Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 37

UNIVERSITY BROCHURE 2017

www.opwall.com

Operation Wallacea (Opwall) is an organisation that runs a series


of biological and conservation management research expeditions
in remote locations across the world. Designed with specific
wildlife conservation aims in mind from identifying areas needing
protection, through to implementing and assessing conservation
management programmes.
What is different about Operation Wallacea is that large teams of
ecologists, scientists, academics and postgraduate researchers
who are specialists in various aspects of biodiversity or social and
economic studies are concentrated at the target study sites. This
gives volunteers the opportunity to work on a range of projects.

Most of our students are not able to pay for the expedition fully.
We do recommend a mixture of looking to personal finance and
savings, working in your holiday time and fundraising effort.
With planning and assistance from Opwalls fundraising team
you should be able to raise a large portion of funds needed to
join. Please contact our office to find out details of a fundraising
meeting at your university or how to catch up if you have missed
one. We are able to give you full support and advice for many
fundraising events, activities and projects including:

Academics

2 million being levered from funding agencies to set up best


practice management examples at the study sites. In terms
of research outputs, Opwall teams have published over 260
papers, discovered over 30 species new to science, 8 of which
are vertebrates and re-discovered 4 extinct species. These
large survey teams of scientists and volunteers are funded
independently of normal academic sources. This enables large
temporal and spatial biodiversity and socio-economic datasets
to be produced and provide information to help with organising
effective conservation management programmes.
In 2017, the expeditions are operating in 15 countries and 10 are
available for university students to join.

The surveys produce a large number of publications in peerreviewed journals each year and have resulted in over US$

Fundraising support

What is Operation Wallacea

What is Operation Wallacea?

Who can become part of the programme?

Undergraduates currently at university

Undergraduates completing a dissertation

Postgraduates Masters and PhD

Assistance with accessing hundreds of charities and applying


for grant funding
How to run sponsored activities
Details of tried and tested fundraising events and how to make
the most from them
Raffle; each year we also host a raffle enabling you to buy
tickets to sell at a profit 1st prize is a brand new car

Medics doctors, nurses & paramedics


Molly Boyer from Sheffield University went
on a game show (Who Dares Wins) and won
5000 for her trip to Mexico

Schools specialist 2 week expeditions

www.opwall.com
+ Fee paying
students to
assist with
data collection

Contents
How to become part of the programme:
Undergraduates currently at university
4
Undergraduates wanting to complete a dissertation
5
Postgraduates - Masters
4
Academics / PhD
6-7
Medics - Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics; please email info@opwall.com for further details
Medical elective & Pre-Med places
4 & 20
Country specific information
Croatia
Research assistant expeditions
Cuba
Research assistant expeditions
Guyana
Research assistant expeditions
Honduras
Research assistant expeditions
Dissertation topics forest
Dissertation topics marine
Indonesia
Research assistant expeditions
Dissertation topics forest
Dissertation topics marine

8-11
10-11
12-15
14-15
16-19
18-19
20-29
22-23
24-26
27-29
30-37
32-33
34
35-37

Madagascar

Research assistant expeditions


Dissertation topics
Mexico
Research assistant expeditions
Dissertation topics forest
Dissertation topics marine
Peru
Research assistant expeditions
Dissertation topics
South Africa
Research assistant expeditions
Dissertation topics
Transylvania
Research assistant expeditions
Dissertation topics

38-43
40-41
42-43
44-51
46-47
48-49
50-51
52-57
54-55
56-57
58-63
60-61
62-63
64-67
65
66-67

Dissertation summary table


Every available topic linked with broad subject area

68-69

Dates, fees and how to book 70-71

Scientists to
conduct
biodiversity
assessment

Global research and conservation


management strategy
The vast majority of science programmes that deliver key
research outcomes are characterised by short-term funding
with restricted aims and biogeographical ranges. Longterm projects covering large biogeographical scales that
incorporate more than one ecosystem are rare. The Operation
Wallacea programme provides the opportunity to consider
science and conservation of key ecosystems from a global
perspective. Opwall is able to draw upon researchers from a
wide range of different disciplines and academic institutions to
address major issues related to the sustainable management
and conservation of some of the worlds most diverse but
threatened environments.

= Justification
for funding

= Successful
conservation with a
sustainable model

Ellen Miller from Cambridge University


received three grants totalling 2650 - Solihull
and Shirley Lions, previous schools travel
grant, university college grant which helped
fund her trip to Honduras

= Credible
research

= Income
education, training
for communities
and protection for
irreplaceable habitats

+ Successful
application to
funding body

Joining to Complete a Dissertation / Final Year Project


You can join an expedition to collect data for your own
project, using this towards your degree or in some cases
masters theses or even to allow you the opportunity to work
in a particular field or study area.
Choose from one of the following**:

Operation Wallacea provide an extensive range of reading


materials to help you plan and prepare for your field experience.
The information below should give you a clear idea of what is
expected of you before, during and after your expedition:

8 marine weeks

8 terrestrial weeks

6 bush weeks

How to choose your project


1

Decide your ideal topics.


Select at least 2-3

2 View videos on the website


3

Joining for Research Experience

Expedition medicine experiential course


* 3 weeks terrestrial projects
* 1 weeks marine projects

marine weeks

terrestrial weeks

bush weeks

To help you decide which expedition is right for you:

Look through the brochure

Visit the Opwall website

Watch the videos

Speak to Opwall staff

Check for spaces

Pay a 10% deposit

Submit a booking form

Start fundraising

6 Consult your university tutor

Before Expedition During Expedition After Expedition

The course is delivered as a series of lectures and practical


exercises including:
n pre-expedition planning
n medical emergencies and trauma in the field
n tropical infections
n snake bite and envenomation procedures

Choose from a combination or any of the following*:

5 Start fundraising

Expedition Medicine

The Operation Wallacea expedition allows you the chance to participate in active
field research. By working with a range of academic teams and scientists you are
afforded the opportunity to enhance your career potential, to see if field work is
something you wish to pursue and to try something completely different, all while
being part of a legacy-leaving project.

Contact us to speak to
dissertation support staff

4 Book your dissertation space***

US & Canadian students wanting


to gain Course Credits
External course credit

University of St Andrews in Scotland run a long distance learning module


BL3400 Tropical Research and Field Study. If you are joining for a
4 week expedition (excluding dive training) you can apply for this module.
For more information about gaining credit please email
coursecredit@opwall.com

Prepare a project title and


broad research area within
the topic

Initial meeting with field


supervisor and senior
scientist

Review current literature


and draft a project
rationale and methods

Finalise research questions


and methods and agree
itinerary

Submit a draft research


proposal to your Opwall
supervisor

Collect data, analyse


results, draft introduction
and methods sections

Send Opwall a digital


copy of your completed
project

Incorporate Opwalls
feedback into a final
research proposal

Regular progress meeting


with on site supervisors

Let us know your


awarded grade

Finish writing up early


to focus on coursework
and exams

Presentation of initial
findings to group

Internal course credit

By visiting your Study Abroad office and/or college academics you will be
able to determine if an Opwall expedition could be classed as independent
study or an internship program. The amount of credit offered depends on
your own university.

Primary supervision
taken over by university

Dissertations must be at least 6 weeks

**

If your university does not allow you to complete a dissertation with Opwall, a full refund of your deposit is given, upon receipt of confirmation from your tutor.

***

Masters Research
For those completing a masters level independent research project, many
of our dissertation topics offer suitably complex research questions for a
high quality masters grade. Please email masters@opwall.com for more
information on which topics may be suitable for your masters course.
Up to a maximum expedition of 8 weeks

Andrew ONeill from Queen Mary University


of London raised 900 from a sponsored
walk and nearly 185 from selling raffle
tickets for his trip to Romania

Getting Involved & Benefits to Academics


Please email academics@opwall.com to discuss:
n Research Opportunities
n PhD Studentships

Participating Academics
Operation Wallacea works with specialists in numerous fields from a range of
universities and institutions around the world. In total there are more than 200
academics involved in the research programme. A sample of the academics
are listed below that have been involved in recent years in the field research
programmes, contributing to publications, supervising PhD students who form part
of the programme or are involved in data analysis or conservation management
outputs from the research.
Conservation Management Scientists
Dr Julian Clifton - University of Western Australia
Tom Avent - Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust, UK
Dr Angela Benson - University of Brighton, UK
Dr Richard Bodmer - University of Kent, UK
Dr Keri Brondo - University of Memphis, USA
Dr Alice Eldridge - University of Sussex, UK
Barry Ferguson - University of East Anglia, UK
Dr Jeri Fox - University of New England, USA
Chris Majors - Operation Wallacea, Indonesia
Dr Ruth Malleson - Social and Economic Consultant, UK
Professor Aubrey Manning - University of Edinburgh, UK
Dr Wanda McCormick - Moulton College, UK
Dr Bob Payne - Lakehead University, Canada
Dr Mika Peck - University of Sussex, UK
Dr Richard Phillips - University of Liverpool, UK
Dr Sarah Pilgrim - University of Essex, UK
Dr Edi Purwanto - Tropenbos, Indonesia
Dr Ali Reza - Delta State University, USA
Dr Selina Stead - Newcastle University, UK
Prof Ian Swingland - Operation Wallacea Trust, UK
Dr Chui Ling Tam - Calgary University, Canada
Dr Raquel Thomas - Iwokrama Rainforest Research
Centre, Guyana
Helen Tedds - Moulton College, UK
Dr Katharine Vincent - University of the
Witwatersrand, South Africa
Roger Wardle - Consultant on agri-environmental
schemes, UK
Dr Atiek Widayati - Northumbria University, UK
Dr Tony Whitten - Flora and Fauna International, UK
Dr Olivia Norfolk - Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Dr Kathy Velander - Napier University, UK
Dr Graham Wragg - Nambu Conservation Trusts, Fiji
Genetics, Oceanography and Geology
Scientists
Dr Danielle Gilroy - Operation Wallacea, UK
Sylvie Bardin - University of Ontario institute of
Technology, Canada
Dr Stephen Burrows - Clark University, USA
Dr Giulia Casasole - University of Antwerp, Belgium
Dr Greg Cowie - University of Edinburgh, UK
Dr Alan Dykes - Kingston University, UK
Dr Leanne Hepburn - University of Essex, UK
Dr Tom Horton - SUNY ESF, USA
Dr Ben Horton - Upenn, USA
Dr Richard Hunter - Salisbury University, USA
Dr John Milsom - University College London, UK
Dr Claire Raisin - University of Kent, UK
Professor George Turner, Bangor - University, UK
Dr Cathy Walton - University of Manchester, UK
Dr Moyra Wilson - Curtin University, Australia
Dr Gerd Winterleitner - Royal Holloway, University
of London, UK
Invertebrate (terrestrial and freshwater)
Specialists
Professor Martin Speight - University of Oxford, UK
Dr Jan-Robert Barr - University College Dublin, Ireland
Dr George Beccaloni - Natural History Museum
London, UK
Dr Sarah Beynon - University of Oxford, UK
Professor Mark Brown - Royal Holloway, UK
Dr Moya Burns - University of Oxford, UK
Dr Patricia Chow-Fraser - McMaster University, Canada
Professor James Cook - University of Reading, UK
Michael Geiser - Natural History Museum London, UK
Dr Francis Gilbert - University of Nottingham, UK
Andy Godfrey - Consultant Entomologist, UK
Dr Sammy de Grave - Oxford Natural History Museum, UK
Dr Neal Haddaway - Royal Swedish Academy of
Sciences
Dr Ian Hardy - University of Nottingham, UK
Dr Merlijn Jocque - University of Leuven, Belgium

Dr Mary Kelly-Quinn - University College Dublin, Ireland


Dr Stuart Longhorn - NUI Maynooth, Ireland
Dr Erica McAlister - Natural History Museum, UK
Dr Kenneth McCravy - Western Illinois University, USA
Dr Jos Nuez-Mino - Bat Conservation Trust, UK
Dr Paul OCallaghan - University College Dublin, Ireland
Dr Graham Rotheray - National Museum of Scotland, UK
Dr Simon Segar - University of Reading, UK
Dr Jo-Anne Sewlal - University of the West Indies
Dr Sergiu Torok - Babes-Bolyai University, Romania
Dr Roy Wiles - University of Glamorgan, UK
Dr Keith Willmott - Florida Museum of Natural History,
USA
Ornithologists
Dr Tom Martin -Operation Wallacea, UK
Dr Jake Bicknell - DICE, University of Kent, UK
Dr Alan Blackburn - University of Lancaster, UK
Dr Robin Brace - University of Nottingham, UK
Dr Simon Butler - University of Reading, UK
Dr Bruce Byers - Umass Amherst, USA
Dr Hannah Clarke - University of Dundee, UK
Dr Nicola Goodship - Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust, UK
Dr Claus Holzapfel - Rutgers, Newark College of Arts
and Sciences, USA
Dr Martin Jones - Manchester Metropolitan
University, UK
Dr Dave Kelly - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Dr Sean Kelly - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Paul Leafe - Montgomeryshire County Recorder, UK
Dr Nicola Marples - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Martin Meads - Sparsholt College, UK
Dr Mark Miller - James Cook University, Australia
Dr Brian OShea - North Carolina Natural History
Museum, USA
Dr Joel Prashant Jack - Environmental Protection
Institute, India
Sam Jones - University College London, UK
Fabiola Rodriguez - Universidad Nacional Autonoma
de Honduras
Dr Eimear Rooney - Queens University Belfast, UK
Cindy Stacier - Dalhousie University, Canada
Matthew White - RSPB, UK
Dr Nurul Winarni - World Conservation Society,
Indonesia
Dr Rueven Yosef - Arava Institute for Environmental
Studies, Israel
Herpetologists
Dr Steve Green - Cornwall College, UK
Dr Scott Boback - Dickinson College, USA
Dr Jeff Burkhart - University of La Verne, USA
Tim Colston - University of Mississippi, USA
Dr Jacqualyn Eales - University of Bangor, UK
Julius Frazier - California Polytechnic State
University, USA
Dr Graeme Gillespie - University of Melbourne,
Australia
Monique Holting - Senckenberg Museum,
Frankfurt, Germany
Jon Kolby - James Cook University, Australia
Dr Mike Logan - Harvard, USA
Dr Chad Montgomery - Truman State University, USA
Professor Randall Morrison - McDaniel University,
USA
Dr Eridani Mulder - Central Queensland University,
Australia
Jose Nobrega - Universidad de Aveiro, Portugal
Dr Silviu Petrovan - University of Hull, UK
Dr Bob Reed - USGS, Guam
Stephen Roussos - Texas Tech University, USA
Mariano Suarez - Centro Ecologico Akumal, Mexico
Dr Katy Upton - Chester Zoo, UK

Botany, Plant Sciences and Forestry


Specialists
Dr Bruce Carlisle - Northumbria University, UK
Dr Harison Andriambelo - Antananarivo University,
Madagascar
Dr Sven Batke - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Dr Gareth Bruce - Glamorgan University, UK
Dr Jon Cocking - JCA Ltd, UK
Dr Anke Dietzsche - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Dr Daniel Kelly - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Dr Grace ODonovan - Independent ecology
consultant, UK
Dr Pascale Poussart - Princeton University, USA
Dr Andrew Powling - University of Portsmouth, UK
Dr Andrew Smith - University of Oxford, UK
Dr Sarah Taylor - University of Keele, UK
Dr Peter Thomas - University of Keele, UK
Caroline Whitefoord - Natural History Museum, UK
Dr Samy Zalat - Nature and Science Foundation for
Egypt, Egypt
Marine Scientists
Professor Dave Smith - University of Essex, UK
Dr Dan Exton - Operation Wallacea, UK
Dr Gabby Ahmadia - World Wildlife Fund, USA
Prof Jorge Angulo Valdes - University of Havana, Cuba
Dr Arthur Anker - Musum National, Paris, France
Dr Dan Bailey University of Cambridge, UK
Dr Richard Barnes - University of Cambridge, UK
Professor James Bell - Victoria University of
Wellington, New Zealand
Dr Wayne Bennett - University of West Florida, USA
Dr Paul Bologna - Montclair State University, USA
Dr Heidi Burdett - St Andrews University, UK
Dr Isabelle Cote - Simon Fraser University, Canada
Professor James Crabbe - University of Bedfordshire, UK
Dr Simon Cragg - Portsmouth University, UK
Dr Leanne Cullen - Cardiff University, UK
Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick - Independent consultant, UK
Dr Caine Delacy - University of Western Australia,
Australia
Dr John Eme - University of North Texas, USA
Dr Teresa Fernandes - Heriot Watt University UK
Dr Andy Gill - Cranfield Institute, UK
Dr Helen Graham - Institute of Marine Research,
Bergen, UK
Dr Ben Green - Environment Agency, UK
Dr Emma Hayhurst - University of Glamorgan, UK
Dr Ian Hendy - University of Portsmouth, UK
Dr Sebastian Hennige - Heriot Watt University, UK
Dr Jess Jaxion Harm - University of Vienna, Austria
Dr Magnus Johnson - University of Hull, UK
Dr Tim Johnson - University of Glamorgan, UK
Dr Jamal Jompa - COREMAP, Indonesia
Dr Nick Kamenos - University of Glasgow, UK
Dr Tina Kutti - Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, UK
Dr James McDonald - Rutgers University, USA
Dr Steve McMellor - University of Aberdeen, UK
Dr Ed Morgan - University of Glamorgan, UK
Dr Clare Peddie - University of St Andrews, UK
Dr Alan Pinder - Dalhousie University, Canada
Dr Johanna Polsenberg - US House of
Representatives, USA
Dr Niamh Quinn - University of Galway, Ireland
Dr Sam Rastrick - Institute of Marine Research,
Bergen, UK
Dr Dai Roberts - Queens University Belfast, UK
Professor Alex Rogers - University of Oxford, UK
Dr Pelayo Salinas de Leon - Charles Darwin
Foundation, Galapagos, Ecuador
Dr James Saunders - St Andrews University, UK
Dr Patric Scaps - University of Perpignon, France
Dr Jon Shrives - Jersey State Fisheries Department, UK
Dr Edd Stockdale - University of Western Australia,
Australia
Dr Dave Suggett - University of Technology, Sydney,
Australia
Prof Chris Todd - University of St Andrews, UK
Dr Richard Unsworth - Swansea University, UK
Dr Nerida Wilson - Western Australia Museum,
Australia
Dr Kyle Young - Universidad de los Lagos, Chile
Mammal Specialists
Dr Kathy Slater - Operation Wallacea, Mexico
Dr Heather Gilbert - Operation Wallacea, UK
Dr Kirsten Bohn - Florida International University, USA
Dr Mark Bowler - St Andrews University, USA
Dr Jedediah Brodie - University of British Columbia,
Canada
Professor Mike Bruford - University of Cardiff, USA
Dr Anthony Caravaggi - Queens University Belfast, UK

Dr Ruth Cox - University of Prince Edward Island,


Canada
Dr Christian Dietz - University of Tuebingen, Germany
Dr Nigel Dunstone - Natural History New Zealand
Dr Jonathan Flanders University of Bristol
Dr Ivar Fleur - Universidad Nacional Autnoma de
Mxico
Matthew Hallett - University of Mississipi, USA
Dr Abdul Haris Mustari - IPB, Bogor, Indonesia
Dr Justin Hines - Operation Wallacea, Canada
Andrew Jennings - IUCN/SSC Small Carnivore
Specialist Group, UK
Dr Marine Joly - University of Portsmouth, UK
Dr Tigga Kingston - Texas Tech University, USA
Juliet Leadbeater - University of Chester, UK
Dr Burton Lim - Royal Ontario Museum, Canada
Professor Aubrey Manning - University of Edinburgh, UK
Professor Suzanne MacDonald - York University, Canada
Dr Niall McCann - University of Cardiff, UK
Dr Nkabeng Mzileni - WEI, South Africa
Dr Sarah Papworth - Royal Holloway, UK
Huma Pearce - Independent Bat Consultant, UK
Dr Abigail Phillips - University of Birmingham, UK
Dr Rob Pickles - Panthera, USA
Rob Pitman - Panthera, South Africa
Dr Nancy Priston - Oxford Brookes University, UK
Professor Ute Radespiel - Hannover Unversity,
Germany
Dr Felix Rakotondraparany - Antananarivo University,
Madagascar
Dr Osvaldo Eric Ramires-Bravo - Universidad de
America, Puebla, Mexico
Dr Neil Reid - Queens University Belfast, UK
Dario Rivera - University of Queensland, Australia
Dr Steve Rossiter - Queen Mary University of London, UK
Dr Adrian Seymour - Independent wildlife film
maker, UK
Dr Myron Shekelle - National University of Singapore,
Singapore
Dr Andrew Smith - Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Dr Kym Snarr - University of Toronto, Canada
Dr Peter Taylor - University of KwaZulu Natal,
South Africa
Dr Pamela Thompson - UCLA, USA
Professor Stewart Thompson - Oxford Brookes
University, UK
Dr David Tosh - Queens University Belfast, UK
Ivar Vleut - UNAM, Mexico
Dr Kevina Vulinec - Delaware State University, USA
Dr Phil Wheeler - University of Hull, UK
Dr C.B Wood - Providence College, USA
Dr Anne Zeller - University of Waterloo, Canada
Heike Zitzer - Pongola Elephant Reserve, South Africa
Fisheries Scientists
Dr Tim Coles OBE, Operation Wallacea, UK
Dr Dave Bird - University of Western England, UK
Irven Forbes - Environment Agency, UK
Dr Emmanuel Frimpong - Virginia Polytechnic, USA
Professor Tim Gray - Newcastle University, UK
Dr Peter Henderson - University of Oxford, UK
Piotr Kalinowski - Fisheries consultant, UK
Dr Duncan May - Fisheries consultant, UK
Joel Rice - Fisheries consultant, USA
Dr Rodney Rountree - University of Connecticut, USA
Paul Simonin - Cornell University, USA
Professor Michael Stewart - Troy University, USA
Dr Mike Walkey - University of Kent, UK
Paul Simonin - Cornell University, USA

n PhD Student Field Research Grants


n Co-funded PhD Placements

n Class Visits & Field Courses

Academic journals in which Opwall teams have published


General Science
Nature
PLoS ONE
Caribbean Journal of Science

General Conservation Biology
Biological Conservation
Conservation Biology
Biodiversity and Conservation
Animal Conservation
Oryx
Global Ecology and Conservation
Conservation Genetics Resources
Environmental Conservation
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Conservation and Society

General Ecology and Zoology
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Ecological Applications
Global Change Biology
Ecography
Functional Ecology
Journal of Zoology
Biodiversity and Ecology
Animal Behaviour
Integrative and Comparative Biology
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Ecological Indicators
Integrative Zoology
Bioscience Horizons
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Biotropica
Aerobiologia
Hydrobiologia
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Aquatic Biology
ISRN Zoology
Australian Journal of Zoology
Egyptian Journal of Biology
Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington
Micronesica

Applied and Theoretical Biology
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Environmental Microbiology
Journal of Thermal Biology
Environmental Science and Technology
Computational Biology and Chemistry
Environmental Modelling and Software

Faunistics and Taxonomy


The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology
European Journal of Taxonomy
Zootaxa
Zoologica Scripta
Checklist
Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien
Acta Society Zoological Bohemia
Comptes Rendus Biologies

General Marine Biology
Marine Biology
Marine Biodiversity
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Coral Reefs
Frontiers in Marine Science
Journal of Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Bulletin of Marine Science
The Open Marine Biology Journal
Marine and Freshwater Research
Gulf and Caribbean Research
Ocean Challenge
Atoll Research Bulletin
Revisita Investigaciones Marinas
Diving Hyperbaric Medicine

Icthyology
Journal of Fish Biology
Copeia

Mammalogy
American Journal of Primatology
International Journal of Primatology
Small Carnivore Conservation
Acta Chiropterologica

Herpetology
Journal of Herpetology
Herpetological Review
Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Herpetologica
Salamandra
Herpetozoa

Ornithology
Bird Conservation International
Ostrich
Cotinga
Sandgrouse
Forktail
Ornitologia Neotropical
BirdingASIA
The Ring

Botany
Journal of Phycology
PhytoKeys
American Fern Journal
Palms
New Phytologist
International Journal of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
Reinwardtia
Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Assiut University Journal of Botany

Entomology and other Invertebrates
Journal of Insect Science
Journal of Insect Conservation
Ecological Entomology
Journal of Crustacean Biology
Crustacean Research
Crustaceana
Nematology

Social Science, Policy and
Environmental Management
Forest Ecology and Management
International Journal of Pest Management
Sustainability
Marine Policy
Human Ecology
Society and Natural Resources
Ocean and Coastal Management
Fishery Management
The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
SPC Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge
Information Bulletin
Madagascar Conservation and Development

Education and Tourism
Journal of Biological Education
Journal of Ecotourism

Physical Geography and Geology
Journal of Quaternary Sciences
Limnology and Oceanography
Proceedings of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Cave and Karst Science
AAPG Bulletin

GIS and Statistical Analysis


Dr Peter Long - University of Oxford, UK
Joe Bailey - University of Nottingham, UK
Jesse Blits - University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Oliver Burdekin - BurdGIS, London, UK
Dr Natalie Cooper - Harvard University, USA
Dr Bella Davies - Oxford Brookes University, UK
Dr Richard Field - University of Nottingham, UK
Dr Fiona Hemsley Flint - University of Edinburgh, UK
Dr Alan Jones - University of Sheffield, UK
Dr Marco Lusquinos - Imperial College London, UK
Cristi Malos - Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
Dr Gareth Mann - Rhodes University, South Africa
Dr Lisa Manne - CUNY, USA
Dr Peter Randerson - Cardiff University, UK
Dr Allister Smith - Oxford Brookes University, UK
Dr Emily Woollen - University of Edinburgh, UK
Professor Kathy Willis - University of Oxford, UK

Krka National Park

Mljet National Park

Students will stay in tents in a newly established camp site.


