This expedition is based in a small school in southern Tanzania for the first five days, working with a team of scientists examining how sympatric speciation is apparently occurring in a series of crater lakes. There will be the chance to take part in workshops with the local school and research involves characterising the relative abundance of fish species at different depths using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and other methods. Teams will also be involved in characterising the invertebrate and bird fauna in and around the lakes, as well as collecting limnology data (temperature, dissolved oxygen, etc.). After these first few days you will move to Malawi where your next three weeks will be spent with the Maru team. If you are not already dive trained, your first week will be spent completing your PADI Open Water diver course. Following that you will complete a course on the ecology of Lake Malawi and underwater aquatic surveying techniques. Your final week will be spent conducting underwater population and biodiversity surveys and joining in on the Maru’s water quality and fisheries monitoring programme. If you turn up already dive trained or would prefer to snorkel then you start with the lake ecology and aquatic survey techniques course and then spend a couple of weeks helping the research teams. The last two days for the whole group will be spent in one of the big game reserves in Malawi seeing some of the iconic East African species and learning about big game management techniques.