Undergrad Research Assistants
You can also find another film produced by Joshua See from Royal Ontario museum here.
This is the most remote and toughest of all the expeditions but probably the one with the best sightings of forest based animals. There are limited spaces on the Guyana expeditions so these have been packaged into a 4 week and 2 week expedition.
Want to get involved or know more? Submit an Expression of Interest!
20 June – 17 July
Expedition length: 4 weeks
This expedition has a fixed 4-week itinerary that contains an introductory 3 day course on Jungle Training and Guiana Shield Forest Ecology (GU001). After these first 3 days the teams will move to one of the forest camps where they will be based for the next 6 days. During the course of the expedition, the teams will complete 6 days of biodiversity surveys at camps in each of following regions of the forest: wilderness or sustainable use area that is not being exploited, reduced impact logging area and forest areas on the savannah habitat (GU002). During the four weeks the group will have the opportunity to complete a river based mobile survey through the heart of the forests and living in temporary camps for 3 days (GU003). Working on this expedition will give volunteers the opportunity to experience the full range of surveys and contribute to an annual biodiversity monitoring programme of key forest taxa, as well as see a wide range of Guiana Shield wildlife.
18 – 31 July
Expedition length: 2 weeks
This expedition is designed for those without the time or funds available to complete the longer expedition, and will give you a taste of all of the research activities. You will start with 3 days based at the Iwokrama research centre completing the Guiana Shield forest ecology course (GU001).
You then move to a field camp for a week and will be working with the biodiversity research teams GU002. For the final 3 days you will be completing the boat based surveys on the Burro Burro river GU003.
Details of Projects and Options
GU001 Jungle Training and Guiana Shield Forest Ecology course
The course is designed to prepare students for living and working in the forest and how to be of practical use in the surveys. Skills in learning how to live safely and healthily in the tropical forest in hammock based camps will be gained. There are also a series of lectures on the ecology of the forests in which you will be working,
the survey techniques used and some of the main species you will encounter.
GU002 Iwokrama Forest Biodiversity Survey
These surveys are being completed at a series of camps across the Iwokrama and Surama forests and you will be able to rotate between the different projects available or to specialise in one of more of them.
- Bird surveys: Mist nets will be set to collect data on the understorey birds. All birds captured are measured and data taken on moult and breeding condition to determine breeding cycles. In addition point count surveys are completed at a series of sites and analysis completed on soundscape recordings from a series of digital sound recorders.
- Herpetofauna surveys: Standard search scan transects are completed for herpetofauna and in the evenings spotlighting and soundscape analysis used to
determine the amphibian communities.
- Dung beetle surveys: Baited pit fall traps are used to determine dung beetle communities.
- Large mammal surveys: Transects will be walked, distance sampling together with patch occupancy analysis is used to estimate large mammal
community structure. Camera traps will also be set along the same transects and data analysed for additional species not recorded on transects and from catch effort analysis to determine whether populations are increasing or declining. Species sampled can include big cats (such as jaguar and puma) and herbivores such as tapirs, deer and agouti).
- Bat surveys: Mist net surveys are run for standard periods of time in the evening and used to quantify the bat communities. In addition soundscape recordings are completed to assess the bat species flying too high for the mist nets.
- Forest structure and dynamics surveys: Data on forest structure and carbon levels are also gathered from a series of 20m x 20m plots at each of the sites.
GU003 Burro Burro river surveys
This 3 day survey is based on small boats with the entire team travelling around the Burro Burro river and staying at river camps. The purpose of this survey is to gather standardised data on the giant river otters, caiman, anaconda, water birds and other riverine indicator species.