There is a separate lecture room, open air auditorium and
restaurant on site all with spectacular views over the river
gorge.

During the second week students will be based in Mljet


National Park research centre in shared rooms. There are
showers and toilets on site. The site is also equipped for
diving including a small research boat.

Croatia

Facilities

CROATIA

KRKA NATIONAL PARK MUSEUM


AND RESEARCH CENTRE

SIBENIK
SPLIT

Croatiaoverview

Diving Forest
Expedition length
2 weeks
Research Assistant options 2 set expeditions
Key facts l Opportunity to work in the spectacular Krka river
valley in an area with wolves, jackals and other
keystone species
l Only European based expedition that provides
the opportunity to combine marine and terrestrial
research work

Research objectives
During glacial times the main biodiversity refuges of Europe were the Iberian,
Apennine and Balkans peninsulas, which managed to conserve tropical
elements of the flora and fauna. The most important biodiversity elements
of the present day Balkan region are the short but very large river valleys
through the karst limestone areas and the biogeography of the numerous
Adriatic islands. This expedition combines both of these important areas
working in the spectacular Krka National Park and on Mljet Island in southern
Dalmatia off the coast of Dubrovnic.
The high Dinaric Arc mountains that run along the border of Bosnia
and Croatia separate much of the European continental fauna from the
Mediterranean fauna of coastal Croatia. The Krka River, in a distance of only
60km, runs from the high Dinaric mountains down to the sea and contains
an excellent example of a speciation gradient. The National Park is rich in
freshwater biodiversity because of the long geographical isolation of the
catchment and has around 20 unique species of fish to the river. Since much
of the water in the karst region is found underground, the cave systems
and this habitat provides the highest rate of new species discoveries from
any habitat in Europe. One of the unique cave species is the blind Cave
salamander featured in The Natural World - Attenboroughs Ark, in which
David Attenborough chooses his ten favourite animals that he would most
like to save from extinction. The salamander is the third most genetically
distinct amphibian in the world.
The Krka National Park authorities have established a research base station
in the centre of the valley that they want to develop into a central biodiversity
research hub for the eastern Adriatic region. Two museums have been

built on the site to illustrate the unique ecology of the valley. The role of
Operation Wallacea in this plan is to develop the most detailed biodiversity
annual monitoring programme of key taxa yet undertaken in Croatia and from
this programme, examine community structure and changes over time. In
particular the research objectives are:
n To quantify the effect on jackal, fox and other mammal fauna of the
recent return and increase in wolf populations in the region
n To determine how the height in the valley affects the bird and reptile
communities
n To help quantify the biodiversity of the unique cave fauna
n To quantify the fish communities and habitat associations in the
Krka River

BOSNIA
AND
HERZEGOVINA

ADRIATIC SEA

MIJET NATIONAL PARK


RESEARCH CENTRE

MLJET ISLAND

DUBROVNIK

The Mljet National Park is the oldest marine national park in the
Mediterranean and was designated in 1960 to protect the largest Cladocera
caespitosa reef within the Mediterranean. Mljet Island is one of the most
beautiful of the Croatian Islands with large stands of Holm Oak and Aleppo
Pine forest. The Mljet National Park has established a research centre at the
north western tip of the island and Opwall is helping to build up the research
outputs with initial concentration on:
n Monitoring changes in fish communities using stereo-video within
the proposed No Take Zones and immediately adjacent to them
n Determining the distribution and quality of the Posidonia seagrass
beds around the island
n Quantifying the tortoise populations within the park

Travel information
Booking your international flights:
Arrival Airport: Split Departure Airport: Dubrovnik
When to arrive? Thursday (before 1500hrs) before your expedition
When to leave? Wednesday (after 1400hrs) after your expedition
Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be organised by the Opwall
travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

Croatia
8

Croatia

Croatia Research Assistant Options


Below is a brief outline of all options available to students.
For specific course and project information please contact us
or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1
Expedition 2

15 June - 28 June 2017


20 July - 2 August 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This expedition offers a fantastic experience in the shortest time
period possible. The first week is spent in the Krka National Park
assisting the biodiversity surveys CR001. The following week
there is then a boat trip to various Adriatic Islands before arriving
on Mljet and spending the last week in the National Park. Here you
can learn to dive (CR002) or complete the Adriatic ecology course
(CR003/04).

Marine training courses


CR002 PADI Open Water - This course involves a combination
of theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to
gain an official scuba diving qualification.
CR003 Adriatic ecology course & marine research - diving
CR004 Adriatic ecology & marine research - snorkelling
The course consists of lectures and in water practicals and teaches
identification of common genera and species of coral and other
macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish
families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of
methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine
environment. You will assist with the following:
Look at the effectiveness of No Take Zones on fish populations
from stereo video fish surveys
Map the seagrass beds and quantify their structure
Examine the recovery of large mollusc species in the
No Take Zones
Estimating populations of tortoises in the national park

Details of Projects and Expeditions


CR001 Krka National Park biodiversity surveys: students rotate
between a range of projects led by staff from the Croatian Institute
for Biodiversity.
Fish surveys: These are boat and foot-based electrofishing and
netting surveys of various habitats along the Krka River. There are
a number of endemic species including two endemic trout species
(Salmo visovacensis and Salmo obtusirostris krkensi) that are being
investigated. All fish captured will be identified, measured and
genetic samples taken.
Reptile surveys: Surveys are performed by checking under
previously placed cover boards and completing standard search times
in different habitats and heights in the valley. The park authorities are
keen to determine how the four lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata)
which grows to 2.5m, the venomous nose horned viper (Vipera
ammodytes) and the leopard rat snake (Zamenis situla) separate their
niches. In addition the surveys will be recording the distribution of
the giant glass lizard (Pseudopus apodus), which grows to a length of
1.2m and tortoises (Testudo hermanni). Night surveys are also done
for the cat snake (Telescopus fallax) which is the only nocturnally
active snake species in the region.

Cave surveys: Students assisting with these surveys will be led by


cave biology specialists, in caves which are not open to the public,
and will involve completing transects and quadrats within the cave
systems to estimate diversity of groups adapted to cave living. Soil
samples will also be taken from different parts of the cave system and
sorted in the lab to estimate soil biodiversity.
Bird surveys: These surveys will involve setting mist nets early in
the morning at different heights in the valley. Point count surveys will
be completed either side of the mist net surveys each day. Target
species for the birds include the Natura 2000 important bird species.
Butterfly surveys: Students will complete Pollard counts of
the butterflies.
Mammal surveys: The large mammal species are surveyed using
camera traps and searching areas for footprints and faecal samples.
Within the Krka Valley and surrounding plateau there are two large
wolf packs and these appear to be reducing the jackal and fox
populations. In addition to downloading images from the camera
traps and analyzing the footage these teams will also be setting
and emptying small mammal traps and in particular looking for the
endemic vole (Dinaromys bogdanovi) found in the Dinaric mountains.

Croatia
10

11

Cuba
Facilities
This expedition made me see a different side
of research On this trip, I realized that the
harder (but FUN) part of research is the data
collection. Very unique experience!
Andrea Llanes, University of Toronto

Cubaoverview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2 & 4 week options
Research Assistant options 2 set expeditions
Key facts l One of only 5 remaining communist states in the
world
l Opwalls sole marine only expedition
l Opportunity to live in a local Cuban community
l Opportunity to work alongside scientists from
the University of Havana
l Some of the best underwater visibility and
pristine reefs in the Caribbean

Marine research objectives

La Victoria Village
Research assistants in Cuba will be based in houses in the small
Cuban village of La Victoria on the Isle of Youth. Houses have
air-conditioned dormitory style rooms with indoor and outdoor
communal areas, running water and flushing toilets, as well as
areas for lectures and data analysis. Meals will be provided by the
local community and students will have the unique experience of
living amongst the welcoming Cuban people.

Research Ship
Students may also have the opportunity to spend some of
their expedition on the University of Havana research ship
(a converted fishing boat) the Felipe Poey. The boat is fitted
with berths below deck (although most choose to sleep under
the stars on deck), a flush toilet and basic freshwater shower.
Students will be based primarily in La Victoria, but where
available will spend some time on the Felipe Poey.

Travel information
Booking your international flights:
Airport: Havana Airport (Jos Marti International)
When to arrive? On the Wednesday before your expedition
begins
When to leave? On the Friday after your expedition ends

Dive Facilities
The Colony Marina offers scuba diving facilities including equipment rental, a compressor, and a selection of boats capable of
accessing the Punta Frances National Park and nearby mangrove lagoons. Students will travel to the marina each day by private bus
and spend the day in the field before returning to La Victoria each evening. Lunch will be provided on the boats each day.

Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be


organised by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com
Opwall has given me invaluable
experience as a research assistant and is
a great way to start out in conservation.
Sophie Johnson,
Durham University

Despite being the largest island in the Caribbean, Cubas political and
economic isolation for over half a century means biodiversity research
outputs have been severely limited. Cuba is home to extensive coral reef,
mangrove and seagrass habitats, although anthropogenic and natural
stressors threaten their future health and survival. With large scale growth
in tourism expected in the coming decade, pressure on Cubas marine
ecosystems will likely grow, and Operation Wallacea aims to address (1) the
long-term resilience of coastal habitats in the face of a changing planet, and
(2) the current status and conservation forecast of marine megafauna.
Operation Wallacea and the Centre for Marine Research at the University of
Havana (CIM-UH) have developed a long-term collaborative partnership to
implement a biodiversity monitoring programme in the south of the Isle of
Youth (Isla de la Juventud), the largest island off the coast of Cuba. With the
western end already designated as the Punta Frances National Park, the entire
area is now being proposed as a Sustainable Use and Protected Area (APRM)
due to its significant importance to biodiversity. Research assistants will
join a team of Cuban scientists to complete fish and benthic surveys of reefs
along the southern Isla de la Juventud APRM, explore the ecology of invasive
lionfish and assess the local manatee population in the nearby mangrove
system. Data will be used to inform conservation management practices
across the entire southern island APRM.

Cuba
12

13

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students.


For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com

Expedition 1

16 June - 13 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition starts with dive training and reef ecology courses
(CU001 & CU002/3). The remaining three weeks will be spent
working with the marine research team completing each of the
projects listed under details of projects and expeditions (CU004).
This expedition is designed to give you maximum opportunity and
experience on all aspects of the research project including data
collection, sample processing and analysis.

Expedition 2

4 August - 17 August 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This expedition is only for a short period, however you are still able
to spend time assisting the research programme. After completing
dive training and/or reef ecology (CU001 & CU002/03) your second
week is spent rotating around the various projects (CU004).

Marine training courses


CU001 PADI Open Water - This course involves a combination of
theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to gain
an official scuba diving qualification.
CU002 Caribbean coral reef ecology - diving
CU003 Caribbean coral reef ecology - snorkelling
The course consists of lectures and in water practicals and teaches
identification of common genera and species of coral and other
macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish
families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of
methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine
environment.
Optional additional dive training - If you are already dive trained,
you can sign up for additional dive training in your spare time. These
courses include PADI Advanced Open Water (US$220) and PADI
Rescue Diver with EFR (US$400).

Details of Projects and Expeditions

Cuba

Cuba Research Assistant Options

Students rotate between projects led by experts from the University


of Havana.
CU004 Reef fish, benthic communities and marine megafauna
n Reef fish: Using stereo-video, you will be involved in the
identification and measurement of fish species from analysis
of the video data collected, to calculate biomass and species
community composition. In addition you will be helping with
video line intercept surveys on the reefs and analysing these
videos to identify the benthic organisms intercepting the line
so the total coral and macroalgal cover at each site can be
calculated.
n Coastal fish: Coastal fish communities and recruitment is
studied from seine net surveys of the beach areas and light traps
are also used to assess larval populations in coastal waters. You
will also be helping with baited remote camera drops to assess
densities of sharks and other large carnivores.
n Sharks: The shark project forms part of the Global FinPrint
project. When conditions allow, baited long lines will also be
set from the research ship to tag and release sharks.
n Lionfish: This project involves the dissection of speared
lionfish to examine size class structure, stomach contents, and
other morphological and physiological characteristics.
n Manatee survey and capture project: The manatee surveys
are conducted in the mangrove channels and lagoons using side
scan sonar surveys and observational transects. The position
of all sighted manatees are logged and environmental data
collected. In addition, the movement of manatees is studied
using marked animals. Occasionally we are able to assist with
captures and students will be helping using nets. Any manatees
captured will be measured, the sex determined, DNA and blood
samples taken and the animal marked before release.

Cuba
14

15

Guyana

Facilities
Expedition Structure: All volunteers spend the initial part of the expedition at the lodge. Those staying for 4 & 6 week
expeditions will then move out to field camps where the teams will stay to complete surveys for 5 or 6 days before
moving on to the next site. These camps are the ultimate experience in living and working in a remote forest location.

Iwokrama Field Research Station


At the Iwokrama river lodge accommodation is in
dormitories with communal bathrooms. There is a
well equipped research centre with a lecture room and
restaurant overlooking the river.

Field Camps
Accommodation will be in hammocks with bashas
and integral mosquito nets. There are temporary field
toilets and washing will be done in the rivers. Meals are
prepared by local cooks and the food is above what is
the normal expedition standard.

Travel information

The Guiana Shield in South America is a massive granite dome that formed
2 billion years ago and now encompasses Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana
and parts of Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. Throughout most of this area
there is a low human population density, and as a result, 2.5 million km2
of tropical rainforests still remain largely untouched, along with extensive
savannahs and wetlands.
The Operation Wallacea expeditions are working in Guyana an English
speaking country with one of the lowest population densities and highest
per capita forest areas on the planet, as well as incredible savannahs and
wetlands. The expeditions involve trekking through undisturbed forests, where
jaguar, tapirs, giant otters, harpy eagles and many other charismatic South
American species are abundant.
Operation Wallacea has formed a partnership with the Iwokrama International
Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IIC) and the Amerindian
community of Surama. The IIC manages one million acres (371,000ha) of
lowland tropical rainforest in the centre of the country. The IIC represents
an international partnership between Guyana and the Commonwealth to

Iwokrama Research Centre


Iwokrama
Burro Burro River

Lethem

Rupununi river

Surama

Bina Hill

Karanambo

river
Rewa

Research objectives

Protection of rainforests is a matter of ensuring that surrounding communities


can have a financial benefit from conservation of those forests, and this is the
basis of many of the REDD+ type data collection monitoring projects being
run by Opwall, where funds are raised through preservation of the carbon
content of the forests. However, an alternative approach is to sustainably
exploit the timber in the forest using a reduced impact logging protocol
developed by Iwokrama so that communities can have financial benefits,
but the biodiversity of the forest can be maintained. Just under half of the
Iwokrama Reserve has been designated as a sustainable use area (SUA).
Within this area a 60 year rotation has been agreed where approximately 1%
of the trees in the blocks to be logged are removed with detailed planning
so that the cut and skid trails to remove the timber have minimal impact.
This level of cutting for the most part allows the canopy structure and overall
age structure of the trees to be maintained even in the harvested blocks, but
since the trees removed are the high value commercial species, it generates
substantial income for the local communities. This is a very impressive
harvesting system and if it can be demonstrated to have minimal impacts
on biodiversity whilst at the same time generating much of the income that
would have been achieved from much less sensitive ways of harvesting, then
this approach may have much wider applications worldwide. The Opwall
teams are helping to provide detailed and verifiable datasets on target
biodiversity taxa in the Iwokrama forests both to examine the impacts of
selective logging but also to quantify long-term changes in the biodiversity
of the forests.

Getting to and from the expedition start point can be organised


by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

New Amsterdam

Apoteri
Rewa

er
uibo riv
Esseq

Key facts l Part of the Guiana Shield a huge expanse of


undisturbed tropical rainforest and one of the last
frontier forests on earth
l One of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet
with a very high abundance of Neotropical
megafauna
l Most remote of the forest expeditions
l Opportunity to examine whether logging can be
managed to have minimal impact on biodiversity
l Run in partnership with Amerindian tribes eager
to share traditional knowledge, tracking skills,
bushskills, and medicine

Georgetown

Demera
ra river

Diving Forest
Expedition length
2 & 4 week options
Research Assistant options 2 set expeditions

demonstrate how tropical forests can be sustainably used in the interest


of global scale climate change, local communities and biodiversity
conservation. Surama Village is a Makushi Amerindian community, which
has a vision to develop, own and manage a community-based eco-tourism
business by using the natural resources and their traditional culture practices.

Booking your international flights:


Airport: Georgetown Airport (Cheddi Jagan International)
When to arrive? On the Monday before your expedition begins
(before 2200hrs)
When to leave? On the Tuesday that your expedition ends

Essequibo river

Guyanaoverview

Guyana

North Rupununi Wetlands


Kanuku Mountains

Rupununi Wetlands

An annual monitoring programme providing equal coverage of the SUA and


wilderness preserve (where no logging is allowed), as well as the forests
surrounding Surama Village has been initiated, and is being completed by the
Opwall survey teams. The purpose of this monitoring is to provide long-term
data sets on the abundance and diversity of key biodiversity taxa so that the
impacts of sustainable use within Iwokrama and the forest surrounding Surama
can be identified in comparison with the non-utilised wilderness areas.

Guyana
16

17

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com

Expedition 1

20 June - 17 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition starts with 3 days based at the Iwokrama Research
Centre completing the Guiana Shield forest ecology course GU001.
You then move to different field camps for a week each time. In
these camps you 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.

Expedition 2

18 July - 31 July 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


Your expedition starts 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. This expedition is ideal for those wanting to gain
as much field experience as possible, you will be able to fully
experience all aspects of surveys, data collection and living in
remote sites. This is one of our most remote and pristine sites.

Forest training courses


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.

Details of Projects and Expeditions


GU002 Iwokrama forest biodiversity survey: These surveys
will be 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 or more of them.
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.
Standard search scan transects are completed for herpetofauna
and in the evenings spotlighting and soundscape analysis used to
determine the amphibian communities.
Baited pit fall traps are used to determine dung beetle
communities.
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.
Data on forest structure and carbon levels are also gathered from
a series of 20m x 20m plots at each of the sites.
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.

Guyana

Guyana Research Assistant Options

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.

Guyana
18

19

Forest
Cusuco

An excellent insight into the realities


of scientific research methods, and the
variety of experiences possible.
Leah McHugh,
Trinity College Dublin

Hondurasoverview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4, 6 & 8 week options
Research Assistant options 14 set expeditions
Forest Dissertation options 12
Marine Dissertation options 9
Key facts l Largest number of forest research scientists and
most published research site in Honduras
l In the top 50 most irreplaceable forest sites
in the world
l Data used to protect forests based on their
carbon and biodiversity value
l Opwalls flagship Caribbean marine research site
l Highest recorded percentage of live coral
coverage anywhere in the Caribbean
l Home to Opwalls 3D modelling of coral reefs
initiative

Forest research objectives


The forests of Central America are some of the most species diverse forests
in the world partly because they are the meeting point of two great faunas
those from North America and those from South America which had evolved
separately. Around 3 million years ago the land bridge that is now Central
America began to form and the two faunas began to intermingle. Many of
these forests have now been badly damaged but there is a proposal to join
currently discontinuous areas of forest into a continuous Mesoamerican
forest corridor running from the forests of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico
(where there are other Opwall teams) to the forests of Panama. Part of this
corridor will be the cloud forests of Cusuco National Park in Honduras, but
these forests have suffered some significant deforestation. The Opwall survey
teams have been working in the Cusuco Park forests since 2004 and the data
produced has resulted in the Cusuco Park being listed in the top 50 most
irreplaceable forest sites in the world from a review of 173,000 protected
areas worldwide (and in the top 25 most important sites for the protection of
amphibians). The data collected by the Opwall teams is being used to make
an application for funding through the Natural Forest Standards system. This

will include credits being issued (on the basis of the information about the
carbon and biodiversity within the park) which can be sold by the Honduras
Forestry Department to multinational companies wishing to offset their
carbon emissions and at the same time help protect biodiversity. Funding
raised in this way is then used to manage and protect the park. The role of the
Opwall teams is therefore to complete annual surveys of the key biodiversity
taxa to check on changes.

Accommodation at Base Camp is in tents and there are toilets and showers. There is a wireless networked computer
system with an internet link at Base Camp (although access to the internet will be limited) and this is where all
the data from the various survey teams are collated. In addition, there is a field DNA lab. From Base Camp, teams
can access four core zone fly camps across the park, giving the experience of living deep in the forest, sleeping in
hammocks or tents and with the river as your shower facility. Terrain in Cusuco is the toughest of all our expeditions.

Honduras

Facilities

Marine
Utila

Tela

Located outside of Utila town is the Coral View hotel,


situated between some of the best reefs and the
largest mangrove-lined lagoon system on the island.
Accommodation is in shared rooms and is run by
a local Utilan family who have built, in conjunction
with Operation Wallacea, a well-equipped dive and
environmental monitoring field lab. The home reef can
be accessed from the jetty by snorkelling or diving and
provides a site for more intensive experimental research.

The Bay of Tela is situated between the national parks of


Punta Sal and Punto Isopo. Honduras Shores Plantation
is located on the beach in the Bay of Tela between
the sea and a small lagoon which connects to some
of the larger lagoons in the area. Accommodation is
in fan cooled dormitory style rooms. There is a small
dive centre with newly built lab facilities, a swimming
pool and lecture facilities. All diving is by boat, with
mangroves reached by a combination of kayaks and a
small boat.

Marine research objectives


In the Caribbean there are a number of core issues that have been affecting
the biodiversity of the reefs including the mass mortality of keystone
sea urchins that have allowed algal colonisation of reef areas, an invasive
species originally from the Indo-Pacific (lionfish) that acts as a predator on
reef fish which has been spreading across the Caribbean, and overfishing
of reef fish by local communities. Opwall has a series of other monitoring
sites around the Caribbean (Cuba, Dominica and Mexico) and two of those
monitoring sites are in Honduras. One is on the island reefs of Utila and
the second on the coastal barrier reef of Tela. The island of Utila is used
to represent a typical modern Caribbean reef, whereas the mainland bay of
Tela offers an alternative type of reef ecosystem, and they combine to help
Opwall scientists explore the best ways to protect coral reefs throughout the
region. At both sites, teams of Opwall scientists and students collect annual
monitoring data to assess temporal patterns of ecosystem change, alongside
novel research to address key management priorities and gaps in our current
understanding of tropical marine coastal ecosystem function.

Travel information
Booking your international flights:
Airport: at San Pedro Sula Airport (Ramon Villeda Morales
International)
When to arrive? On the Tuesday before your expedition begins
When to leave? On the Tuesday (after 1600hrs) after your
expedition ends

Opwall is the best opportunity to not only


study a great subject but to meet new people
who also love science! I would recommend it
for anyone planning to be a scientist.
Brittany Bruce,
Indian River State College

Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be


organised by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

Honduras
20

21

Expedition 5

Below is a brief outline of all options available to


students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1

21 June - 18 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


Ideal for those wanting to gain as much terrestrial research
experience as possible whilst combining science and adventure. The
expedition starts with HO001, then moves between research camps
with the opportunity to trek right across the park, whilst assisting
with the biodiversity surveys HO003.

7 June - 4 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition is ideal for those wanting to gain experience at both
marine and terrestrial research sites. The first two weeks are spent
in Cusuco (HO001 & HO003) followed by two weeks at one of the
marine sites completing HO004/05/06. It is ideal if you are already
dive qualified or wanting to snorkel only as it will then allow you to
join the research teams for option HO007 in your final week.

Expedition 2

5 July - 1 August 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This is an ideal choice for those with a higher level of fitness, who
want to make the most of their time in the jungle and yet still wish to
experience a marine research site. After completing HO001, you will
then visit the more remote forest camps assisting with the research effort
HO003 for the next two weeks. Your final week will be HO004/05/06.

Expedition 3*

7 June - 4 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition is aimed at giving Pre-Med students the best
experience in how to provide medical support to teams working
on expeditions in some of the most remote areas. The expedition
medicine experiential course provides formal teaching in the form of
interactive lectures coupled with mentorship by doctors working out
in the field to gain experience in clinical diagnosis and treatment.
The mentors will provide individual assessments for each of the
students at the end of the placement. The format of the expedition is
HO001, HO002, HO003 with a final week completing either HO004/
HO005/HO006.
*
The course does not provide training in expedition medicine that can then be used
as a qualification to practice expedition medicine.

Expedition 4

14 June - 27 June 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This expedition is designed to give you a brief overview of what a
field research site is like. You will complete HO001 before moving
to assist researchers in HO003.

PADI Dive Instructor training course*

Expedition 6 (8 weeks)
Expedition 7 (6 weeks)
Expedition 8 (6 weeks)

14 June - 8 August 2017


14 June - 25 July 2017
28 June - 8 August 2017

/
Set expedition length: 6 or 8 weeks
This expedition is the ideal way to achieve a high level of research
experience at a marine base, giving you 6/8 weeks working
alongside leading scientists. In your first week you can learn to dive
(HO004) followed by HO005/06 (depending on if you are diving or
snorkelling). The remaining weeks are spent assisting the research
teams in HO007, allowing ample opportunity to visit both marine
sites and assist with a wide array of projects.

Expedition 9
Expedition 10

21 June - 18 July 2017


12 July - 8 August 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This is the perfect option for those without the funds or time to
complete a 6 or 8 week expedition. In your first week you can learn
to dive (HO004) followed by HO005/06 (depending on if diving or
snorkelling). The group will then spend their final weeks assisting
the research teams in HO007.

Expedition 11
Expedition 12

14 June - 27 June 2017


26 July - 8 August 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This 2 week expedition provides a basic introduction into marine
research. If you are not already dive trained and wanting to learn
you will not join the research teams and your options will be
HO004/05/06. If snorkelling or already dive trained your first week
will be HO005/06 and HO007 your final week.

Expedition 13

14 June - 11 July 2017


Divemaster Training

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This 4 week expedition is based at the Utila Island Marine Research
Centre and is to enable students already at Rescue Diver level and with
60 logged dives to complete their Divemaster qualification (HO008).

7 June - 18 July 2017

Expedition 14

Set expedition length: 6 weeks


This limited space expedition begins with the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) and Emergency First Response Instructor Course (EFRI)
concluding with a 2 day Instructor Examination (IE) hosted by PADI HQ. Followed by a custom designed training programme focusing on Opwalls
research programme. This includes 5 PADI Instructor Specialities that will prepare you to reach the Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) rating. You
will then join the Opwall staff team, where you will be teaching dive courses under the guidance of your PADI mentor. Giving you hands on teaching
experience while building towards your certification target. The PADI IDC and EFRI course materials are included within the 6 week cost along with
online study programmes which must be completed before the expedition begins. *You must already be a qualified PADI Divemaster before undertaking this course
22

Forest training courses


HO001 Jungle training - Series of lectures and practicals designed to ensure your survey skills are accurate, well informed and that you can
work safely within a field environment.
HO002 Expedition medicine experiential course - This course in expedition medicine covers pre-expedition planning, medical emergencies
and trauma in the field, tropical infections and snake bite and envenomation procedures. The course is delivered as a series of lectures and
practical exercises.

Honduras

Honduras Research
Assistant Options

Canopy Access - The course can be done as part of the jungle training and will show you how to ascend 40m+ into the canopy along with a
qualified instructor. This optional half day course costs US$170.

Marine training courses


HO004 PADI Open Water - This course involves a combination of
theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to gain an
official scuba diving qualification.
HO005 Caribbean reef ecology & survey techniques - diving
HO006 Caribbean reef ecology & survey techniques - snorkelling
The course consists of lectures and in water practicals and teaches
identification of common genera and species of coral and other
macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish
families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of
methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine
environment.

HO008 Divemaster training Utila


If you are already qualified as a PADI Rescue Diver and have at least
60 logged dives you can complete the PADI Divemaster training.
Divemaster training has to be done as a full time commitment so you
wont have the chance to join the research projects on this option,
although you will be learning to supervise students completing diving
for research. An advantage of completing the course with Opwall is the
opportunity it gives you of joining the programme as a Divemaster staff
member at any of the Opwall sites worldwide in future years.

Optional additional dive training

If you are already dive trained, you can sign up for additional dive
training in your spare time. These courses include PADI Advanced
Open Water (US$220) and PADI Rescue Diver with EFR (US$400).

Details of Projects and Expeditions:


HO003 Monitoring biodiversity change - Operation Wallacea has
established an annual monitoring programme for Cusuco National
Park. This involves standardised monitoring of a number of taxa from
standard sites and transects across the park to assess changes in the
structure of the forest and how these changes are impacting the target
taxa. Cusuco National Park is now the most published and best studied
park in Honduras, so joining these teams will give you the opportunity
to work with a large range of scientists across a series of camps and
habitats. Students assist all research projects including:
Helping to set up and empty invertebrate pitfall traps to assess dung
beetle communities, light traps for moths and jewel scarab beetles
Performing timed searches for herpetofauna (reptiles and
amphibians)
Point counts and mist netting for birds, recording data and taking
biometric measurements
Habitat monitoring by completing forest structure plots
Setting and emptying small mammal traps
Patch occupancy and camera trap surveys for large mammals
Mist netting and sound recording for bats
Additional studies include projects such as:
Surveying epiphytic lichen diversity across different forest habitats
in the park
Determining territory size and bird behaviour using call back

Examining invertebrate communities in bromeliads and looking


at infection rates of chytrid fungus (a disease that has decimated
amphibian populations elsewhere) in these tiny mountain top
amphibian communities to determine the best strategy for their
conservation
HO007 Marine research assistant pool - Our team of scientists
conduct a wide range of research projects at our sites on Utila and
Tela, ranging from those involving in-water surveys to laboratory based
studies. These projects require help with data collection and analysis,
students in the research assistant pool will have the opportunity to
experience multiple research projects. Projects include:
Stereo-video: Ecosystem monitoring using stereo-video fish surveys
and benthic video transects
Sea urchin population dynamics
Invasive lionfish ecology
In-situ behavioural studies of cleaning symbioses
Laboratory behaviour studies of urchins and invasive lionfish
Mangrove system ecology
At a weekly research assistant meeting, the science team present their
research and what assistance they require that week, and research
assistants sign up to one or more projects accordingly.

Honduras
23

Honduras terrestrial dissertations and research topics


HO100 Epiphytic lichen community survey in Cusuco National Park
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
One of the characteristic features of moist tropical forests is the abundance
of epiphytes or arboreal plants. Epiphytic lichens are incredible composite
organisms, both a fungus and photosynthetic. This makes them strongly correlated
with environmental variables and useful bioindicators to assess environmental
quality and disturbance. Furthermore, over the last decade they have received
particular attention due to the possibility of using them as early warning alarms
for climatic changes. This project would support a first ever survey of the lichen
diversity in Cusuco in addition to existing epiphyte data from the park, which could
provide exciting information about environmental quality as well as the lichen
species and families composition in the park. Students could develop a range
of questions, for example examining the variation in lichen composition within
and between trees, between differing altitudes, and differing disturbance levels.
Additionally, students could use species distribution modelling (SDM) and GIS to
predict species variation in ecological niches when presented with future climate
scenarios and emissions.
HO101 Dung beetle ecology in the Honduran cloud forest
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
This topic allows students to work on one of the longest-running large-scale
invertebrate ecology research projects in the Neotropics, studying the fantastically
diverse dung beetles of Cusuco. The project could focus on how diversity and
community structure changes over a complex matrix of elevational and habitat
gradients, by adapting our existing sampling programme to set up experimental
plots. There may also be the opportunity to investigate aspects of ecological
genetics, or to utilise GIS in analysing local biogeography of dung beetles. Projects
could involve analysing community data from the sampling programme in relation
to the habitat structure measurements, or working with data from multiple teams
to assess the role that dung beetles play as an indicator for forest quality or the
occurrence of other species. Dung beetles also play a vital role in decomposition
in the forest and in seed dispersal and the impact and effectiveness of these roles
could be tested using various experimental designs. Alternatively, a project could
focus on finding out more about some of the beetle species to assess how far they
travel to their food source, via mark and recapture methods, or to study aspects of
dung beetle ecology such as diet activity or feeding preferences.

HO102 Ecology of moths in the tropical cloud forest of Honduras


(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
The moths of Cusuco are among the strangest and most beautiful in the world.
This project would take advantage of the network of new high-intensity mercury
vapour collecting lamps installed throughout Cusuco National Park to study the
incredible diversity of moths attracted to light. Currently, two families (Sphingidae
and Saturniidae) are well-studied and identifiable to species in Cusuco, but many
others are also attracted to light and their diversity is poorly known. Projects
could focus on establishing the diversity of the lesser known families (based on
morphology or using DNA barcoding) or on increasing our understanding of the
better studied species of Saturniid and Sphingid using mark recapture (for example
to assess population size and dispersal, or morphological variation within and
between species). There would also be scope to improve our knowledge about the
process of light trapping, by studying little-known aspects such as the effects of
surrounding habitat structure and the attractive radius of traps. Alternatively, studies
could take advantage of collaboration with canopy access experts to undertake
light trapping above the forest floor, to assess possible variation in captures and
moth diversity over a vertical gradient.
HO103 Aquatic invertebrate communities in tank bromeliads
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
Several hundred species of aquatic organisms can be found living in the unique
habitats of bromeliad pools. This project aims to gain insight into some of the deep
ecological mechanisms driving diversity patterns. Building on a detailed study
of the aquatic invertebrates in bromeliads carried out over the last seven years, a
series of experimental setups will be used to look into metacommunity dynamics
and how dispersal affects alpha, beta and gamma diversity of invertebrates.
Cusuco National Park has the highest diversity of passive dispersers (invertebrates
that need a vector to move between bromeliads) recorded, and the presence of
both these and active dispersers allows projects to be developed that study how
dispersal strategies affect community assemblages and diversity patterns. In this
project students will use small plastic cups as artificial bromeliads strategically
placed in the forest to experimentally test hypotheses concerning the impact
of factors such as metacommunity size (the number of bromeliads) and patch
size (bromeliad size) on the aquatic invertebrate diversity. This can help us to
better understand the relationships of tank bromeliads with a wide variety of other
organisms.

HO104 Abundance and distribution of threatened


amphibian populations in Cusuco cloud forest
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to
complete HO001)
Amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate group globally
and this is exacerbated for the amphibians of Cusuco National
Park due to rapid, recent expansion of coffee farms and
pastures for cattle ranching within the buffer zone and core
zone of the park. If the amphibian populations continue to
decline, decisions must be made regarding the value of ex-situ
conservation of key species for subsequent release once the
threats to the population have been resolved. In order to make
such decisions, it is imperative that we have reliable estimates
of amphibian population dynamics. Thus, data are urgently
required on the population sizes and distributions of each of
the cloud forest amphibian species and the catchments in
which each occur. Data collection for this project involves
sampling amphibians from both the forests and rivers at
multiple locations in the park. These data may then be used
to calculate reliable estimates of species abundance and may
also be added to existing GIS maps of the park to investigate
species distribution patterns.
HO105 Trophic ecology of snakes in Cusuco National
Park (start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to
complete HO001)
Cusuco is home to a large diversity of snake species.
Their distribution is often patchy and little is known about
the features influencing their ecology. Indeed, the prey
items taken by each species, particularly palm vipers, is
unknown but some species are thought to be amphibian
specialists whilst others are thought to be small mammal
or even arthropod specialists. Dissertation students will be
completing surveys where snakes are captured (by a trained
herpetologist students will not be able to handle snakes
directly) and morphological metrics recorded. Scale samples
will also be taken for genetic analysis and for Stable Isotope
Analysis (SIA). The latter provides a means by which the
trophic position at which the snakes have been feeding and
the geographic origin of their prey (aquatic or terrestrial)
can be determined. The cost of sample preparation and
commercial SIA will be highly subsidised, but additional
lab cost funds (which most students have access to from
their university) will be required from students to complete
the work. Students without access to these funds may still
undertake the project but can base their research question
around habitat use and niche partitioning between different
snakes.

Honduras

HO106 Prevalence of chytrid in amphibian populations


within Cusuco (start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June;
need to complete HO001)
The effective conservation of Cusuco National Park is
imperative for many endemic species, none more so than
cloud forest amphibians. The spread of chytrid fungus has
caused severe declines in many amphibian populations
and is a major concern for global amphibian conservation.
Chytrid is known to have been present within the amphibian
populations of Cusuco for at least 15 years, but its prevalence
within specific areas of the forest and the extent to which
different species are affected are not well known. Amphibian
species will be encountered during diurnal and nocturnal
transects and swabbed for chytrid. Swabs will be taken back
to the lab at base camp and tested for the presence of chytrid
using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and visualised using
agarose gel electrophoresis. Individuals will also be assessed
for visual signs of infection. Prevalence of chytrid will be
mapped in the park using multiple years data to assess
whether the disease is continuing to spread to previously
uninfected areas to contribute to the investigation into the
underlying mechanism of infectivity.
HO107 Angrier in the middle? Does territorial
aggression differ with elevation and competitors in
tropical understorey passerines?
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to
complete HO001)
Range patterns of species on tropical mountains are generally
typified by narrow elevational distributions, particularly in
birds, but little consensus as to the exact causes of these
distributions has been reached. Physiological stress,
ecotones (e.g. habitat and temperature) and aggression
between related species may restrict these distributions,
but it remains unknown as to whether birds are subject to
greater territorial pressures within or at the edges of these
elevational ranges as a result. Several species that are suitably
abundant and of which the elevational ranges are sufficiently
understood, offering ideal subjects for which to study aspects
of territoriality, are present in Cusuco National Park, Honduras
(e.g. black-headed nightingale-thrush, Catharus mexicanus,
and grey-breasted wood wren, Henicorhina leucophrys). A
range of projects are possible using playback experiments to
assess differences in intraspecific aggression with elevation
and local climate regimes and whether interspecific differences
occur in range overlaps. This project will complement work
currently being undertaken on the role of physiology and
aggression in defining the elevational distributions of tropical
cloud forest species, focusing on Catharus nightingalethrushes.

Honduras
24

25

Marine research topics are based at one or both of: Tela Marine Research Centre on
the mainland and Coral View Research Centre on Utila Island.

HO108 Factors affecting bird communities in the cloud forests of Cusuco


(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
Birds are excellent indicators of forest ecosystem health as their abundance and
diversity are closely related to habitat disturbance and they make ideal models
because they are relatively easy to monitor and study. This topic takes advantage
of the existing fixed point count survey work being undertaken for birds at over
130 survey sites across Cusuco, as well as the recently started mark-releaserecapture mist netting survey data. By examining species distributions and species
richness across varying habitats, projects could: compare bird communities
in different administrative divisions of the park (e.g. the buffer/core zones that
differ in degrees of wildlife preservation and human activity); study the impact of
differing disturbance levels on bird communities; investigate the impact of habitat
type on bird community composition; or look at the effect of altitude on bird
composition. By using covariates such as temperature, habitat structure and forest
type, threshold limits for the different species could be elucidated which may have
interesting implications for the impact of habitat alteration (e.g. by deforestation)
in the future.
HO109 Variation in cloud forest small mammal populations and their
microhabitats, Honduras
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
A total of 19 small mammal species have been recorded in Cusuco National Park
comprising a complex community. However, three focal species are of interest
and dominate the community: 1) Desmarests spiny pocket mouse (Heteromys
desmarestianus) which occurs on the forest floor >150m from the nearest river
(terrestrial environment), 2) the Mexican deer mouse (Peromyscus mexicanus)
which occurs along river corridors <3m from the waters edge (riparian
environment), and 3) a currently unidentified Rheomys spp. watermouse which
is entirely aquatic and forages by diving within upland rocky streams (riverine
environment). Therefore, three traplines are set at each of seven camps throughout
the park, each consisting of 12 traps placed approx. 10m apart. These traplines
are set up in each microhabitat targeting each of the three small mammal species
for comparative and individual study. How these species share the forest and the
individual specialism of each species remains largely unknown. Small mammal
abundance and species composition can be related to habitat data collected from
permanent plots along the transect network (for example forest structure, tree
density, % fruiting, leaf litter depth etc.). Additionally, abundance and special
distribution patterns may be related to predator abundance and distribution (mainly
large snake species including Wilsons pit viper, Cerrophidion wilsoni), building up
a picture of the trophic relationships in the region.

HO110 Using camera traps to quantify human disturbance of large


mammal species, Honduras
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
Large mammals, despite their size, are rarely observed in forest habitats and are
often under-represented in biodiversity studies. By using indirect survey techniques
to increase detectability, a total of 23 large mammal species have been recorded
in Cusuco National Park using field signs such as footprints or droppings. These
include the endangered Bairds tapir and species which are commonly hunted for
bushmeat such as red brocket deer and white-collared peccaries. Camera traps
are deployed throughout Cusuco National Park, placed either within 20m of the
sample route network or up to 300m away from the sample routes. This enables us
to examine the distribution of large mammals throughout the park with respect to
distance from the park boundary, human habitation and nearby deforested patches
and also distance from our transect network, focusing on the effect of human
disturbance. For key target species for which there are >10 detections throughout
the season, the Random Encounter Model (REM) may be employed to estimate
probable abundance. Data from previous years will be available for comparison
enabling temporal trends in detections to be assessed. NOTE: this project involves
hiking the entire transect network and also considerable distances off transect. The
park has an average slope of 30. Thus, moderate to high levels of physical fitness
are essential for students undertaking this project.
HO111 Ecology and behaviour of bats in tropical cloud forests, Honduras
(start dates 07 June, 14 June or 21 June; need to complete HO001)
Cusuco National Park has a fantastic diversity of bats that have adapted to the
incredibly complex landscape with huge variation in elevation, temperature and
rainfall resulting in a wide range of habitats. Bats in the park have been monitored
between June and August each year since 2006 using mist net surveys. Over 50
species of bats have been captured at Cusuco including insectivores, nectarivores,
frugivores, carnivores and sanguivores. In addition to abiotic data on lunar phase,
precipitation and temperature, habitat measurements are also available. Potential
ecology projects include examining the effects of abiotic variables, prey abundance
and/or habitat type on bat abundance or demography. Studies could also examine
how ecological variables contribute to annual variation in bat abundance or
diversity using Opwalls historical data. The abundance and diversity of bats in
Cusuco permits comparisons within or across species or guilds. In addition to
mist netting, acoustic surveys using ultrasonic recording equipment are now
being implemented. This permits projects on vocal behaviour, such as examining
echolocation or social vocalisations in individual species, developing species
identification using echolocation signals, or comparing mist net and acoustic
survey data for species presence and abundance.

HO112 Tracking the recovery of a keystone urchin


species and its role in reef restoration (start dates 14
June, 21 June, or 28 June; need to complete dive training
and the Caribbean reef ecology course)
Under natural conditions, the sea urchin (Diadema antillarum)
is the most important herbivore on Caribbean coral reefs,
and is therefore considered a keystone species. However, a
disease in the 1980s caused the death of an estimated 98% of
individuals throughout the region. This mass mortality event
had a devastating effect on reef health, driving subsequent
phase shifts to algal dominated benthic communities.
Recovery has been extremely limited, with populations
on most reefs still severely depleted, and Utila Island is a
classic example of this. Remarkably, the Banco Capiro reef
system in Tela Bay has a population density of D. antillarum
at astonishingly high levels. It also boasts extremely high
benthic reef health, despite historical overfishing leading
to a complete collapse of the fishery. Since its recent
discovery, Operation Wallacea scientists began detailed
population studies in 2013 and this project will continue to
build on this. The primary objective is to quantify changes
in the abundance, biomass and population structure of D.
antillarum on the reefs of Utila and Banco Capiro. Further
data will assess the potential roles of competition, predation
and environmental factors in driving the recovery on Banco
Capiro.
HO113 Managing the Caribbean lionfish invasion
(start dates 14 June, 21 June, or 28 June; need to be dive
trained and to have completed the Caribbean reef ecology
course)
Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean and are
having a devastating impact on local fish communities
throughout the region. Introduced in the 1980s, believed to
be by accident, lionfish have spread extremely quickly and are
now found as far as New York City and Brazil. Their success is
down to a number of factors, including their high reproductive
rate, generalism in terms of both diet and habitat, and a
lack of natural predators. They are now considered to be
one of the greatest threats to the future of Caribbean coral
reefs and their fish communities. Management approaches
to dealing with the lionfish invasion are limited, with one of
the most common being direct removal via spear fishing.
This relies on regular visitation to individual reef sites, as
studies have shown full recovery of lionfish populations
only five months after complete removal. Baseline data will
be collected on population densities of lionfish at sites of
varying intensities of culling. Lionfish will subsequently be
removed and morphometric measurements taken along with
dissections for physiological and gut content assessments,
which can link fish assessments to gauge prey availability.
In addition, lionfish behavioural responses to divers, such
as Flight Initiation Distance (FID) and Alert Distance (AD)
can be assessed, which could also be expanded to include
commercially valuable fish such as grouper.

Honduras

Honduras marine research topics

HO114 Interactions between reef health and fish


communities (start dates 14 June, 21 June, or 28
June; need to be dive trained and to have completed the
Caribbean reef ecology course)
The ecological and economic value of coral reef fish
communities makes them vital not only to ecosystem
health but also to local food security and livelihoods.
However, as consumers they are ultimately dependent
on the abundance and composition of primary producers
within the system, but also the provision of microhabitats
for shelter. Competition for space on Caribbean reefs is
extremely intense, with traditionally dominant hard corals
increasingly being replaced in recent decades, primarily by
macroalgae, but also soft corals and sponges. These phase
shifts have significant impacts on benthic structure and
function, with knock-on effects on dependent communities
such as fish. Students on this project will conduct fish
surveys on a wide range of reefs in both Utila and Tela
using cutting edge stereo-video technology, which allows
not only abundance and diversity measurements, but also
accurate biomass estimates from published species-specific
length:weight relationships. These data will be compared to
benthic assessments using line intercept video transects and
state of the art 3D computer modelling, to investigate how
benthic health and structure impacts fish communities at
the species, family and feeding guild level. With over three
years of data already available, students can also incorporate
a temporal component to explore long-term trends in benthic
and fish community composition at key study sites.
HO115 The dynamics of mutualistic cleaning
interactions on Caribbean coral reefs (start dates 14
June, 21 June, or 28 June; need to be dive trained and to
have completed the Caribbean reef ecology course)
On coral reefs, the cleaning behaviour of certain species
represents an important interspecific and mutualistic
relationship that provides a vital ecological service to the
wider reef fish community. In the Caribbean, cleaning is
performed by both fish (primarily gobies of the genus
Elacatinus) and invertebrates (primarily the Pederson cleaner
shrimp, Ancylomenes pedersoni). Cleaner species occupy
cleaning stations that are sought by client fish who perform
set behaviours in order to initiate cleaning. The dynamics
of these interactions are complex, and span the taxonomic
spectrum of the reef fish community, with Pederson cleaner
shrimp alone known to service over 20 families of fish. After
mapping the cleaning stations present at a site, students
will use remote video observations to explore patterns
in cleaning behaviour involving shrimp, gobies or both.
Projects could focus on drivers of clientele composition, or
how cleaning frequency and duration varies between client
species. Alternatively, projects could build on recent research
demonstrating the impact of diver presence on the provision
of cleaning behaviour through a combination of in water diver
observations and remote videography.

Honduras
26

27

Honduras
HO116 Coral reef 3D complexity as a driver of ecosystem function and
biodiversity (start dates 14 June, 21 June, or 28 June; need to be dive
trained and to have completed the Caribbean reef ecology course)
The structural complexity of an ecosystem is one of the primary drivers of
biodiversity, and this is especially true for coral reefs. As ecosystem architects
of tropical reefs, hard corals lay down structurally complex calcium carbonate
skeletons, which in turn provide the range and quantity of microhabitats needed
to support the staggering levels of reef biodiversity. However, recent decades
have seen a significant loss of hard coral cover, particularly the more structurally
complex branching growth forms, leading to a phenomenon known as reef
flattening. The Caribbean has been particularly impacted, and the carrying
capacity of associated fish and invertebrates has subsequently decreased.
Students on this project will film areas of reef using GoPro cameras while diving,
and use the footage to construct state of the art 3D computer models. These
models are proportionally accurate and allow 3D complexity to be quantified
like never before. Structural complexity measurements will then be linked to
observational data of target species of fish and invertebrates to explore how 3D
reef structure influences biodiversity and ecological processes.
HO117 Designing an optimal monitoring strategy for Caribbean coral
reefs using novel technological solutions (start dates 14 June, 21 June, or
28 June; need to be dive trained and to have completed the Caribbean reef
ecology course)
Global coral reef research and management remains heavily reliant on basic in
water data collection by divers and snorkellers. However, data quality can vary
enormously due to factors such as level of training, in water ability and observer
bias. With the emergence of affordable underwater photography and videography,
a new suite of techniques has become available to marine researchers that not
only increases accuracy of data, but allows new questions to be addressed that
would otherwise be impossible through traditional methods. Coral reef health can
now be assessed using video transects, while cutting edge stereo-video surveys
allow fish communities to be accurately assessed not only for abundance and
diversity, but also the much more useful metric: biomass. Even more excitingly, a
new collaboration between Opwall and Oxford University has developed a method
of constructing accurate 3D computer models of areas of reef filmed using GoPro
cameras. These models allow quantification of structural complexity, and have
the potential to replace traditional benthic transect techniques. Students on
this project will spend time carrying out each of the methods described above,
conducting a thorough assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, to design
an optimal approach for Caribbean reef monitoring for the modern era.

HO118 Physiology and behaviour of the long-spined sea urchin, a


keystone Caribbean coral reef herbivore
(start dates 14 June, 21 June, or 28 June; this project is predominately
laboratory based but can also include a diving element; need to complete
Caribbean reef ecology course and dive training if required)
The long-spined sea urchin (Diadema antillarum), is responsible for the
maintenance of coral reef health throughout the Caribbean. However, in the early
1980s a region wide epidemic reduced their populations by an average of 98%,
which stimulated the widespread macroalgal phase-shifts that currently plague
the Caribbean. Despite the fact that restoration of D. antillarum is widely believed
to be a conservation priority we know surprisingly little about their physiology
and behaviour. The aim of this project is therefore to explore the innate responses
of this keystone species to numerous external environmental and physical factors,
such as food and habitat availability, rising sea surface temperatures and ocean
acidification, which may affect the success of targeted conservation efforts.
These questions will be answered through a series of laboratory manipulations on
urchin specimens collected from nearby reefs.
HO119 The behaviour of invasive lionfish on Caribbean reefs (start dates
14 June, 21 June, or 28 June; this project is predominately laboratory
based but can also include a diving element; need to complete Caribbean
reef ecology course and dive training if required)
The invasion of lionfish in the Caribbean has developed into one of the greatest
threats to the survival of the regions coral reefs thanks to the devastating
effect they have on native fish populations. Research has naturally focused
on mapping the spread of lionfish, quantifying their ecological impacts,
and exploring management interventions to reduce their numbers. However,
improving our understanding of the behaviour of this species on non-native
reefs is of particular interest to better grasp the underlying success of their
invasion. This project will assess lionfish behaviour both on the reefs and in a
small laboratory, where individuals will be captured and processed. Particular
focuses of this work could include prey selectivity, and habitat preferences
to investigate the cryptic nature of this species, and data can be linked to
ecological characteristics of the reef itself.
HO120 Behaviour and feeding ecology of Caribbean reef herbivores
(start dates 14 June, 21 June, or 28 June; need to be dive trained and to
have completed the Caribbean reef ecology course)
Coral reefs are traditionally found in nutrient-poor (oligotrophic) water. Hard
corals are very successful nutrient recyclers, which allows them to thrive in
these conditions despite their extremely slow growth rates. Faster growing
macroalgae are at a competitive disadvantage under these conditions, whilst
any significant growth that does occur is kept in check by a large community of
herbivorous fish and invertebrates. However, in recent decades organic pollution
along tropical coastlines has caused widespread nutrient loading, while
overfishing and other impacts has greatly reduced herbivore populations. As
a result, macroalgae has begun to take over reefs in what is known as a phase
shift, compromising the long-term health and resilience of these important
ecosystems. This project aims to explore patterns in feeding behaviour and
efficiency between different Caribbean herbivores, using a combination of
in-situ observations via scuba diving and remote videography. Data will focus
on feeding preferences between different types and densities of macroalgae,
and on calculating feeding rates using artificial algal plates placed on the reef.
Students will also conduct surveys of the herbivore communities present to
gauge overall grazing pressure at study sites.

Computer generated 3D model of a Honduran coral reef

28

Honduras
29

Unbelievable experience and incredible


staff who are all enthusiastic about the
same things as me.
Jack Cunningham, University of Edinburgh

Indonesiaoverview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4, 6 & 8 week options
Research Assistant options 15 set expeditions
Forest Dissertation options 1
Marine Dissertation options 10
Key facts l In the centre of the Coral Triangle the worlds
most biodiverse reefs
l Endemic-rich forests with new species described
and more still to be discovered
l Most published research site in the Coral Triangle
and third most published terrestrial site in
Sulawesi
l Most developed Opwall site for conservation
interventions with carbon and seaweed projects

Forest research objectives


The islands of the central part of the Indonesian archipelago are separated
to the east (Papua) and the west (Borneo) by deep ocean channels. These
deep trenches prevented the central islands of Indonesia from being joined
to the main continental land masses during the lowered sea levels of the Ice
Ages. As a result of the long period of isolation, a large number of unique
species evolved. The whole region is now known as the Wallacea region after
the famous Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, as it was he who first
described the unique fauna. The forests of the Wallacea region are one of the
least biologically studied areas in the world and one of the most likely places
to discover vertebrate species new to science.
Operation Wallacea first started surveying the forests of Buton Island in SE
Sulawesi in 1995. In 2004 these surveys resulted in a US$1 million World
Bank/GEF grant being obtained to establish an example of best practice
conservation management for a lowland forest. This project worked only in
the central part of the island and finished in 2008. An assessment of the
various quantifiable conservation targets showed that 90%+ of the targets
had been achieved and in many cases significantly exceeded. Since that
point, Opwall has continued with monitoring the abundance and diversity
of key taxa in both the central and northern forests of Buton Island. All

the Opwall-gathered data on the northern and central forests of Buton is


being submitted to support a REDD+ application to protect the carbon and
biodiversity of the Buton forests and ensure that local communities have
a financial benefit from this conservation programme. In 2017 teams will
be completing surveys on the transect network at a series of camps spread
across Buton Island.

Marine research objectives


There is a triangle of reefs in eastern Indonesia, part of which lies within the
Wallacea region, that have the highest diversity of hard coral genera, the
proxy commonly used to assess overall diversity, of coral reefs anywhere in
the world. Both the marine research stations being used by the Opwall teams
are in the centre of this triangle.
The Pantai Nirwana Marine Training and Research Centre has established a
series of standard monitoring sites on reefs south of Bau Bau and on adjacent
islands. These are being monitored annually and it is hoped to use the data
to demonstrate that a number of the reefs in this area are of equal or even
higher conservation value than those within the Wakatobi Biosphere Reserve.
The Hoga Island Marine Research Station is located in the heart of the
Wakatobi Marine National Park. Over the last 20 years, a series of scientists
have been based at this site during the Opwall survey seasons, and have built
up the publications emanating from the site to a level which is unsurpassed
by any other marine research site in the Coral Triangle. These data and
publications have been used to promote the biodiversity value of Wakatobi,
raise its profile internationally and, in particular, enable it to be designated
as a biosphere reserve. For the last 12 years a series of constant monitoring
sites around Hoga and eastern Kaledupa have been monitored for fish
communities, coral cover and community structure, and macroinvertebrates.
In addition, annual fisheries monitoring is being completed to assess
changes in the fisheries, particularly as some of the management initiatives
developed by Opwall (e.g. buy outs of fishing licences and carrageenan
extraction) begin to hopefully have an impact.

Travel information

Forest

Marine

Jungle training and canopy access

Hoga Island

This week will be spent partly in the picturesque village


of Labundo with accommodation in the local houses.
Rooms will be shared and have a mandi (bathroom)
shared with the host family. Meals are taken at the
village hall. If you are doing the canopy access
course this will be run for the part of the week you
are in Labundo village. For the other part of this week
the teams are based in temporary forest camps with
hammocks that are set up as part of the jungle training
course. Washing will be in the river and there will be
forest toilets in these camps. Meals are prepared by the
jungle survival team in camp.

The small island Hoga, with beautiful white sand


beaches, is where Opwall teams have established a
leading marine training and research centre. Paved
paths have been installed through the forest of this
island and students stay in shared traditionally-built
wooden houses spread around the island, each with
their own mandis. There is electricity in most of the
cabins and generator power most evenings. There is
a fully equipped dive centre on the island. There is
also a large dining area with bar and lecture theatre. In
addition, there is a well-equipped wet lab where much
of the physiological research is completed and a dry
lab where the marine ecology teams are based. There
is no internet access on site, but 2G signal can be
gained on an unlocked smart phone with a local SIM
card, though this is slow and often unreliable.

Field camps
These surveys will run from one of the four established
forest camps, each of which has four transects
radiating out from the camp. Surveys will be completed
on these transects or on adjacent quadrat plots.
Accommodation in most of the camps is in hammocks,
although in the Ereke camp there are camp beds in
shared tents. There are jungle shower facilities set up
at the camps and forest toilets. Large covered areas
are used for the meals and all food is prepared by the
camp staff. Each camp has radio and satellite phone
communication. Teams working on transects are in
walkie talkie contact with the camp. There is generator
power in the evenings to recharge items and provide
some light.

Island mobile team


This team will be led by local Indonesian staff and
translators supporting the academics and students
and will be based for a few days at a time in different
villages on the various islands. Accommodation will be
in local houses with use of the local mandis. Vehicles
and boats will be used to move between the sites on
the islands and travel to new islands. There will be a
satellite phone with this group, for much of the time
there will be cellular/mobile phone signal, although
rarely strong enough to allow email.

Indonesia

Facilities

Pantai Nirwana, Bau Bau


This centre is on the beautiful Nirwana beach in a bay
south of Bau Bau. Accommodation is in shared rooms
with their own bathroom facilities including western
style toilets and showers. There is a large eating and
meeting area, lab facilities for analysis of the video
data, email facilities, lecture area and a fully equipped
dive centre.

Malaysia
Malaysia
Equator

Equator

Sumatra

Kalimantan

Sulawesi
Buton

Jakarta
Java

INDONESIA

Makassar
Wallacea Region

I learnt a massive amount, gained confidence in


conducting surveys and had the chance to apply my
undergrad bio knowledge, while making great friends.
Ed Vallis, University of Bristol

Booking your international flights:


Airport: Makassar/Ujung Pandang Airport (Sultan Hasanuddin
International)
When to arrive? On the Monday before your expedition begins
When to leave? On the Monday (after 1800hrs) after your
expedition ends
Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be
organised by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

Indonesia
30

31

Details of Projects and Expeditions

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1
Set expedition length: 6 weeks

Expedition 2
Expedition 3

27 June - 7 August 2017

27June
- 24 July 2017
11 July - 07 August 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


You will spend your first two weeks completing jungle training and
assisting with research teams (IN001 & IN002). You then choose to
spend the next 2 or 4 weeks on Hoga island. Here you can learn to
dive, complete the survey techniques course (IN005/07/08) and, time
allowing, assist with data collection in the research assistant pool IN011.

Expedition 4

18 July - 31 July 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This expedition is designed to give you a brief overview of what a
field research site is like. You will complete IN001 and IN002.

Expedition 5

20 June - 17 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


After completing IN001 you will visit the mainland of Sulawesi, Muna
Island and Wowoni Island IN003. There is no expedition similar to
this project available at any other Opwall site. You will be involved
with transect surveys for birds, estimating food resources for birds on
different islands, mist netting and recording songscapes.

Expedition 6

20 June - 17 July 2017


(Hoga or Bau Bau)
11 July - 7 August 2017
(Hoga or Bau Bau)
13 June - 7 August 2017 (Hoga)
27 June - 7 August 2017 (Hoga)

/
/
Set expedition length: 4, 6 or 8 weeks
This expedition is the ideal way to achieve a high level of
research experience at a marine base, giving you 4/6/8 weeks
working alongside leading scientists. Giving you the opportunity
to learn to dive and complete the survey techniques course
(IN005/06/07/08/09/10). You can then assist the various research
teams IN011/12 (4 weeks) and IN011 (4, 6 & 8 weeks).

Expedition 8
Expedition 10

20 June - 3 July 2017 (Hoga Island)


11 July - 24 July 2017 (Hoga Island)

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


On this expedition you can learn to dive and complete the survey
techniques (IN005/07/08). If already a qualified diver or you opt to
snorkel rather than dive you will be able to assist researchers IN011.

Expedition 11

20 June - 17 July 2017 (Hoga Island)


Divemaster Training

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition runs at the Hoga Island Marine Research Centre and
enables students already at Rescue Diver level with 60 logged dives
to complete their Divemaster qualification IN013.

4 July - 31 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


After completing jungle training IN001, you will then move to the
remote forests of north Buton Island and be working with the rapid
biodiversity assessment team IN004. This expedition is for those
who want a remote forest experience and offers the chance of being
on a team that discovers new species to science or new records.

Forest training courses


IN001 Jungle survival and Wallacea wildlife course
Series of lectures and practicals designed to teach you how to identify
many of the unique species likely to be encountered in the forest and
the survey techniques used to assess different taxa and ensure you are
able to work safely in the field.

Optional training courses


Canopy Access - The course can be done as part of the jungle
training and will show you how to ascend 40m+ into the canopy along
with a qualified instructor. This optional half day course costs US$170.
Optional additional dive training - If you are already dive trained,
you can sign up for additional dive training in your spare time (PADI
Advanced Open Water & PADI Rescue Diver with EFR).
32

Expedition 7/12

Expedition 9/13

Expedition 14
Expedition 15

Marine training courses


IN005/06 PADI Open Water course - Hoga/Bau Bau
This course involves a combination of theory lessons, confined
water dives and open water dives to gain an official scuba diving
qualification.
IN007/09 Reef survey techniques on Hoga Island/Bau Bau diving
IN008/10 Reef survey techniques on Hoga Island/Bau Bau snorkelling
The course consists of lectures and in-water practicals and teaches
identification of common genera and species of coral and other
macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish
families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of
methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine
environment.
IN013 Divemaster training at the Hoga Island Marine
Research Centre
If you are already qualified as a PADI Rescue Diver and have at least
60 logged dives you can complete the PADI Divemaster training.
Divemaster training has to be done as a full time commitment so you
wont have the chance to join the research projects on this option. An
advantage of completing the course with Opwall is the opportunity it
gives you of joining the programme as a Divemaster staff member at
any of the Opwall sites worldwide in future years.

IN002 Biodiversity surveys


At each of the four camps there are teams of field biologists
completing standardised surveys of a series of key taxa. As a
research assistant you will be able to rotate between the different
teams at the start of your stay, and if you have a particular interest
to then specialise working with that team. The data gathered from
these standardised surveys across Buton island will help to track
changes in the biodiversity of various taxa, or population levels of
key species. One survey team will be quantifying forest structure and
calculating carbon biomass in the forests, which is a key skill if you
are interested in learning how carbon trading schemes can help with
wildlife conservation. Another team will be completing pollard counts
and baited traps to quantify butterfly communities. Herpetofauna
can be studied from pitfall traps installed at each camp which are
checked daily, as well as standardised search times and night time
spotlighting for amphibians. Another team will be completing bird
point count surveys, and working with this team will enable you
to learn some of the calls of the highly endemic bird fauna of this
island. Large mammal surveys for macaques, anoa, deer, wild pig
and also large game bird surveys are completed using distance
sampling for sightings, patch occupancy analysis for signs of large
mammals and camera trapping. In addition, harp traps and mist nets
will be run in the evenings to quantify bat communities.
IN003 Island mobile team
This team will be specialising in examining various evolutionary
questions using changes in the bird fauna between the mainland of
Sulawesi and a series of different offshore islands. The teams will
be involved in transect surveys to quantify the bird communities on
different islands as well as estimating the available food (i.e. flowers,
fruit, arthropod abundance) for birds between those islands. In
addition, a separate team will be running mist net surveys to capture
as wide a range of species as possible on each island and recording
morphometric measurements of captured birds to study changes
between islands. Recordings of the bird calls on the different islands
will be taken to determine whether there are distinct dialects.
This is an excellent project for those interested in understanding
evolutionary mechanisms and also potentially discovering new island
bird endemic species or sub species (see expedition 5).
IN004 Rapid biodiversity assessment team
The forests and mountains of northwest Buton are the last unexplored
area of the island. Access to these forests is very difficult hence
why this area has been unsurveyed to date and also why they may
yield some exciting results. In 2016 a small team of guides, field
biologists and volunteers trekked into part of this remote area and
made some exciting discoveries. However, there is another major
part of these forests, including some that are still to be explored. In

2017 a small team will access these areas using temporary camps,
surveying for reptiles and conducting spotlight surveys at night for
amphibians. There will be megafauna (large mammals and game
birds) and bird surveys and also treks to as many of the habitat types
as possible within the survey area of each camp. There are limited
places on this option since the survey teams have to be kept small
and mobile. On this project the volunteers will need to help with
setting up and running temporary camps as well as cutting transects
(see expedition 6).

Indonesia

Indonesia Research Assistant Options

IN011 Marine research assistant pool on Hoga Island


This option can be done for multiple weeks. Hoga Island is the
most published site in the Coral Triangle and each season there
are a number of different marine research projects operating.
Some of these projects include routine monitoring of the reef fish
communities using stereo-video, video analysis of coral intercept
transects, belt transects for marine macroinvertebrates and analysis
of fish landings from a series of artisanal fishing techniques being
used. In addition though, there are a series of specialist research
projects running each year including studies on physiological
adaptations of different marine species (e.g. banded sea kraits,
mudskippers), behaviour of anemone and cleaner fish, ecological
studies on coral and fish associations and many other topics. A list of
projects will be written up each day on the whiteboard in the research
centre and you will be able to choose from the projects available and
try all of them or specialise in one or more of the projects.
IN012 Reef monitoring, shark & ray abundance & diversity
This option can be done for multiple weeks and is based at the Bau
Bau Marine Training and Research centre. The reef monitoring project
is aimed at gathering data using stereo-video and coral intercept
transect surveys on the reefs in the bay and surrounding islands,
with a view to create an MPA to provide some protection for these
spectacular reefs. The shark and ray project is in collaboration with
the Global FinPrint Project which aims to document elasmobranch
populations on tropical coral reefs through the use of baited remote
underwater video (BRUV). The main aim of this global survey is
to collect baseline data on diversity, abundance, and distribution
of shark and ray populations, but it will also be documenting sea
snake, sea turtle, mammal, and moray eel presences. The project
will involve spending time as part of a small science team working
on boats, baiting and setting the BRUV at different locations around
the islands surrounding the Bau Bau Centre. Late afternoons and
evenings will be spent back in the lab, watching the video footage
collected and analysing the data. Research Assistants will be
provided with the necessary training and will play an integral role in
collecting and analysing the data for this important project.

Indonesia
33

Indonesian marine research topics

The only topic suitable for an undergraduate research project in the Indonesia forest
is with the mobile team visiting the mainland of SE Sulawesi and the islands of
Muna, Wowoni and Manui.

IN122 Functional ecology of coral reefs (start dates 13


June or 27 June; need to have completed reef survey
techniques course and be dive trained if incorporating a
diving element into the research)

IN124 Coral reefs and environmental change (start


dates 13 June or 27 June; need to have completed
reef survey techniques course and be dive trained if
incorporating a diving element into the research)

Coral reefs exist within a dynamic equilibrium, their form


and function being driven by environmental conditions and
interactions between the species that inhabit them. Dominance
of reef building corals is diminishing across the world, whilst
other taxa such as algae start to dominate. The shift from
coral to algal dominance has been well documented in the
Caribbean and appears common place. However, within the
mega biodiverse reefs of the Wakatobi there has been no
such shift. One hypothesis is that the levels of algal removal
by herbivorous fish species reduce the competitive ability of
algae preventing a regime change. However, as many species
of larger fish herbivores are exploited it is possible that algae
will increase in abundance, start to dominate benthic systems
and bring about a decrease in reef biodiversity. There is thus
an urgent need to quantify the amount of herbivory and to
explore the relationship between herbivore biomass, rates
of herbivory and habitat quality. Levels of herbivory can be
estimated through examination of the biomass of herbivores
present on reefs coupled with studies of feeding behaviour.
It remains unknown whether different fish species exploit
the same algal species and therefore it is quite possible that
it is the assemblage of herbivores present that is key rather
than the overall biomass of this functional group combined.
Dissertations working in this area will help managers to identify
the key species and critical biomass of herbivores needed to
ensure reef building corals remain competitive and continue to
underpin the extreme globally important biodiversity of reefs
within the coral triangle.

The implications of short and long-term environmental change


have been widely discussed in the scientific literature and
media. The sensitivity of reef building corals to environmental
conditions varies greatly between species. It now appears that
the most sensitive species tend to have a branching or tabulate
growth form. Such species, most often belonging to the genus
Acropora, greatly add to the physical complexity of the reef
scape. Their loss from the system will reduce physical rugosity
and most likely biological diversity, and the implications of
this loss needs to be carefully considered. The 2016 thermal
anomaly had a limited impact on reefs of the Wakatobi as
compared to other regions, although the impact was greatest
on branching and tabulate corals particularly in shallow waters.
This leads to worrying uncertainty over whether fish species
formally associated with these growth forms are still abundant
or whether they have also been lost from the system. The
ecological consequences of the loss of these fish depends on
the species in question and their larger role in the ecology of
these reefs. Research is required that examines the relationship
between branching and tabulate corals, and the degree of
fidelity that exists between these habitat types, resident fish
species and the sensitive coral growth forms. Dissertations in
this field could also focus on the abundance of branching and
tabulate corals across reef sites and reef zones to determine
the actual impact of the 2016 bleaching event on the reefs of
the Wakatobi.

IN121 Island birds as a method of studying evolutionary mechanisms


(start date 20 June; need to have competed IN001)
This is a specialised team led by academics studying how bird species and
communities change in a series of offshore islands in SE Sulawesi. One student
working with this team in previous years was assessed to have produced the best
undergraduate dissertation in the UK from her project. The team will be visiting
the mainland of SE Sulawesi, Muna, Wowoni and Manui Islands, mist netting
birds and gathering detailed morphometric measurements, as well as recording
the calls and how they differ between islands. Data gathered on this specialist
expedition, together with that from previous similar studies by this team on
other islands in the region as well as the mainland, will allow some interesting
evolutionary questions to be asked. For example in sexually dimorphic species
such as sunbirds and flowerpeckers, there may be some difference in diet between
the sexes because of small differences in bill size and shape. If this is correct then
it would be expected that at high densities where food resources are limited, that
sexual dimorphism would increase the range of resources being exploited. Another
study could look at how the black-naped monarch, which is a bird that lives
permanently in populations on small islands, varies between islands, compared
to the supertramp Island Monarch which continually interbreed between islands.
Another project could look at the possible existence of cryptic species amongst
the widespread grey-capped emerald dove or amongst the abundant munias the
Wallacea version of Darwins finches. This team have previously described both
a cryptic subspecies and a cryptic species from nearby islands, so the potential
for further new species to be discovered there is very real. Given that data on the
abundance of food (insects, flowers, fruit), together with density estimates of bird
species exploiting those resources, has already been collected by this team from
a number of islands in the region, adding similar data from these new islands
would give a large data set that could be analysed to determine whether local
food availability is a good predictor of bird species composition and abundance.
Whether birds on these islands separate food resources temporally could be
examined from assessment of abundance and feeding patterns at different points
throughout the day. A further option would be to compare the dialects of birds on
different islands from sonogram analysis.

Indonesia

Indonesian terrestrial research topics

IN123 Biological agents of reef mortality (start dates


13 June or 27 June; need to have completed reef survey
techniques course and be dive trained if incorporating a
diving element into the research)
Reef building corals are the key ecosystem architects
that produce the complex physical structure that provides
habitat for the many thousands of species inhabiting reefs.
Numerous different species of animals, algae and microbes
threaten reef building coral species. The extent of this threat
is largely dictated by environmental conditions. In a healthy
reef system agents causing mortality and the loss of coral
cover is outweighed by the recruitment of new corals and the
growth of existing colonies. However, in many reef systems
environmental quality is decreasing, resulting in corals being
put under increasing negative pressure and the balance
starting to tip in favour of coral loss. There is a continual
need to examine the key causes of coral mortality on any reef
and particularly following increased environmental stress
such as those caused by the 2016 global thermal anomaly.
Research is required to determine the extent of threat caused
by different agents of coral mortality such as corallivorous
fish and invertebrates, bioeroders, actively competing
benthic taxa as well as increased microbial activity resulting
in coral disease. Research obtained needs to be compared
between different sites and reef zones in conjunction with full
environmental and biological characterisation to determine
which species of coral and which systems are most greatly
threatened, and what management is needed to reduce coral
loss and increase coral growth.

Indonesia
34

35

IN125 Behavioural adaptations of dwarf cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis


(start dates 13 June or 27 June)

IN127 Seagrass and patch reef ecology (start dates 13 June or 27 June;
need to have completed reef survey techniques course)

As a group, cephalopods display a high level of nervous integration resulting in


complex behavioural responses and social interactions that rival those seen in
higher vertebrates. The Wakatobi National Park is home to at least 30 cephalopod
species, many of which can be found inhabiting reef and reef-associated habitats.
The dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) is the most abundant cephalopod species
found in the park, occurring in large numbers near rocky shorelines, on coral
rubble, in seagrass meadows and at mangrove margins. While the species has
some minor commercial value in local artisanal markets, its major importance
lies in their ability to shape habitat ecology by indiscriminately preying on large
numbers of small to medium sized crustaceans. In spite of their ecological
importance, little is known about the feeding behaviour or social interactions in
this species. The primary objective of dissertation projects could include aspects
of feeding behaviour, effects of competition, and social interactions between
individuals of different gender and/or size. Other studies may be considered but
require approval of the field supervisor. All studies would be conducted using
captive animals housed in the Hoga Island Research Laboratory and proposed
studies must be non-lethal. Students must also check with their university advisor
regarding their universities policies and procedures for working with cephalopod
animals. Students are strongly encouraged to contact their project field supervisor
early in the proposal development process.

Tropical seagrass beds are extremely important and provide numerous ecosystem
and ecological services. The Wakatobi harbours some of the most biodiverse
seagrass beds in the world. Seagrass habitat has been shown to provide refuge
and nursery grounds for many economically important invertebrates as well as for
fish, with some species being seagrass specialists whilst others migrate from the
reef into seagrass beds daily or at specific points in their life cycle (ontogenetic
migration). However, like many other important habitats in the world, seagrasses
of the Wakatobi are threatened by numerous anthropogenic activities including
fin-fisheries and invertebrate over-exploitation, trampling, and by the presence of
intertidal seaweed farms. The implications of these activities in isolation and when
combined have not been fully explored or quantified in terms of their ecological
or economic costs. Research is required that examines the implications of
these activities for seagrass productivity, biomass and biodiversity and resulting
consequences for permanent as well as transient invertebrates and fish that depend
on the system for food or refuge. Seagrasses within the Wakatobi extend from
the low tide mark through to the reef flat. This transition zone is characterised
by intermittent coral patch reefs. The ecological significance of these coral
patches, not only in terms of total biodiversity but also through the provision of
nursery areas and transient stop-over sites utilised by fish migrating from reef
to seagrass, has not been fully explored. Therefore within this research topic
the ecological services of shallow subtidal patch reefs could be explored and
questions investigated regarding their conservation value.

IN126 Are mutualistic relationships the norm? (start dates 13 June or


27 June; need to have completed reef survey techniques course and be
dive trained if incorporating a diving element into the research)
An evolutionary strategy for many species existing within mega biodiversity
hotspots such as those of the coral triangle is to form mutualistic relationships
with other species. Mutualistic relationships appear common and many examples
have been well defined. Perhaps the clearest example of these are those that
exists between anemones and their inhabiting anemonefish species and also the
relationship between many species of fish and their cleaners such as the bluestreaked cleaner fish common to the Indo-Pacific. However, many other examples
exist but have yet to be fully explored. Tight associations between species appear
common place and inter-dependency between species is one of the main reasons
relatively small areas can harbour such high levels of species richness. This
research will explore the relationships between previously underexplored species
by describing the interactions between different fish species inhabiting set areas
of reef. For example several species of wrasse can be found to be associated
with species of goatfish that feed within sandy sediments and the trumpetfish,
especially at the juvenile stage, is often seen associated with other elongated fish
where they seek refuge. This research is designed to highlight the commonality
of mutualistic relationships and fish species interactions on reefs of different
biological complexity. Research could also consider the implications of certain
species loss and the interaction such loss has on ecological function.

36

IN128 Coral reef transitions: understanding regime shifts from coral to


sponge dominated states (start dates 13 June or 27 June; need to have
completed reef survey techniques course and be dive trained if incorporating
a diving element into the research)
There are reports from across the world of coral regime shifts, whereby declines
in coral result in increased abundance of other benthic groups. Throughout the
Caribbean these changes are typically to reefs dominated by algae, but in the IndoPacific changes to reefs dominated by other animal groups are more common. In
the last few years there has been particular interest in the sponges as these are one
group of organisms that have been identified as potential winners in the face of
environmental degradation and climate change. Within the Wakatobi a transition
has occurred on one major reef system, Sampela, where coral abundance has
declined over the last 10 years to very low levels, but sponge abundance appears
to be increasing. In particular, this site is dominated by the giant barrel sponge
Xestospongia spp. and the encrusting sponge Lamellodysidea herbacea; these
have also been reported as increasing in abundance in other parts of the IndoPacific. In addition, recent experimental evidence has shown that sponges appear
much more resilient to ocean warming and acidification than coral, so are likely to
be a greater feature of coral reefs in the future. Dissertations in this area will build
on long term datasets to track this shift in dominance and explore the ecosystem
level effects. Projects might include examining population dynamics of key
sponge taxa, exploring predator/prey interactions, competitive relationships and
habitat use patterns as a result of the shift. In order to understand how reefs might
function in the future there is urgent need to understand transitions to reefs that are
no longer dominated by corals. Work in this area will contribute to understanding
the ecosystem functions that might be expected from sponge dominated reefs,
and also allow us to explore potential management interventions to prevent future
regime shifts and restore existing sponge dominated reefs.

Often exhibiting high levels of biodiversity and endemism,


mangrove forests demonstrate a remarkable interdependence
between local flora and fauna such that a loss of diversity or
density in one group has marked adverse effects on the other.
Declines in burrowing crustacean populations, for example,
have been shown to result in reduced organic turnover,
decreased nutrient and energy cycling, and diminished
primary productivity in mangrove species. Fiddler crabs
(Uca species) are one of several semi-terrestrial, burrowing,
mangrove decapods making up a keystone group commonly
referred to as engineers. Indonesia boasts the highest diversity
of fiddler crab species of any country in the world with 14
total species, seven of which can be found within an area of
4-square meters within the Ambeua Mangrove near Hoga
Island. Previous research at the Hoga Marine Laboratory
has shown that local fiddler crab populations are relatively
tolerant of high temperatures; however, with environmental
temperatures across the Malay Archipelago expected to
increase by up to 4C in coming decades, it is unclear how
fiddler crab populations and ultimately mangroe ecosystems,
may be affected. Potential dissertation projects could evaluate
differences in thermal adaptations of Uca spp. occupying
different intertidal regions, or may look at acclimation
responses of a single Uca species. All studies would include
a field observation component, though most of the empirical
work would take place in the Hoga Island Research Laboratory.
Students are strongly encouraged to contact their project field
supervisor early in the proposal development process.

Indonesia

IN129 Evaluating potential effects of rising


environmental temperatures on thermal ecology
of fiddler crabs, Uca spp. (start dates 13 June or
27 June)

IN130 Long-term changes in the community ecology


of coral reefs (start dates 13 June or 27 June; need to
have completed reef survey techniques course and be
dive trained)
The global demise of coral reefs has been well documented
in the scientific literature. The reefs of the Wakatobi have
been assessed by Operation Wallacea for the past 15 years.
The abundance of reef building corals has declined but other
functional benthic taxa, such as soft corals, have increased. As
well as an overall decrease in reef building corals, the types of
corals present, both in terms of species and colony structure
have also changed. Where once reefs in the region harboured
a mix of different colony growth forms (including branching,
table, and foliose corals), the system today is dominated by
massive (boulder-like) and encrusting corals. The physical
form of the reef is therefore changing which has implications
for resident and transient fish communities. During 2017
the research teams would like to complete the monitoring of
reefs around the Wakatobi and use previous data combined
with the final year of data collection, to determine how fish
communities respond to changes in biological and physical
structure of reefs. The detailed data set across six sites and
three reef zones will allow managers to identify the likely
consequences of long term changes in habitat quality for both
biodiversity and food productivity. The relationship between
benthic structure and fish community is a complex one but if
habitats are to be actively restored we need to know how the
fish community is likely to respond. Projects here could focus
on the system as a whole, or could identify particular fish taxa
that have changed and examine their interaction with specific
reef structures across different spatial scales. For example we
would predict that larger predatory fish respond to complex reef
structures over larger spatial scales than smaller residential
fish but that complexity of habitat may be needed at every
spatial scale to support a healthy, biodiverse and productive
fish community. Projects could therefore utilise a large
historical data set, further assessment of varied reef sites and
could include taxa specific assessment utilising behavioural
studies. Data collected will be used to define future protective
and active management intervention.

IN173 Fisheries research in local communities (start dates 13 June or 27 June)


Opwall have been working with local fishing communities in the Wakatobi for almost 20 years, developing a deep
understanding of the conservation issues associated with declining fish stocks and producing several award winning
dissertations along the way. Opportunities exist for students to build on this extensive experience by completing dissertation
projects focusing on artisanal fishing pressure by working alongside Opwall staff and local Indonesian partners in small
fishing communities on and around Kaledupa Island. To talk about this opportunity, and how it might be suitable for
your undergraduate or masters dissertation research, please email Dr Dan Exton dan.exton@opwall.com

Indonesia
37

Madagascar

Facilities
Forest
Mahamavo
The main camp is set on the edge of Mariarano village.
There is a small field laboratory with a library,
computers running the biodiversity database, office,
GIS and statistics software. The camp has a large
covered area where meals are taken and lectures given.
Accommodation is in shared tents and the camp has
jungle showers and toilets.

Field camps - Matsedroy & Antafiameva


There are two smaller field camps. Matsedroy and
Antafiameva are used as bases for the surveys in the
more remote parts of the forest. Students will stay in
shared tents, bucket showers and field toilets with
shared dining and lecture areas. Electricity is available
for a short period in the evenings and during lectures.

Madagascaroverview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4 & 6 week options
Research Assistant options 3 set expeditions
Forest Dissertation options 10
Key facts l 90% of all animals and plants found on
Madagascar are endemic to the island
l Only 10% of original Madagascan forest coverage
remains so urgent need for conservation
l Unstudied coral reef systems at Nosy Be
l Worlds fourth largest island

Mahamavo research objectives


Madagascar boasts some of the most spectacular biodiversity in the world:
lemurs, tenrecs, baobabs and over half of all known chameleon species.
Much of this biodiversity is endemic. The Operation Wallacea surveys
are completing research on the dry forests and associated wetlands of
Mahamavo in the north and the reefs around Nosy Be Island.
The Mahamavo dry forest ecosystem and adjacent wetlands have exceptional
biodiversity. Diurnal lemurs include Coquerels sifaka (Propithecus
coquereli), and common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus) with another 5 - 6
species of nocturnal lemurs. Madagascar is the global centre of diversity
for chameleons. Two spectacular species are found in Mahamavo, Furcifer
oustaleti and Furcifer angeli. The wetlands support the critically endangered
Madagascan fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), a flagship species for the
area, and Humblots heron (Ardea humbloti), an endangered species.
Whilst Madagascar has now declared 17% of its land area as protected areas,
much of this land is already severely degraded, so the actual area of land
under protection is much smaller. An alternative approach to just declaring
land as protected and not allowing any usage, is to develop community
managed areas such as Mahamavo, where there is a patchwork of protected
and managed areas. DTZ, the German Technical Support Agency, has
established a series of community managed forests in the Mahamavo area
that appear to be successful and may form the basis for conservation and
improving livelihoods in other parts of Madagascar.

The objectives for the Opwall research programme are to monitor how
the forest structure and biodiversity changes over time in the community
managed forests of Mahamavo, both to document the performance of a
community managed area in terms of biodiversity conservation as well as
to identify additional areas where a forest replanting programme could be
initiated to extend the forest coverage. In addition the Opwall teams are
documenting the biodiversity value of the adjacent wetlands with a view to
getting this area upgraded to a Ramsar site.

Nosy Be research objectives


Nosy Be is the premier dive destination for Madagascar but there are few
data available on the reef fish communities or health of the reefs. In 2014
Opwall began completing surveys around the Lokobe Reserve area and
anecdotal data indicated that fish stocks and reef health had improved from
previous years. The team will
be completing stereo-video
transect surveys of the reefs
Preparing for an expedition can be
to collect data on the reef
daunting but there is a lot of support from
the staff. This was my first time travelling
fish community composition
without family and I absolutely loved it.
and biomass, the percentage
Im really glad I did this expedition.
coral cover, coral community
Isobel Ullsitalo, University of East Anglia
structure and levels of bleaching
and disease on the reefs.

Marine
Nosy Be
Accommodation is in tents next to the beach and there
is a toilet and shower block on site. The research site
has a communal eating and lecture area with a fully
equipped dive centre.

A truly unique experience. The biodiversity


in Madagascar is something that should be
witnessed by every biologist. The skills gained
here I feel will be career forming.
Russel Frew, University of Manchester

Travel information
Booking your international flights:
Airport: Antananarivo (Ivato Airport)
When to arrive? On the Friday before your expedition begins
When to leave? On the Sunday after your expedition ends
Getting from the airport to the expedition start point
can be organised by the Opwall travel team
internaltravel@opwall.com

Madagascar
38

39

Forest training courses

Marine training courses

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com

MA001 Madagascar wildlife and culture course - A series


of lectures and practicals in the field to demonstrate different
ecological survey techniques being used and how data from the
surveys can be analysed. The course also introduces some of
the endemic species and habitats likely to be encountered on the
expedition and describes some of the conservation strategies being
used in Madagascar.

MA003 PADI Open Water - This course involves a combination of


theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to gain an
official scuba diving qualification.

Expedition 1

18 June - 14 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition offers a brilliant introduction into Madagascan
biodiversity. The first two weeks are spent in the dry forests of
Mahamavo. After completing MA001, you will then be working with
the survey teams MA002. For the last 2 weeks you will travel to the
island of Nosy Be. If not already dive trained then you will be able
to complete MA003 before moving on to MA004. If you are already
qualified or wish only to snorkel you can spend your final week with
the survey teams on MA006.

Expedition 2

Expedition 3

9 July - 4 August 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition has the first 3 weeks gaining an in-depth working
knowledge of the dry forests of Mahamavo (MA001 & MA002)
before allowing you to experience a week on the island of Nosy Be.
Here, if you are not already dive trained then you would be able to
complete MA003 or if already dive trained or only wanting to snorkel
then you would complete MA004/05.

MA004 Reef survey techniques course - diving


MA005 Reef survey techniques course - snorkelling
This course consists of lectures and twice-daily practicals. Designed
to train you in some of the survey techniques used in the marine
environment to assess the status of reefs and their associated
fish communities. Techniques covered include stereo-video and
Underwater Visual Census surveys for fish communities, line
intercept surveys for coral cover and analysis of these using video,
belt transect surveys for macroinvertebrates and quadrat surveys.
The course also teaches identification of some of the commoner
species encountered.

Madagascar

Madagascar Research Assistant Options

Optional additional dive training

If you are already dive trained, you can sign up for additional dive
training in your spare time. These courses include PADI Advanced
Open Water (US$220) and PADI Rescue Diver with EFR (US$400).

18 June - 30 June 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This expedition is designed to give you a brief overview of what a
field research site is like. You will complete MA001 before moving
to assist researchers on MA002.

Details of Projects and Expeditions:


MA002 Dry forest and wetlands biodiversity assessment: This
option involves helping a large team of academics and specialist field
biologists completing annual surveys of a range of target taxa. The
teams are based at the main camp in Mariarano or in one of the even
more remote satellite camps. Activities include:
Completing herpetofauna sample routes both by day and night for
snakes, chameleons, geckos and frogs.
Boat based spotlight surveys for crocodiles are also being
completed and there are specialist scientists working on colour
change in chameleons.
Nocturnal lemur ecology and behaviour surveys are being
completed using an extensive live trapping programme.
Bird point count surveys and mist net surveys are also being
undertaken as well as boat based surveys for the wetland birds.
Butterfly and damselfly surveys using pollard counts are also being
completed at each of the sites.
Forest structure and composition is surveyed through a number of
20m x 20m forest plots with various indicators of forest physical
parameters recorded including diameter at breast height (DBH) of
each tree, canopy cover and sapling density.
Volunteers can rotate between these survey groups throughout their
stay and will get to see much of the dry forest and wetland fauna of
Madagascar.

MA006 Reef fish and coral monitoring: The team will be gathering
data on the Nosy Be reefs using a stereo-video system developed by
the University of Western Australia. This system allows a surveyor to
swim along transects and video the fish encountered. Then in the lab,
by playing back the two video images on a single computer screen
using specialist software, not only can the images be freeze-framed to
accurately identify all fish encountered, but also size estimation can be
done to below 5% error.
Benthic communities on the island reefs will be surveyed by laying
50m tapes along depth contours. A surveyor swims along the tape
holding it in their left hand and using a video under their other
shoulder, filming the tape and adjacent corals.
Coral cover and community structure of hard and soft corals are then
assessed from lab based analysis of the video footage using the
continuous method.
In addition, invertebrate belt transects will be used to monitor the
populations of key species including sea urchins.
Volunteers on this project will be helping with laying transects,
collecting data in the water, and completing the video surveys, but will
also be heavily involved in the analysis of the images.

Madagascar
40

41

Madagascar dissertations and research topics


MA131 Spatial behavioural ecology of the Malagasy giant hognose snake
(start date 18 June)
The Malagasy giant hognose snake (Leioheterodon madagascariensis), is
Madagascars largest colubrid snake, attaining sizes greater than 1.5m in length.
This species has been documented engaging in ritual combat and active nest
defence, and a preliminary investigation suggests that the behavioural ecology
of L. madagascariensis is more complex than previously thought. For this project
all sightings will be recorded using a GPS receiver and all animals encountered
will be captured, measured, weighed and microchipped to allow individual
identification. Other novel methods may also be employed to investigate the daily
habitat usage patterns of each individual. All data collected will be visualised and
analysed utilising GIS software.
MA132 Ecology of amphibians in Mahamavo (start date 18 June)
Amphibians play a vital role in the ecosystems where they are found. Nine
species of amphibians are currently known from Mahamavo, some of which occur
in relatively high abundances, even during the long dry season. Data for this
project will be obtained by surveying rice paddies, ephemeral and permanent
ponds and lakes; recording all encounters; noting the species, the number of
individuals and the specific details of the immediate habitat where the animals
are found. All data collected will be used to create a monitoring system for future
studies whereby the species composition at each water body can be monitored.
MA133 Thermal ecology and UVB requirements of chameleons, skinks
and geckos (start date 18 June)
Ultraviolet light (UVB) is an essential requirement for vitamin D synthesis in the
skin of lizards, allowing the uptake of dietary calcium which is necessary for
proper bone growth and neurological function. There are also thermal demands
upon these animals in order for successful vitamin D production. This project
aims to investigate i) the thermal and UVB preferences of some of the lizard
species at Mahamavo and ii) how these species utilise their habitat to optimise
their exposure to the sun, and hence UVB irradiation, while thermoregulating.
Data will be collected by surveying routes for lizard species during daylight
hours. Once found, UVB intensity, measured using a solarmeter, temperature
and other habitat characteristics will be collected along with morphometric
measurements of the individual animals.
MA134 Colour variability and the ecological use of colour in the
chameleons and geckos of Mahamavo (start date 18 June)
There are a wide range of endemic lizards in the dry deciduous forests of
northwestern Madagascar. Colour is used in fundamentally distinct ways by
the different taxonomic groups of lizards found in Mahamavo. Chameleons are
depicted in the media as solely using colour change for crypticity, but in reality
the main role of colour change here is in communication with other chameleons.
There is some interesting colour variability within Angels chameleon and
Oustalets chameleon as well. There are three species of Uroplatus geckos that
really do use colour and colour-change to maintain crypticity. One species is a
dead-leaf mimic, a second is a twig mimic and the third is a bark mimic. Colour
is variable within species and some change colour quite effectively. Phelsuma
are a third group of lizards in which there is substantial colour variability within
individuals. They respond to changes in lighting and temperature as well as
potential threats from predators. Questions regarding variation in colour and how
colour-change is being used can be addressed in all three groups of lizards.
Colour can be quantified through using standardized photographs or by using
a specialised reflectance spectrometer depending on the specific research
question being addressed. Analyses of colour can use general linear models to
examine variation in hue, saturation and value and look for statistically significant
differences or by using principal components analysis to examine and compare
entire reflectance spectrums.

42

MA135 Microhabitats and niche partitioning in chameleons, skinks,


geckos or snakes in Madagascar (start date 18 June)
The dry forests in Mahamavo support a very diverse reptile assemblage which
share the same habitat. Competitive exclusion theory suggests that sympatric
species must partition their niches for them to persist and the reptiles in this
forest provide a great system to investigate how this occurs. In Mahamavo
there are two abundant chameleon species, Furcifer oustaleti and Furcifer
angeli. It is thought that Oustalets chameleon prefers more degraded forest to
Angels chameleon, but additionally these species may be selecting different
microhabitat niches in terms of height above the ground selected for feeding,
branch thickness, ambient temperatures or structural complexity of vegetation.
A similar situation exists with a pair of closely related skink species Trachylepis
elegans and Trachylepis gravenhorstii which are both very abundant in the forest.
It appears that T. elegans is more abundant in drier habitats than T. gravenhorstii,
but the picture is probably more complicated at the microhabitat scale. There
are also three species of leaf-tailed Uroplatus geckos: U. ebenaui, U. henekli
and U. guntheri which share the same cryptic adaptations and feeding strategies
yet differ markedly in size. With field data collected from a large number of
individuals, it would be possible to compare niches and identify factors which
separate species niches using principal component analysis, linear discriminant
models or regression trees.
MA136 Niche separation and the impacts of disturbance on bird
communities in the dry forest (start date 18 June)
Birds are often used as indicator species for overall ecosystem condition, with
species from different ecological niches being impacted to varying degrees by
habitat disturbance. The avifauna of the Mahamavo forests contains a number of
restricted range species, and other species being restricted to particular habitats.
Students choosing this subject will undertake timed species counts and mist net
surveys to make comparisons between bird communities in different habitat types
and between differing levels of human habitat disturbance. Species distribution
models using the spatial records for a given species can then be constructed and
the percentage of the variability that can be explained by various environmental
covariates (e.g. elevation, climate, land cover) determined in order to construct
and validate a statistical model of the probability that a given species will be
found in a particular landscape unit. These models can then be expressed as a
habitat suitability map and the overlap between these species used to determine
the level of niche separation. These dissertation subjects will contribute to our
understanding of the avian communities of Mahamavo, and in particular to
determining the habitat preferences and relative impacts of habitat disturbance
on the bird species from different ecological niches and of different levels of
conservation priority.

MA137 Regional biogeography, ecology and behaviour


of nocturnal lemurs in the dry deciduous forest of
northwestern Madagascar
(start date 18 June)
Lemurs are 100% endemic to Madagascar and are confined
to the remaining forest habitats of the island. They are a
highly diverse taxonomic group (>100 species) and at the
same time the most threatened group of mammals with about
94% of all assessed species being categorized as either
vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered (IUCN,
July 2012). In this situation it is of utmost importance to
understand their local and regional distribution as well as the
behavioural constraints, ecological plasticity and ecological
requirements of each lemur species in order to determine
their vulnerability towards becoming extinct in the near future.
Among the nine lemur species that have been reported from
the Mariarano area, six are nocturnal (Microcebus murinus,
M. ravelobensis, Cheirogaleus medius, Phaner pallescens,
Lepilemur edwardsi, Avahi occidentalis). Nocturnal lemurs are
generally much less studied than their diurnal cousins but face
the same anthropogenic threats. They are therefore chosen as
models for this project. The aim of this research is to study
the abundance, spatial distribution, ecology, and behaviour
of three different nocturnal lemur genera (Microcebus spp.,
Lepilemur edwardsi, Avahi occidentalis) in various forest
fragments in the Mahamavo region, northwestern Madagascar.

Madagascar

MA139 Landscape ecology in Madagascar


(start date 18 June)
By conducting biodiversity surveys we build up a knowledge
base concerning patterns in the environment. However, in
order to make resilient conservation plans for a dynamic
future characterised by land cover change, climate change,
human population growth and infrastructure development,
we need to be able to understand the processes which are
affecting the distribution and density of species within the
landscape. It would be possible to join the teams conducting
field surveys of lemurs, forest birds or reptiles to contribute
to data collection, then return to base camp and use our
full database, linked to our spatial data, to infer population
processes from patterns of biodiversity. In particular it
would be very useful to test to what extent various species
in a particular guild are affected by patch size, edge effects,
isolation and compactness and therefore predict the likely
consequences for biodiversity of habitat fragmentation in
future environmental scenarios.
MA140 Community ecology in Madagascar
(start date 18 June)
Which processes (including habitat and ecological
interactions) structure communities of forest birds, reptiles
and lemurs in Mahamavo? In terms of habitat, there is scope
for comparison of primary and secondary dry forest and
exploration of the effects of gradients in moisture between
relatively moist and highly xeric forests. This might permit
the identification of indicator species for particular forest
types. A more sophisticated approach would be to use Mantel
tests to test a suite of competing hypotheses about the
environmental processes which explain pairwise dissimilarity
in the community of reptiles/birds/lemurs. Pairs could be
studied and differences investigated as a function of distance,
difference in environmental variables such as moisture, and
difference in habitat configuration. Additionally it would be
possible to test whether ecological interactions, especially
competition, within a taxonomic group may be structuring
the community. This could be achieved by co-occurrence
tests or generalised dissimilarity models. For some
groups, development of ecological dissimilarity (ED) based
monitoring indicators for environmental condition which
track communities through ecological space through time
would be a very promising direction to investigate. Alternative
directions to take might be to make distribution models and
then maps of betadiversity or to use numerical classification
to make maps of community types. Finally, for individual
taxonomic groups such as birds, it is possible to test for
nestedness of communities among a set of sites.

MA138 Species distribution modelling in Madagascar


(start date 18 June)
Distribution models allow a set of spatial records for a given
species (from our databases) to be integrated with maps
of environmental covariates (e.g. elevation, climate and
land cover) in order to construct and validate a statistical
model of the probability that a given species will be found
in a particular landscape unit. These models can then be
expressed as a habitat suitability map. It will be possible for
students to join one of the science teams and contribute to
collecting field data for lemurs, forest birds, wetland birds,
or reptiles and amphibians and then use our entire dataset to
make models for a set of species using either general linear
modelling (GLM) or Maxent. Outputs from these studies
would be very helpful as the maps produced can feed directly
into our systematic conservation planning process and inform
the management of the Mahamavo region. High quality maps
are also excellent communication tools for explaining the
significance of the site to decision makers.

Madagascar
43

Mexico

Facilities
Forest
Calakmul
Within the Biosphere reserve we use three main field camps, they are very similar in their accommodation but their
habitats are vastly different. KM20, Hormiguero and Mancalona all have communal eating areas, accommodation is
in tents. In Hormiguero the field site is much smaller and so the lecture area is shared with the eating area, it makes
for a very beautiful field camp though and what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in atmosphere. In Mancalona
and KM20 there are designated areas for lectures and data processing. All sites have dry toilets and jungle showers,
to conserve water as much as possible showers are replaced with rustic bucket showers.
Mexico 2016 was an incredible adventure that
I will remember for the rest of my life. I learnt
so much about field biology and conservation
strategies, met so many like minded and friendly
people, experienced a wide range of cultures and
had so much fun every day.
Morganna Turner, McMaster University

Dos Naciones is a little different, an extremely remote camp, which offers the most intense jungle experience.
Accommodation is in hammocks with integrated tarps and mosquito nets arranged around a campfire.

Marine
Akumal

Mexicooverview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4, 6 & 8 week options
Research Assistant options 4 set expeditions
Forest Dissertation options 5
Marine dissertation options 6
Key facts l The Selva Maya (Mayan Jungle) is the largest
expanse of tropical forest outside of the Amazon
l The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is one of the
last remaining stands of virgin forest in Mexico
l Calakmul is one of the two largest ancient Mayan
ruined cities
l Best chance of seeing endangered species like
jaguar and tapir
l Akumal has a huge number of nesting turtles
each summer and a permanent population of
green turtles

Forest research objectives


The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Mexico is a huge expanse of tropical
forest that is part of the Selva Maya that encompasses Mexico, Guatemala
and Belize and spans over 10.6 million hectares, making it the largest
section of tropical forest north of the Amazon. This stretch of forest was also
home to the Ancient Mayan civilization and the city of Calakmul was one of
the largest cities during the pre-classic and classic period of the Mayans
(250BC to 900AD). Today the extensive ruined cities lie sprawled through the
dense jungle, with some of the taller structures towering above the canopy
at 62m in height. In addition, Calakmul contains diverse and abundant
wildlife with many endemic species. The forest is one of the few remaining
strongholds of large mammals such as jaguar, puma, Bairds tapir and spider
monkey in addition to over 90 species of herpetofauna, 50 species of bat,
and 360 resident bird species. For this reason, Calakmul is a UNESCO World
Heritage Site of Culture and Nature.
The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is an extremely important wildlife corridor
that ensures gene flow between animal populations, and ensures that
populations can withstand natural disasters such as droughts, forest fires,

hurricanes and floods. Moreover, forest corridors are crucial for animals
with extensive ranging patterns such as jaguar and tapir. Although the
reserve itself is very well managed, the forest surrounding the reserve
that connects Calakmul to the other protected areas in the Selva Maya is
disappearing at an alarming rate. The cause of the problem is increased
population size combined with an unpredictable climate causing agriculture
to fail. In conjunction with the reserve management team and our project
partners Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatan, we have developed ecotourism and
sustainable agriculture projects with local Mayan communities in the buffer
zone of the reserve so that they can live in harmony with the forest ecosystem.

Marine research objectives


Akumal is a small coastal town located approximately 2 hours drive south
from the major tourist destination of Cancun. The name Akumal literally
means home of the turtles in Mayan. It earned this name due to the
numerous turtle nesting sites along the beaches and the permanent presence
of juvenile turtles in the seagrasses just off shore. Prior to established
tourism in the Yucatan, the only real source of income was from fishing.
The reefs were so heavily overfished that the entire ecosystem almost
collapsed. Moreover, sea turtles and their eggs were a major food source
rather than an attraction to be admired, resulting in a serious decline in
the turtle population. In an attempt to save the reef ecosystem and provide
alternative income for local people, dive and snorkel based tourism was
actively encouraged by the Mexican government. Tourism in the area has
steadily increased over the last 20 years, but now it has brought problems of
its own. More hotels are being built to accommodate tourists leading to loss
of important nesting habitat for turtles, loss of mangrove habitat that cleans
water and prevents sediment from washing onto the reef, and too many
people snorkelling with turtles.
There are long-term datasets relating to coral reef diversity and turtle nesting
in Akumal that are collected year-round. The Operation Wallacea research
team help to collect additional data. The main research objective for the
Akumal research project is to establish an annual monitoring programme for
coastal ecosystem management that includes monitoring of tourist numbers
and their use of the habitat, monitoring the effect of snorkel based tourism on
turtle behaviour, monitoring mangrove connectivity and Diadema abundance
as a symptom of reef deterioration, monitoring of seagrasses and the
juvenile turtles that feed on them, and monitoring of nesting turtles and the
availability of suitable nesting sites.

Set away from the main town of Akumal, students stay in a newly-built, tree house-style lodge. They will sleep in
bunk beds with dormitories spread across three floors. Rooms are shared with up to 14 people. Each dormitory has its
own shower and toilet block. There is a communal eating and lecture area on each floor. The site has a dive training
centre located at the beach.

Travel information
Booking your international flights:
Airport: Cancun International Airport
When to arrive? On the Sunday (before 1800hrs) before your
expedition begins
When to leave? On the Sunday (after 1600hrs) after your
expedition ends at the marine site
When to leave? On the Monday (after 1800hrs) after your
expedition ends at the forest site
Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be
organised by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

Theres nowhere better to experience nesting


turtle in the world, a fantastic experience.
Tom Manktelow, Dissertation Student,
Southampton University

Mexico
44

45

Details of Projects and Expeditions:

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1

12 June - 9 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


The ultimate option when choosing expeditions is getting a mix
of both terrestrial and marine research, for those wanting to get
maximum benefit from their time in the field, the 6 week expedition
is the one we recommend, if you are not able to commit to 6 weeks
then this 4 week expedition is the next best option. Splitting your
time between Calakmul and Akumal, you will complete ME001,
followed by a week working with the biodiversity survey teams
ME002. Then you will travel to Akumal and spend the next 2 weeks
at the marine site. If you are not already dive trained and wanting to
learn you will not join the research teams and your options will be
ME04/05. If snorkelling or already dive trained your first week will
be ME05/06 and in your final week you will be able to assist with
data collection and the researchers ME007.

Expedition 2

26 June - 6 August 2017

Set expedition length: 6 weeks


This 6 week expedition offers the ultimate research experience.
The expedition will start in Calakmul you would then travel to the
spectacular humid forest in the south of the Calakmul reserve to
spend 2 weeks on remote biodiversity surveys ME001 & ME003.
You then move to the marine site, here you can learn to dive,
complete the reef ecology course and assist with the research efforts
ME003/05/06/07. If you opt to not dive or are already qualified then
you can spend an additional week with researchers.

Expedition 3

10 July - 6 August 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This is an ideal choice for those wanting to make the most of their
forest time but still experience life at the marine research centre.
You will complete ME001 and then join the research teams ME002
for another 2 weeks. Your final week is spent at the marine site in
Akumal, in this week you can learn to dive or complete the reef
ecology course.

Expedition 4

12 June - 25 June 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This 2 week expedition provides a basic introduction into a marine
research base. If you are not already dive trained and wanting to
learn you will not join the research teams and your options will be
ME04/05. If snorkelling or already dive trained your first week will
be ME05/06 and in your final week you will be able to assist with
data collection and the researchers ME007.

Forest training courses

Marine training courses

ME001 Introduction to the Ancient Maya and Mayan jungle


ecology course
This course involves a series of lectures relating to the conservation
issues in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and the conservation
aims of the Operation Wallacea project, the concept of biodiversity
hotspots and the importance of the Yucatan Peninsula, methods for
biodiversity monitoring, and the ecology and conservation of key
taxanomic groups that are included in the monitoring programme.
Each lecture is accompanied by practical sessions in which students
receive training in the biodiversity monitoring techniques they will
use during surveys in subsequent weeks of the expedition. The
course also provides information relating to the Ancient Maya, their
relationship with nature and their impact on biodiversity in Calakmul.
This information will be delivered through lectures and during a
guided tour of the ruined city of Calakmul.

ME004 PADI Open Water course


This course involves a combination of theory lessons, confined
water dives and open water dives to gain an official scuba diving
qualification.
ME005 Caribbean reef ecology - diving
ME006 Caribbean reef ecology - snorkelling
The course consists of lectures and in-water practicals and teaches
identification of common genera and species of coral and other
macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish
families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of
methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine
environment.

ME003 Remote Biodiversity Surveys


There is a rainfall gradient from the north to the south of the Calakmul
Biosphere Reserve resulting in notable changes to forest structure, tree
species composition and fauna abundance and diversity. The remote
southern section of the reserve that borders Guatemala contains
humid forest with large fruiting trees and an abundant food supply
resulting in a high density of wildlife. Due to the remoteness of the
area, no biodiversity data existed for this part of the reserve prior to
the Operation Wallacea project. Initial data indicates that these humid
forests are crucial for the conservation of flagship species such as
jaguar, tapir and spider monkeys and have the highest diversity of
birds, bats and herpetofauna in the reserve. However, cattle farming is

becoming increasingly popular in this area and deforestation is starting


to approach the reserve. Data are desperately required to enable
communities to apply for funding for ecosystem services provided by
the forest and to enable more communities to opt out of cattle farming
in favour of sustainable honey production and shade grown crops
that do not require deforestation. Students working in this area will
conduct surveys on forest structure and carbon biomass, birds, bats,
herpetofauna, primates and large terrestrial mammals using the same
methods as the standard biodiversity surveys and will experience
a high number of animal sightings and captures. There are limited
places on this option since the survey teams have to be kept small
due to the terrain and remote location of the camp. On this project the
volunteers will need to help with running the field camp as well as
assisting with surveys and a good level of fitness is required due to the
hilly terrain.
ME007 Marine research assistant pool
This option can be done for multiple weeks. The beaches and
seagrasses in Akumal are a safe haven for a large sea turtle population.
Tourism in the area provides important income for local people and
has virtually eradicated problems with overfishing and consumption
of turtle eggs. However, Akumal is becoming increasingly popular
with tourists and, if not managed correctly, the increased volume of
people could lead to the loss of important turtle nesting grounds and
serious problems with water contamination and sedimentation that
damages the reefs and seagrasses. The coral reefs in Akumal are
undergoing phase shifts from healthy coral dominated to macroalgal
dominated benthic communities, reducing the productivity and longterm resilience of the system. Operation Wallacea are gathering the
data necessary to determine the carrying capacity of tourists in Akumal
to ensure that the delicate marine ecosystem is protected and a
sustainable income is generated for local people. Data collection aims
to determine the impact of tourism and water quality on the seagrasses
and reef system, to assess the relative importance of Akumal beaches
and seagrasses for sea turtle populations, and to investigate the
impact of snorkel based tourism on sea turtle behaviour. In addition,
the degree of coral cover and abundance of sea urchins and key fish
species on the reefs will be monitored as indicators of reef health and
the health and connectivity of mangrove systems will be investigated.
Students participating in this monitoring programme will have
an active schedule that involves dive or snorkel based surveys to
assess the health of the reefs, snorkel and kayak surveys to monitor
mangroves, snorkel surveys for seagrass monitoring and green turtle
identification, and beach surveys to identify nesting preferences of
green and loggerhead turtles.

Optional additional dive training

If you are already dive trained, you can sign up for additional dive
training in your spare time. These courses include PADI Advanced
Open Water (US$220) and PADI Rescue Diver with EFR (US$400).
46

ME002 Biodiversity surveys


At each of the four camps there are teams of field biologists
completing standardised surveys of a series of key taxa. As a
research assistant you will be able to rotate between the different
teams at the start of your stay and, if you have a particular interest,
to then specialise working with that team. The data gathered from
these standardised surveys across Calakmul are integrated into the
management plan for the reserve to assess the impact of climate
change on biodiversity and to monitor the efficacy of a wide range of
sustainable development projects within buffer zone communities that
aim to maintain forest cover and abundance of fauna.
The habitat team quantify forest structure and carbon biomass using
a range of measurement in survey plots.
Herpetofauna will be monitored using diurnal and nocturnal visual
encounter surveys along forest transects, combined with pitfall
and funnel trap arrays and timed searches of herpetofauna around
aguadas.
Bird abundance and diversity will be assessed using point counts
and mist net surveys where birds are identified in the hand and
morphometric measurements are taken prior to release.
Large mammal surveys involve recording primate sightings
(distance sampling) and terrestrial mammal tracks (patch
occupancy sampling) encountered along forest transects during
morning surveys accompanied by afternoon sessions analysing
camera trap data.
Butterflies will be monitored using baited fruit traps in different
forest types.
Bats will be monitored each night using mist net surveys in which
bats are identified, morphometric measurements are taken and the
bats are marked prior to release to enable abundance estimates
using mark-recapture methods. If you wish to specialise in bats,
you will need a full course of rabies vaccinations before joining the
expedition.

Mexico

Mexico Research Assistant Options

Mexico
47

Mexico forest dissertations


ME142 Herpetofaunal species distribution and niche partitioning in the
Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico (start dates 12 June or 26 June;
need to have completed ME001)
The herpetofauna of the Yucatan Peninsula is diverse and contains a high
percentage of endemic species that have evolved to adapt to the unique forest
habitat. Despite this, the herpetofauna of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is
poorly studied. There is a notable rainfall gradient from the north to the south of
the reserve, which significantly affects tree diversity and forest structure. The only
source of water in the reserve comes from lakes known as aguadas. Some are
permanent, but the majority are temporary that form on low lying ground during
the rainy season. This variation in habitat is likely to have a notable effect on
the abundance and distribution of herpetofauna within Calakmul. Herpetofauna
surveys will be conducted at five different research locations within the reserve that
have notable differences in habitat type. Within each location, herpetofauna will
be surveyed using pitfall traps and diurnal and nocturnal active searching along
transects. Students will also assist with habitat surveys in which tree diversity,
tree DBH, understorey vegetation, leaf litter and sapling density are recorded in
a selection of 20m x 20m forest plots at each survey location. Research projects
could therefore investigate differences in herpetofaunal species assemblages
between different sites and in relation to distance from aguadas. These projects
could incorporate a wide range of species or could focus on specific groups (e.g.
anurans, lizards, snakes). Alternatively, projects could focus on herpetofauna
community structure in aguadas of varying sizes. These projects would involve
timed searches of the aguadas for amphibian species combined with trapping
surveys for lizards, snakes, turtles and crocodiles.

ME141 Bird diversity & distribution in relation to forest structure in the


Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico (start dates 12 June or 26 June;
need to have completed ME001)
The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve has extremely high bird diversity with over 360
resident bird species, many of which are endemic. Due to the traditional farming
methods of the Ancient Mayans and their direct descendants living in the buffer
zone of the reserve, Calakmul contains a large expanse of old growth forest in
the core zone, and old growth forest and regenerating forests of various ages in
the buffer zone. In addition, there is a notable rainfall gradient from the north to
the south of the reserve that results in a gradual change in forest structure and
tree species composition. Diversity of forest dwelling birds generally decreases
with forest disturbance, but a study from one buffer zone community in Calakmul
unexpectedly found that both bird abundance and diversity remained constant
across regenerating forests of various ages and old growth forest. As the first
Mayan settlers arrived in the Calakmul region before the forest appeared (the
climate was too dry to support forest until relatively recently), it is possible that
the bird population has evolved with the Mayan farming methods and thus the
birds have adapted to using all forest types. The abundance and diversity of birds
in Calakmul can be monitored using point counts and mist netting at multiple
research locations in the reserve. These data will be collected across a range of
transects in the reserve that encompass different habitat characteristics. Each
transect contains a number of 20m x 20m habitat survey plots that provide detailed
information of the forest characteristics in the area. In each of these plots, tree
species will be identified, tree DBH, understorey vegetation, canopy openness, and
the number of saplings will be measured. Bird data from each transect can then be
related to mean habitat characteristics for the transect and comparisons between
bird diversity and habitat variables may be investigated.

48

Large mammal density at Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is very


high and the forest is one of the last remaining strongholds
of endangered mammals such as spider monkeys, jaguar
and tapir. Although these species are not hunted, indigenous
people are allowed to hunt other large mammals such as
peccary and deer (which are the preferred prey of jaguar and
puma). The tropical semi-deciduous forest in the Calakmul
Biosphere Reserve is unusual in that areas close to the Mayan
Ruins contain unusually high densities of large fruiting trees
(the result of Ancient Mayan agroforestry) in comparison to
other areas. As there are no rivers or streams in the reserve,
forest structure is also heavily affected by distance from
the few permanent water sources in the reserve known as
aguadas. The aim of the large mammal research project is to
investigate the relationship between habitat characteristics and
large mammal abundance and ranging, and to investigate the
impact of hunting of preferred prey species on the abundance
and distribution of felids. Mammal abundance data will be
collected along a series of forest transects using distance
sampling (based on visual sightings of more commonly
encountered species such as primates) and patch occupancy
sampling (based on tracks and signs of more elusive species
such as tapir and jaguar). Additional data will be collected
using camera traps enabling comparison of density estimates
produced by the different types of surveys. The survey
transects are distributed across a wide range of forest habitat
types and each transect contains a number of 20m x 20m
habitat survey plots. In each of these plots, tree species will
be identified, and DBH and tree height will be measured.
Large mammal data from each transect can then be related to
mean habitat characteristics for the transect and comparisons
between mammal abundance and habitat variables may be
investigated.

ME144 Spider monkey grouping patterns, habitat use


and behaviour (start dates 12 June or 26 June; need to
have completed ME001)

Mexico

ME143 Large mammal abundance and distribution


patterns in relation to habitat characteristics and
hunting in the Mayan forest (start dates 12 June or 26
June; need to have completed ME001)

Spider monkeys are frugivorous primates that live in complex


societies characterised by high degree fission-fusion
dynamics whereby members of the same community are
rarely all together and spend their time in fluid subgroups that
constantly change in size and composition. Subgroup size
is adjusted to food patch size and when fruit is abundant the
spider monkeys can be found in large groups. Group size and
composition can have a notable effect on activity budgets,
ranging and social interactions, particularly as there are notable
sex-differences in the quality of social relationships and the
type of social interactions exchanged by males and female. A
large community of spider monkeys in the Calakmul Biosphere
Reserve has been studied each summer since 2013. The
summer months are associated with the onset of rainy season
and high fruit production resulting in large subgroups of spider
monkeys. However in 2014 the reserve suffered a severe
drought and during this time virtually no fruit was available.
Using the long-term data set students can investigate changes
to ranging patterns, subgroup composition and the associated
effect on rates of social interactions in relation to rainfall
patterns and food availability. Another project could focus on
spider monkey activity and habitat use. Spider monkeys can
have large home ranges that encompass different forest types,
but it is not clear if they use all forest types for food and shelter.
An investigation of how spider monkeys use the different forest
types will determine whether spider monkey populations could
survive in disturbed areas with limited availability of high forest.
Activity budget data will be recorded using instantaneous scan
sampling, noting the behaviour of each individual in view, the
GPS location and forest type. Subgroup composition will be
recorded in real time throughout the day and all occurrences
of social interactions will be recorded noting the individuals
involved, behaviour and context.
ME145 Bat abundance, diversity and distribution
patterns in relation to habitat characteristics of the
Mayan forest (start dates 12 June or 26 June; need to
have completed ME001)
Bat abundance in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is very
high due to the presence of multiple caves that act as roost
sites. There are over 90 bat species that occur in tropical
Mexico, but the presence of the majority of these species in
Calakmul remains unclear due to lack of standardized studies.
Moreover, bat diversity is unlikely to be uniform throughout the
reserve due to changes in the habitat resulting from vicinity to
ruins sites (Mayan ruins contain unusually high densities of
large fruiting trees as a result of Ancient Mayan agroforestry)
and the limited water supply in the reserve. Students will
investigate bat abundance and diversity using mist net surveys
in conjunction with bat detectors that record bat vocalizations.
These combined methods will provide data on the carnivorous,
frugivorous and nectivorous bats that are frequently caught in
the nets and the insectivorous bats that have such fine-tuned
echolocation that they can detect mist nets and are therefore
virtually impossible to capture. These data will be collected
across a range of transects in the reserve that encompass
different habitat characteristics. Each transect contains a
number of 20m x 20m habitat survey plots that provide
detailed information of the forest characteristics in the area. In
each of these plots, tree species will be identified, tree DBH,
understorey vegetation, canopy openness, and the number of
saplings will be measured. Bat data from each transect can
then be related to mean habitat characteristics for the transect
and comparisons between bat diversity and habitat variables
may be investigated.

Mexico
49

Mexico marine dissertations


ME146 Sea turtle nest site preferences and hatchling sex ratios
(start dates 12 June or 26 June)

ME148 Immature green turtle foraging behaviour and seagrass


abundance in Akumal Bay (start dates 12 June or 26 June)

There are seven species of sea turtle in the world, all of which are either threatened
or endangered. The beaches of Akumal (meaning home of the turtles) are the
nesting ground for two of these species: the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)
and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). One of the major aims of the ongoing turtle
conservation project is to ensure that the turtles have access to suitable nesting
sites on the beaches. In order to do so, it is necessary to understand the nesting
site preferences of the green and loggerhead turtles and to ascertain the nest
characteristics associated with successful incubation. Investigation of turtle nesting
will record the number and location of green and loggerhead turtle nests, noting
their distance from the shore, habitat characteristics, their depth, temperature
inside the nest, number of eggs laid and number of successful hatchlings. As
turtles are reptiles, the temperature inside the nest during the incubation period
determines the sex ratio of hatchlings. Males are produced at lower temperatures
than females and with beach temperatures on the rise due to climate change, there
is major concern that sex ratios are highly female-skewed. It is not possible to
determine the sex of hatchlings without dissection, but sex ratios can be inferred
from mean nest temperature recorded on HOBO data loggers inserted into the
nest during nesting. Variation in likely sex ratios can then be linked to nest site
characteristics to determine areas of the beach that are able to produce males.
In addition, the sheer number of turtles attempting to nest in the Akumal area
results in turtles digging up existing nests on the beach due to a lack of space
to make new nests. For this reason, it is necessary to relocate some of the nests
into beach hatcheries and thus ensure careful management of the density of nests
in the hatchery and the amount of shade they receive to maintain correct nest
temperatures to produce balanced sex ratios of hatchlings.

There are three species of seagrass present in Akumal Bay: Thallassia testudinum,
Siryngodium filiforme and Halodule wrightii. Ongoing monitoring of the foraging
behaviour of the turtles has indicated a clear feeding preference for T. testudinum
and unsurprisingly, ongoing monitoring of the seagrasses has indicated a decline
in the abundance of T. testudinum. Immature green turtles naturally form large
foraging groups and once a food patch has been depleted they move to a new
area. However, limited availability of seagrasses in the Akumal area means that
this may not be possible for the turtles in Akumal Bay and thus steps must be
taken to sustainably manage the seagrasses. S. filiforme and H. wrightii seagrass
remain abundant in Akumal Bay, but as turtle foraging on these grasses has been
limited, the grasses lack digestible young shoots. Investigation into the state of the
seagrasses and feeding behaviour of the turtles is therefore necessary to determine
whether active management of the seagrasses (e.g. trimming the S. filiforme and
H. wrightii to encourage new shoots to grow) is required to maintain a viable food
supply for the turtles. Moreover, existing data shows that snorkel based tourism
influences the movement patterns and foraging behaviour of the turtles resulting
in heavy grazing of tourist-free areas and avoidance of seagrasses in areas where
snorkel tours are prevalent. As Akumal Bay is now a protected area there is the
option of re-zoning the bay to ensure that snorkel tours do not prevent turtles from
accessing important areas of seagrasses, but data relating to seagrass coverage
and turtle foraging behaviour is required to determine the specific location of
tourist-free areas. Research into green turtle behaviour will involve snorkelling
with the turtles throughout the day to record their foraging patterns. Seagrass
quadrats surveys will be used to determine the availability of the various species
of seagrasses, which can then be compared to turtle feeding preferences obtained
from behavioural observations.

ME147 Effect of tourism on immature green turtle behaviour in Akumal


Bay (start dates 12 June or 26 June)
Year-round you can find immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) feeding on the
seagrasses in Akumal Bay. These turtles have become a popular tourist attraction
and there is concern that both the number of tourists and the behaviour of tourists
is affecting the behaviour and welfare of the turtles. Multiple studies of swim
with wild dolphin based tourism has indicated that when the number of tourists
gets too high, or the tourists attempt to touch them, the dolphins issue evasive
responses to attempt to escape from the tourist and, if the tourism continues to
maintain high numbers, the dolphins simply move their home range to areas
inaccessible by tour boats. As the availability of healthy seagrasses in the Mexican
Caribbean coastline is limited, the turtles in Akumal Bay may not have the option of
leaving the area to avoid large numbers of tourists so the snorkel with turtle tours
need to be strictly regulated. As Akumal Bay has just been declared a protected
area, data is urgently required to determine the carrying capacity of snorkel based
tourism. Research into green turtle behaviour will involve snorkelling with the
turtles throughout the day to record their activity budgets and rates of evasive
responses to tourists using focal animal sampling with continuous recording.
Each turtle can be recognized individually and at the start of each focal sample
the turtle will be photographed from various angles for subsequent identification
from the turtle photo ID database. The number of tourists within a 5m radius of
each turtle and the behaviour of these tourists (whether they abide by the rules and
maintain a safe distance from the turtles or attempt to interact with them) will be
recorded throughout each focal sample to determine the effect of tourism on turtle
behaviour.

50

Mangrove forests are highly productive marine ecosystems


that are essential for the health of adjacent ecosystems e.g.
seagrass beds and coral reefs. Yet, as much as 1 - 2% of the
global mangrove forests are lost per year. Mangroves draw
down atmospheric CO2 sequester and trap fine sediments,
facilitate vital biodiversity mechanisms (e.g. fish nurseries)
and improve fishery productivity. Despite the obvious
importance of mangroves, mangrove forests in the Yucatan
Peninsula have been under considerable anthropogenic impact
from harvesting, causing a reduction in important habitat and
biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and the productivity of
adjacent seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. If the ecosystem
services that mangroves provide can be quantified, then
there is scope to develop a mangrove equivalent of the REDD
programme in which fishing communities could receive
economic investment in exchange for continued protection of
the mangroves. Projects could therefore focus on a comparison
of the structure, function, and faunal diversity of pristine and
degraded mangroves, or an investigation of wood degradation
processes across mangroves of differing quality. In addition,
projects could investigate health and diversity of seagrasses
and coral reefs in relation to the level of degradation of
adjacent mangroves. Belt transects and permanent plots will be
used to record tree composition, basal areas and tree densities.
Biodiversity assessments will be conducted by investigation
of the available mangrove substrata. Snorkel and dive based
transect and quadrat surveys may be used to assess diversity
and coverage of seagrasses, hard corals and algae.

ME150 Understanding the non-conventional cenotemangrove forest system (start dates 12 June or 26 June;
need to have completed the Caribbean reef ecology course)
The Yucatan Peninsula is formed of limestone karst substrate
that was once coral reef. As limestone is porous, rainwater
seeps through the rock surface to form an extensive network
of underground rivers accessed from the surface by sink
holes, known locally as cenotes. Mangrove forests associated
with cenotes in coastal regions are not new, but research of
them is. This novel project aims to investigate the driving
forces behind the structure and function of these unusual
mangrove ecosystems and to investigate differences of animal
community structure in comparison with coastal mangrove
forests. The majority of mangrove animals exploit the available
hard substrata within mangrove ecosystems. Areas such as
mangrove prop roots and in particular large wood detritus
(LWD) are favourable for most mangrove fauna, but nothing
is known about the organisms that process the fixed carbon
in cenote mangrove forests. Projects may highlight new and
unreported information from forest structure and function, to
mangrove fauna diversity and niche separation. Continuous
belt transects and plots will be used to establish the tree
structure, composition and basal areas with the cenote
mangrove forests. Biodiversity assessments of the fauna upon
mangrove roots, substratum and LWD will be made, and animal
observations will be employed. Degradation processes of LWD
will be recorded in the forests and compared with those from
conventional mangrove forests.

Mexico

ME149 A comparison of pristine and degraded


mangroves in Akumal and the impact of mangrove
degradation on adjacent seagrasses and coral reefs
(start dates 12 June or 26 June; need to have completed
the Caribbean reef ecology course)

ME151 The conservation of and improvement of


Caribbean coral reefs: Reef restoration through
plantation of Acropora cervicornis
(start dates 12 June or 26 June; need to complete dive
training and the Caribbean reef ecology course)
Acropora is one of the most important Caribbean corals in
terms of its contribution to reef growth and fishery habitat.
Acroporid species are the Caribbeans fastest growing
reef-building corals. Since the 1970s, Caribbean acroporid
populations have been decimated by disease outbreak.
Their recovery has been impaired by the general poor health
of Caribbean coastal ecosystems. In Akumal this decline
is estimated at >90%, although it is unlikely that this
truly represents the loss of coral due to the lack of reliable
data. Coral restoration is increasingly considered to be a
viable recovery plan. In Akumal preliminary research has
been conducted to trial success rates of coral nurseries
where Acropora cervicornis is grown, propagated and then
transplanted onto the reef. The methods used are minimally
invasive and require cheap materials. The trials have proved to
be successful, with doubling of live tissue from dying rescued
fragments within one year, combined with successful fusion
and growth of transplanted colonies onto the reef. In order to
measure the impact of coral restoration work, it is essential to
develop baseline data from which to measure the successful
colonies that have grown as a result of the restoration work.
Using continuous belt transects on the reef, the mapping of
acroporid colonies will be conducted to assess the distribution,
abundance and surface area of the colonies. Coral frags will
be out-planted at various distances from the mother colony
to measure successful recruitment and growth at different
sites from that of the mother colony. Reef fish assemblages,
particularly juveniles, will be assessed on reefs with none or
few acroporid colonies. Established acroporid frags will then
be planted onto those reefs and re-assessed. These data will
be compared to reefs with a high density of acroprids.

Mexico
51

Peru

Facilities
Research boats
The entire research expedition, including accommodation and travel to the field site, will be based aboard either of
the research boats: the Rio Amazonas or the Pithecia which are restored boats from the rubber boom era. The boats
have fan cooled cabins which can accommodate 4-10 participants in bunk-beds, dining areas, a snack bar, a small
research library and open deck space.

Water-based surveys
Being a research assisant in Peru has been such a fantastic
experience. Nothing compares to waking up to the sounds
of the Amazon Rainforst every morning, and the wonderful
local guides and Opwall staff were invaluable to making the
expedition so memorable. I would not hesitate to travel with
Opwall again in the future.
Fiona Banham, University of St Andrews

Peruoverview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4, 6 & 8 week options
Research Assistant options 4 set expeditions
Forest Dissertation options 9
Key facts l The largest protected seasonally flooded forest
in South America
l The only Opwall site to find pink and grey river
dolphins
l Travelling and staying on historically restored
Amazon rubber boom ships

In addition to the research boat on which you will be living, there are small auxiliary boats (e.g. wooden and
aluminium canoes) used to access the various data collection points.

Land-based surveys
Some survey areas are accessed on foot from the shore directly next to where the boats moor several transects
radiate into the forest from this location.

annual floods, 92 - 94% of the reserve is flooded but this can be as high as
98% in extreme flooding events, confining land based mammals (agouti,
deer, peccaries, armadillos) to small areas of land and thereby significantly
impacting their population levels. In times of extreme low water, fish
populations and their associated predators (dolphins, river birds) are under
stress. The dataset managed by Fund Amazonia for this reserve, which is
based on the annual surveys completed by the Opwall teams and others, is the
most extensive in any of the Peruvian reserves and is showing the impact of
global climate change on a range of taxa and on the livelihoods of indigenous
people. This information is being used to make management decisions for the
reserve and policy decisions for conserving the Peruvian Amazon.

Research objectives
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in
Peru spanning over 20,000 km2 of tropical rainforest and is a truly exceptional
wilderness area. Situated deep in the rainforests of the western Amazon basin,
at the point where the Amazon river begins its long journey to the Atlantic
Ocean, the reserve teems with aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. The two major
rivers that bind the reserve are the Ucayali and Maran, and they join to
form the Amazon proper right at the point where the reserve begins. The huge
floodplains of these majestic rivers have produced the low-lying flooded
forests (vrzea) of the reserve, much of which is accessible on foot during
the dry season surveys. The core areas of the reserve with no exploitation
permitted are at the most upstream end. At the downstream end, there are
communities of Cocama Indians who are involved in reserve management
and managing resources in non-core zone areas sustainably. The Samiria
River that runs through the heart of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve has a
particularly large population of river dolphins and is the last remaining refuge
for the Amazonian manatee. Giant river otters are also returning and every year
more are sighted in the rivers, lakes and channels. There are 12 species of
primates in the reserve, many of which are commonly sighted on the terrestrial
and aquatic transects.
The flooded forests (vrzea) of the reserve are particularly susceptible to
global climate change which appears to be increasing the frequency of
extreme flooding events and low water periods. During the height of the

Travel information
Booking your international flights:
Airport: Iquitos Airport (Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta
International)
When to arrive? On the Saturday before your expedition begins
When to leave? On the Saturday after your expedition ends
Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be
organised by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

I feel like Ive learnt so much about the


realities and practicalities of fieldwork.
Really helped me think about the kind of
career Id like to have in Ecology.
Caitlin Tarvet, University of Aberdeen

Peru
52

53

Peru

Peru Research Assistant Options

Details of Projects and Expeditions:

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1
Expedition 2

11 June - 7 July 2017


9 July - 4 August 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


This expedition is based on one of the research ships which will
be moored on the edge of the flooded forest in the Pacaya-Samiria
Reserve. Your first week will be completing the Amazonian wildlife
and conservation course PE001, after this first week you will be part
of the biodiversity research teams PE002 and will rotate between the
different surveys or choose one or more on which to concentrate.

Expedition 3
Expedition 4

11 June - 23 June 2017


25 June - 7 July 2017

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This 2 week expedition is based on the research ships but is for
those who want less of an in depth knowledge of the research, but
who want to get some experience of the range of surveys being
completed. It starts with completion of the Amazonian wildlife and
conservation course PE001 and the second week is spent working
with the biodiversity research teams PE002.

PE002 Biodiversity research in Pacaya-Samiria Reserve


There is a large team of mainly Peruvian researchers based on the
research boat and you will have the opportunity to sign up to help all
of the different projects during the course of your stay or, as you get
more experience, to concentrate on one or more of the projects to get
a deeper level of knowledge. There is a strong research atmosphere
on the boat with teams coming and going at all times of day and
night on various research tasks.
River based teams:
Point counts for macaws
Transect surveys for shoreline birds
River dolphin distribution and behaviour surveys
Counts of emergent turtles
Gill net surveys of fish communities
Fishing bat surveys
Nighttime caiman spotlight and capture surveys
Surveys of frog communities at night on floating vegetation mats
using spotlights.

Land based surveys:


Other teams travel through the flooded forest on canoes and work on
land based transects including:
Distance, patch occupancy and camera trap surveys of primates,
large mammals and game birds
Mist netting understorey birds
Butterfly and moth surveys
Forest structure surveys
Transect search surveys for amphibians
Dissertation support
In addition to these main river and forest surveys there are
dissertation studies where assistance may also be required for
example assisting with behavioural data observations on the primate
species.

Training courses
PE001 Amazonian wildlife and conservation course
This course has a series of lectures which cover Amazonian
biogeography and biodiversity gradients, trophic structure and
feeding ecology, sustainable use and community conservation
strategies, and climate change. Each day there are practical sessions
during morning and afternoon, where you will be joining the different
research teams, learning the survey techniques being used and
some of the species encountered on the surveys.

Optional additional training courses


Canopy Access

This course can be done as part of the Amazonian wildlife and


conservation course and will train you in how to use a harness and
pulley system to be able to ascend 40m+ into the canopy along
with a qualified instructor. This optional half day additional course
costs US$170.
54

Peru
55

Peru dissertations and research topics


PE152 Tropical butterfly diversity and environmental gradients (start
dates 11 June or 25 June)
The forest of the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve is awash with a diversity of bright and
colourful butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), notably including species of the
beautiful blue morpho. Lepidoptera make excellent indicators of environmental
change due to their variety of life-history strategies and their rapid life cycles.
The Lepidoptera of the Pacaya-Samiria are monitored using baited catch-andrelease traps containing fermenting fruit, sugar water or salt water, each attracting
a different suite of species. This allows a number of research questions to be
examined. Projects could investigate the niche-partitioning of butterflies and moths
according to food source and food availability within forest types; alternatively the
diversity and community composition changes along the natural environmental
gradients from forest edge to centre could be studied; temporal niche-partitioning
between butterflies and moths and whether the response to forest edges differs
between day and night is also of interest; additionally, there is an opportunity
to study the vertical stratification of the Lepidoptera community between the
understorey and the mid-canopy. Permission is not granted to collect specimens,
but as a diverse and abundant study group, the Lepidoptera project can be tailored
to address any number of environmental questions, whilst also contributing to the
long-term climate change data set.
PE153 Potential impacts of climate change on sustainable fishing
resources for the Cocama indigenous people
(start dates 11 June or 25 June)
The fish populations of the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve are a vital resource for the local
Cocama people, making up to 70% of the protein in their diet. Fund Amazonia
and Opwall have been monitoring the fish populations of the Pacaya-Samiria
Reserve for eight years and have seen dramatic fluctuations in abundance and
diversity in response to changing water levels. This means there is huge potential
for continuing climate fluctuations to affect the fish community and hence the
people who depend on them for their livelihood. This project could combine
studying the fish abundance and diversity responses to climate change using the
long-term datasets, coupled with the sociological impact of these changes on
the local indigenous people. Fish sampling is carried out using 30m x 3m gill
nets with 3 inch mesh and fished for as close to one hour as possible. The fishing
locations are chosen by our local guides to imitate the genuine fishing conditions
of local people. Sociological data regarding how the changing fish populations are
affecting the type of fish eaten, the amount of time spent fishing and the fishing
methods being used could be collected by interviewing local guides and by
organised visits to nearby Cocama villages.
PE154 Species assemblages and niche separation of amphibians within
the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (start dates 11 June or 25 June)
Amphibians are a highly diverse class, with species specialising across all
habitats (terrestrial, aquatic, arboreal and fossorial). The Pacaya-Samiria Reserve is
primarily composed of seasonally flooded forests which create a number of unique
habitats for amphibians resulting in very interesting species assemblages and
high abundances of specialist species within the area. Climate change has been
having a huge impact on the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve in recent years, resulting in
extreme periods of flooding and drought. This in turn is affecting habitat availability
for certain specialist species of amphibians present. Data is collected across the
two main macrohabitats (terrestrial and floating meadows) using visual encounter
surveys via transects on the terrestrial habitat and quadrats from a boat on the
floating meadows. One project could look into how species assemblages differ
across the macrohabitats and try to determine specialist and generalist species.
Another project could examine niche separation within each macrohabitat. Climate
change could also be linked into a project to determine whether changing habitat
availabilities are having an effect on species presence or habitat choices.

56

PE155 Niche separation in caiman species (start dates 11 June or 25 June)


There are three caiman species (common, black and smooth-fronted) found in the
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. This topic could examine the habitat usage and
feeding ecology of the three species to identify how they separate their niches.
Spotlight surveys are completed along the edges of the main river and in a series
of oxbow lakes within the forest, some of which are still connected to the main river
while others are totally separated during the dry season. The species, estimated
size and habitat usage of each of the caimans observed during these surveys are
recorded. Animals smaller than 2m would be captured by noose wherever possible
and more detailed measurements (e.g. length, weight, sex) recorded from these
captured animals. Diet of the captured caimans can be examined by flushing out
the contents of the stomach, filtering the regurgitated food and classifying the
main constituents. The high abundance of these species and the length of the
survey season should ensure a good number of data points for this study, with the
average number of stomach samples around 15. In addition there are long datasets
available from previous annual surveys of the caiman against which changes in
abundance of the various species could be assessed.
PE156 Population structure and abundance of understorey birds (start
dates 11 June or 25 June)
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is host to over 500 bird species, representing
64% of all the bird species found in Peru. More than 135 understorey bird species
have been recorded within the reserve. On this project mist netting will be used
to collect data on the tropical understorey bird assemblages within the reserve,
offering valuable information on the lower and mid-storey birds not recorded by
any other method. Mist nets are set for 5 days in each location and riverine habitat,
open understorey flooded forests, levee forests and palm swamps are surveyed
within the flooded forest. The number of repeats on each habitat type is largely
influenced by the water levels experienced each year. A series of morphological
measurements are recorded for each captured bird and birds are ringed before their
release. The project could focus on a variety of topics and utilise the long term
datasets. One project could identify the abundance of species found in different
habitat types and their response to different water levels.

PE157 Population trends and habitat preferences of


pink and grey river dolphins in the Peruvian Amazon
(start dates 11 June or 25 June)
The pink dolphin Inia geoffrensis and grey dolphin Sotalia
fluviatilis are endemic to the Amazon rivers and function as
indicator species for the general health of aquatic habitats.
Dolphins make an excellent indicator species because they
rapidly move out of polluted or degraded habitats and in turn
quickly indicate changes in the condition of aquatic systems.
Moreover, dolphin abundance directly relates to food supply
and thus dolphins can be used to monitor the sustainability
of fishing by local communities. The dolphins are also easy
to count and observe since they frequently surface, are
large-bodied and very distinctive. The river dolphin population
in the Pacaya-Samiria has been monitored for several years
using fixed-width transects along rivers, lakes and channels
via small boats. During these surveys, all dolphin encounters
are recorded noting the species, number of individuals, habitat
in which the dolphins were seen and the dolphin behaviour.
Dissertation topics could examine the health of the aquatic
systems in the Peruvian Amazon by evaluating population
trends of the two species of river dolphin over time, or could
focus on habitat, behaviour and group size differences between
the two species. Dissertations could also incorporate the longterm fish monitoring dataset to investigate changes to dolphin
abundance over time in relation to changing fish stocks.
PE158 Population monitoring and habitat preferences of
primates in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve (start dates 11
June or 25 June)
As a result of seasonal variation in rainfall in the Andean
headwaters, the rivers of the Amazon basin are subject to
large fluctuations in water levels throughout the year that
flood the surrounding forest. The Pacaya-Samiria National
Reserve is no exception, with as little as 2% of land in the
reserve above water at the height of the flooded season.
The forests of the National Reserve flood as the waters
rise between December and June, and the onset of rainfall
coincides with high fruit production that is the primary dietary
component of a wide number of primate species. In recent
years these normal seasonal changes in rainfall patterns have
become more intense, which has been tentatively attributed
to climate change. Consequently, dry and rainy seasons are
more pronounced resulting in unpredictable food supply
and the extent to which primate populations can adapt to
these changes is not yet known. Investigation of the impact
of changing rainfall patterns on the abundance, diversity and
distribution of primates in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve will
involve line transect surveys across forest types that flood to
varying degrees with distance sampling to calculate density of
primate species. These data may be added to the long-term
data set to investigate changes to primate abundance over time
in relation to water levels. Forest structure and fruit availability
data may be collected from a series of habitat plots spaced
equidistantly along each transect. Each primate encounter can
then be linked to the nearest habitat plot along the transect
providing a corresponding set of habitat variables for primate
record. From this, habitat preferences of each species may
be calculated and the habitat variables affecting primate
abundance and diversity at each plot can also be investigated.

Peru

PE159 Niche separation in tamarins, howler monkeys,


squirrel monkeys and other primates in the Peruvian
Amazon (start dates 11 June or 25 June)
Multiple primate species can be found in rainforest habitats
such as the Peruvian Amazon. In order to combat competition
associated with several similar species living in close
proximity, each species has evolved to occupy a specific niche
within the habitat. These adaptations include differences in
dietary requirements (frugivorous, folivorous and insectivorous
primates), preference for different habitat types within the
forest (e.g. seasonally flooded forest, upland forest and palm
swamps) and variation in habitat use within the same forest
type (e.g. occupying different heights within the forest canopy
or variation in activity budgets). Twelve species of primates
have been recorded in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve,
but four species (brown capuchins, red howler monkeys,
saddleback tamarins and common squirrel monkeys) are
frequently encountered along the survey transects and are
therefore best suited for dissertation projects. Upon locating
a troop of one of these target species, the monkeys will be
followed for as long as possible, behavioural data can be
collected using instantaneous scan sampling and recording
troop size, position in the canopy and food preferences.
Fruit samples may also be collected to investigate species
preference for colour and hardness.
PE160 Behavioural changes during interspecific
associations of primate groups in the Peruvian Amazon
(start dates 11 June or 25 June)
Interspecific associations are frequently observed between the
various primate species found in Pacaya-Samaria Reserve, and
the most frequent of these associations is between capuchin
and squirrel monkeys. Living in groups has numerous benefits
for individuals, including protection from predation and access
to potential mates, but also has costs such as increased
competition for food resources. In species which live in
groups, such as primates in the Peruvian Amazon, the benefits
of group living is assumed to outweigh the costs. Whether and
how these costs and benefits change when a group of primates
associate with another group of primates of a different species
is not well understood. This project looks at how the behaviour
of capuchin and/or squirrel monkeys changes, depending on
the degree of association with individuals of the other species.
Various aspects of monkey behaviour can be investigated,
for example, looking at whether time spent being vigilant or
feeding, or the type of food consumed changes with distance
from individuals of other species. Upon locating a group of
either capuchin or squirrel monkeys, the monkeys will be
followed for as long as possible, and behavioural data will be
collected using focal samples. Additional information, such as
distance to the closest individual of another species, and the
direction of movement of the whole group will be recorded.

Peru
57

Bush

Do it! Only regret is not doing


the longer expedition.
Hannah Moyse,
Nottingham University

Pongola

Jozini

A small research centre has been built with twin bedded


accommodation, communal shower and toilet facilities.
There is a shared living area, small lecture facility with
electricity. Volunteers based at Pongola need to prepare
their own meals.

This camp is based within the heart of the reserve.


Accommodation will be in dormitory style rooms and
also tents. There is electricity and shared bathroom
facilities. Kitchen facilities are provided and volunteers
will need to prepare their own meals.

Dinokeng

Gondwana

Students will be staying at a small fenced camp within


the reserve. There is a communal area used for lectures
and dining. Accommodation is in shared dormitory style
bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities.

The camp students stay at is within a fenced compound.


Lectures and meals are taken in the same shared
communal area. Accommodation is in shared rooms with
showers and shared toilet facilities.

South Africa

Facilities

Marine

South Africa & Swaziland


overview
Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4, & 6 week options
Research Assistant options 5 set expeditions
Bush Dissertation options 4

Key facts l The Opwall site with the most abundant terrestrial
megafauna
l Best site for learning about wildlife management
l Opportunity to work on foot in a Big 5 reserve
l Diving in the UNESCO World Heritage site,
iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Research objectives
Operation Wallacea and our partners, Wildlife and Ecological Investments
(WEI), coordinate large-scale research programmes to provide an empirical
backbone for key conservation projects in South Africa. From evaluating
the impact of elephant range expansion back into their historical range, to
assessing the roles of protected areas as sanctuaries for persecuted freeranging leopard populations, the South African research programme is
designed to assist conservation managers with pressing large-scale issues
that they do not necessarily have the resources to address themselves.
Many of our current projects centre around the impact of expanding elephant
populations on the vegetation and associated diversity of key taxa. The South
Africa research programme covers a series of reserves across the country,
each using slightly different management strategies to preserve diversity in
their reserves. Big game areas in South Africa are fenced in order to avoid the
spread of disease and conflicts between communities and dangerous animals.
However, this restricts movement of species such as elephants, which can lead
to excessive habitat damage within reserves where elephant feeding pressure
is too high. The Walker scale of elephant browsing pressure is being used
by the Opwall teams to assess the levels of damage to trees and shrubs in
different reserves at differing levels of elephant feeding pressure. Data are being
gathered at a range of elephant grazing pressures so that estimates of levels
of damage for a reserve with differing levels of elephant populations can be
predicted. This will allow reserve managers to better understand how to manage
their elephant populations to maintain a healthy and diverse ecosystem.

For many years, Opwall has been working with a project called Space for
Elephants Foundation in KwaZulu-Natal to provide research supporting
responsible elephant population management. Together we have monitored
the behavioural changes of a large herd of elephants in the Pongola Reserve
following the vasectomies of the adult bulls. Parts of this reserve were
subjected to huge grazing pressure, leading the elephants to take the matter
into their own hands by traversing around the fences at the local dam and
into a neighbouring reserve Royal Jozini in Swaziland. Behavioural data
is currently being collected on the elephants in this new home, giving our
researchers the unique opportunity to compare behavioural data from the
same herd in two very different reserves. We are also monitoring changes in
vegetation and herbivore distribution following this sudden change in grazing
pressure in both Pongola and Royal Jozini.
Other South African projects involve assisting with the monitoring of other
endangered Big 5 species leopard and black rhino. In the KwaZulu-Natal
region, Opwall students have the chance to collect data on the behaviour
and ranging patterns of the small population of rhino to assist WWF with
their Rhino Range Expansion Project. So far this project has successfully
established 10 new black rhino populations across South Africa. Elsewhere,
our researchers are assisting the Panthera conservation organisation with
Project Pardus. This involves extensive camera trapping in reserves in the
Limpopo and Gauteng regions, allowing estimations of regional population
densities of this poorly understood species. Opwall students are assisting
with this monitoring in Dinokeng Game Reserve, a relatively new reserve built
around combining multiple smallholdings and homesteads into one large
Big 5 reserve. Thus, instead of having large areas with animals fenced in, it
is those living in the area of the reserve that are fenced out! Alongside the
leopard monitoring, we are also assessing elephant impact and herbivore
habitat utilisation to assess the successfulness of this unique reserve.

A once in a lifetime opportunity that


has really helped me to decide what
I would like to do with my degree!
Really interesting and incredibly fun.
Eleanor Mason, University of York

Sodwana Bay
Accommodation is in tents situated in a shaded bush
camp. Meals are served in a separate dining area
which also serves as a lecture hall. There is a shared
toilet and shower block.

Travel information
Booking your international flights expeditions
1, 2 or 3:
Airport: Johannesburg Airport (O.R. Tambo
International)
When to arrive? On the Friday (before 0800hrs)
before your expedition begins
When to leave? On the Friday (after 2000hrs) after
your expedition ends
Getting from the airport to the expedition start
point can be organised by the Opwall travel team
internaltravel@opwall.com

Booking your international flights expeditions 4 or 5:


Airport: Cape Town International Airport
When to arrive? On the Friday (before 0800hrs)
before your expedition begins
When to leave? On the Friday (after 2000hrs) after
your expedition ends
Getting from the airport to the expedition start
point can be organised by the Opwall travel team
internaltravel@opwall.com

We are also monitoring the development of the first Big 5 reserve created
within the world-renowned fynbos region. Gondwana Reserve is situated
within the most florally diverse region in the world. While both fynbos and
renosterveld are valuable vegetation types, they hold little browsing or grazing
value for many of the game species commonly found in tourist reserves.
The problem is particularly noticeable for elephants, who even in high-value
vegetation require a huge amount of sustenance a day to support their body
size. Since elephants are an important component of any tourism-driven
reserve, the management have asked us to look at how they can use fire
management techniques to maximise the diversity of the vegetation, whilst
still providing enough browse for the large, enigmatic game species.

South Africa
58

59

Bush training courses

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1
Expedition 2

SO001 African conservation course - Dinokeng Reserve


SO002 African conservation course - Gondwana Reserve
The objective of this training course, is to orientate students in
the African bush and develop the skills and confidence necessary
to participate in surveys. You will be given detailed training
on the data collection methods used at the site, including bird
identification through sight and sound, determination of age
and gender of large mammals, recognition of tracks and signs,
and many more. You will also receive a series of lectures on
African ecology and conservation management to show how the
research they are doing forms part of a bigger picture of wildlife
conservation.

17 June - 14 July 2017


8 July - 4 August 2017

Set expedition itinerary: 4 weeks


Dinokeng
*
The first 3 weeks are spent in a Big 5 reserve in the Gauteng
province. After completing SO001, the following 2 weeks will
be spent assisting with camera trapping, game transects, habitat
assessments and bird point counts SO003. The final week is spent
in Sodwana Bay undertaking one of the marine training courses
(SO005/SO006/SO007).

South Africa

South Africa Research Assistant Options

Marine training courses


Expedition 3

SO005 PADI Open Water - This course involves a combination


of theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to
gain an official scuba diving qualification.
SO006 Indian Ocean reef ecology course - diving
SO007 Indian Ocean reef ecology course - snorkelling
The course consists of lectures and in-water practicals and teaches
identification of common genera and species of coral and other
macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish
families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of
methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine
environment.

29 July - 11 August 2017

Set expedition itinerary: 2 weeks


Dinokeng
This 2 week expedition involves spending a week in a Big 5* reserve
in the Gauteng province where you will be assisting with camera
trapping, game transects, habitat assessments and bird point counts
SO003. In the second week you will transfer to the marine site in
Sodwana for a marine training course (SO005/SO006/SO007).

Expedition 4

10 June - 23 June 2017

Set expedition itinerary: 2 weeks


Gondwana
During this 2 week expedition you will be based in a Big 5* reserve
in the Western Cape region. You will be assisting botanists and large
mammal specialists in assessing the capability of the hugely diverse
fynbos and renosterveld vegetation to sustain herbivore populations
SO004.

Expedition 5

22 July - 18 August 2017

Set expedition itinerary: 4 weeks


Gondwana
You will be based in a Big 5* reserve in the Western Cape region.
The first week will consist of the African Conservation Techniques
course SO002. Following this you will be assisting botanists and
large mammal specialists in assessing the capability of the hugely
diverse fynbos and renosterveld vegetation to sustain herbivore
populations SO004.
Big 5 refers to African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros.

Details of Projects and Expeditions:


SO003 Leopard conservation programme
You will spend time assisting with four main programmes on this
option. Firstly, groups will help with field checking and downloading
pictures from camera traps set up within the reserve. Data will then
have to be checked and processed in camp, and prepared to be
sent through to the big cat conservation group Panthera. Teams will
also be collecting data on large mammal distributions and habitat
utilisation by driving set game transects throughout the reserve.
These data will then be used to estimate population numbers and
create predator/prey models for the reserve. Finally, students will also
collect data on bird diversity and habitat health within the reserve,
to determine any effects large herbivores such as elephants are
having on the reserve. This project provides students with an amazing
opportunity to work and live in a unique reserve that straddles the
Gauteng and Limpopo provinces.

SO004 Effects of fire management on fynbos habitat


On this project you will be assessing the suitability of the florally
diverse fynbos region for maintaining populations of large mammals.
Regular burning of fynbos is required to allow regeneration of the
habitat, and in this reserve this burning is managed and controlled.
Students here will get the chance to work with botanists to assess
the floral diversity of different areas of the reserve following different
levels of fire management. In order to understand the knock-on
effects of these regular burns, students will also assist with game
transects from which population estimates and ranging habits of large
mammals can be determined. This knowledge of how the various
habitats are being utilised will better inform the reserve management
on how productive, or otherwise, their current burning regime is and
how many mammals the reserve could comfortably sustain.

South Africa
60

61

South Africa and Swaziland Dissertations

All South Africa dissertations will be based either in Pongola (SO) or Jozini (SW)
SW161 Assessing the behavioural effects of independent translocation of
African Elephants (start date 24 June)

SW162 Calculating the carrying capacity of the Royal Jozini Reserve for
elephant populations (start date 24 June)

Elephant populations in South Africa are among the healthiest in the world. Many
small, private game reserves promote high elephant densities as they are a huge
draw for tourists. However, the reserves are almost always fenced, meaning the
natural long migrations of elephants cannot occur. Large elephant populations in
restricted areas are leading to high levels of vegetation damage in some reserves.
This problem was particularly significant in Pongola Game Reserve, where the
calculated carrying capacity of 37 elephants had more than doubled to over 80
elephants. Opwall and its partners have been monitoring the Pongola elephants for
over seven years in order to assess the behavioural impacts of bull vasectomies,
which were performed in an attempt to halt population growth. While Pongola
Game Reserve was fenced, one border of the reserve was demarcated by a lake.
The drought experienced by southern Africa in the summer of 2015/16 reduced
the level of the lake so much that around 50 elephants were able to simply walk
around the fence into the adjacent Royal Jozini Reserve in Swaziland. RJ had no
elephants prior to this, and luckily welcomed the new additions to their reserve.
This successful, independent translocation of elephants is incredibly rare, and
gives us a unique opportunity to compare pre- and post-translocation behaviour.
Our main focus will be to study the ranging patterns and dominance behaviours
of the translocated elephants to investigate how this move has affected the herd.
Habitat assessment data will also be collected to determine if the impact the herd
are having on the new reserve is sustainable.

In 2016, around 80 elephants broke free of their home and moved to the
greener pastures of Royal Jozini Reserve in Swaziland. The reserve management
were happy to receive the elephants, but due to the unplanned nature of this
translocation were unable to properly assess the elephant carrying capacity of the
reserve prior to their arrival. Determining elephant carrying capacities for small
fenced reserves is difficult, and many different densities have been put forward
as reasonable estimates for the number of elephants any given area of land can
sustain. However, these estimates are unlikely to be transferable from one reserve
to another due to differences in rainfall, water availability, vegetation etc. The
nearby Pongola Game Reserve has been estimated to be capable of sustaining
0.38 elephants per square kilometre. However, research has shown that other
reserves, such as Kruger National Park, should be able to sustain densities of
up to 1.5 elephants / km2. The reserve management therefore needs a carrying
capacity estimate based on the actual composition of the RJ reserve. Vegetation
assessments will be conducted in order to quantify the amount of damage being
caused by the elephants and accurately assess the available browse across the
reserve. These data could then be used to help set elephant carrying capacity
levels in terms of how many would be sustainable to keep levels of habitat damage
below pre-determined levels (e.g. less than 20% of the area must have 40% or
more trees and shrubs in the top 3 categories of the Walker damage scale). The
position of the elephant herds has been noted virtually daily since 2008 in both
Pongola and RJ, allowing an accurate assessment of ranging patterns and habitat
preferences. This positional data could be plotted on GIS programs to calculate
areas of differential elephant usage and compared between the two reserves.

Until recently, Pongola Game Reserve was home to a very


high density of elephants. These elephants caused a great
deal of damage to the vegetation and dominated much of the
landscape within this small fenced reserve. In early 2016,
the elephant population dropped dramatically and suddenly
when most of the herds broke free and moved into a nearby
reserve. The Pongola elephants had a detrimental effect on the
vegetation in the reserve, but the follow-on effects on other
large mammals have not been studied. Since the elephants
have translocated, the other herbivores in the reserve now have
access to browse and graze that was previously dominated
by the elephants. Populations of other herbivores should
flourish with the reduced elephant numbers, but the damage
to the vegetation they caused may have long-term effects. By
assessing the populations and habitat preferences of species
such as zebra, wildebeest, kudu and impala, students will be
able to quantify how a reserve can recover from such massive
amounts of damage. During the regular large mammal surveys,
all visual encounters with the herbivores are recorded, noting
the GPS location of the animal, the species, condition score,
number of individuals, age-sex class of each individual and
habitat type. GIS maps showing the distribution of vegetation
types, habitats, water courses and man-made structures in
the reserve can be produced, allowing comparison with the
herbivore distribution data.

South Africa

SO163 Factors affecting the population size and


distribution of large mammals in Kwa-Zulu Natal
(start date 24 June)

SO164 Monitoring the populations and ranging


patterns of the critically endangered black rhino
(start date 24 June)
The critically endangered black rhino once ranged throughout
southern Africa, but a devastating poaching wave in the
early 1990s reduced their numbers to just 2000. Now, many
initiatives are working towards protecting land containing
good black rhino habitat, in order to increase the numbers
of growth rate of this endangered species. The Black Rhino
Range Expansion project, a collaboration between WWF
and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, has helped create 10 new black
rhino populations in South Africa. Thanks to initiatives like
this, the overall population of black rhino is increasing
throughout Africa. But ensuring the long-term success of this
initiative requires constant monitoring and further gathering
of knowledge regarding the new rhino populations. Opwall
students have the rare opportunity to assist this project by
collecting behavioural and ranging data on a small population
of black rhinos in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region within the Pongola
reserve. These rhinos were introduced into the reserve in 2006,
and have been closely monitored by the onsite researcher for
the majority of that time. Data collected in 2017 will be added
to long-term data sets to provide further information regarding
the ranging patterns and interactions of an established
population of this enigmatic species.

South Africa
62

63

Below is a brief outline of all options available to students. For specific course and project information
please contact us or visit www.opwall.com
Expedition 1

14 June - 11 July 2017

Set expedition length: 4 weeks


With this expedition you spend a week in each of 4 different
villages and their surrounding mountains and forests in the
foothills of the Carpathians. In the first week you will be
completing the Transylvania ecology course RT001 but also going
out with the ecology survey teams. Then you will be spending the
remaining 3 weeks rotating between all the biodiversity surveys or
specialising in one or more of them (RT002). This expedition gives
you the best chance of seeing bears in the wild.

Opwall has not only given me new knowledge


and experience, but also a new appreciation
for the natural world and its relationship with
human activities and development.
Savannah Fielder,
University of Birmingham

Transylvaniaoverview

Travel information

Diving Forest
Expedition length
2, 4, & 6 week options
Research Assistant options 3 set expeditions
Dissertation options 8

Booking your international flights:


Arrival airport: Cluj-Napoca International Airport
Departing airport: Cluj-Napoca International Airport
When to arrive? On the Tuesday (before1800hrs) before your
expedition begins
When to leave? On the Tuesday (after 2000hrs) after your
expedition ends
Getting from the airport to the expedition start point can be
organised by the Opwall travel team internaltravel@opwall.com

Key facts l The largest population of brown bears anywhere


in Europe
l Unique medieval high nature value landscape
l The most diverse wildflower meadows in lowland
Europe
l Great for gaining knowledge on European species

Research objectives
The Tarnava Mare Natura 2000 Region in Transylvania, Romania is one
of the last medieval landscapes in Europe. Sitting at the foothills of the
Carpathians this stunning 85,000 ha area not only boasts picturesque remote
Saxon villages surrounded by some of, if not the most, extensive flower-rich
grasslands remaining in lowland Europe, but it also houses a spectacular
array of fauna including the largest populations of brown bears found
anywhere in Europe.
The landscape still presents a medieval land-use pattern: forested ridges
and gullies, pasture and hay meadows on
gentler slopes and terraces, arable
land and smaller meadows on
Transylvania has it all stunning landscapes,
rich biodiversity, unspoilt local culture and an
the flat valley bottoms near
incredible team of scientists. Truly a once in a
villages.
lifetime experience.

Hugh Delaney, TCD


Inclusion of the area in the
EU Natura 2000 network enables
funding to be obtained to maintain the
low input traditional farming that has created such a high biodiversity. The
Opwall teams are completing an annual biodiversity survey of the region
in order to assess the effectiveness of maintaining the traditional farming
practices in protecting this outstanding area. The work is being completed
with ADEPT, a Romanian based NGO, with the Opwall teams providing annual
data on a series of biodiversity performance and farming criteria.

Facilities
This Opwall expedition gives students the chance to join a small team
which will move from remote village to village across the region. Each
village is nestled in one of many valleys running north to south, and so,
after completing surveys for a week in each village, the team will trek up
the side of the adjacent valley and down into the next one. Luggage can
be transported on a 4x4 vehicle, which is a relief given the strength of the
Transylvanian sun during this time of year!
When in the villages, teams will usually be staying in basic campsites
where they can pitch their tents under the fruit trees, and where the water
in the showers is heated by the sun each day. Meals are locally prepared
and the majority of the food on the expedition is baked, grown, or farmed
in the same village in which it is consumed. In some villages volunteers
will be able to stay in local guesthouses, which gives a fantastic insight
into the Saxon culture and traditions.
It should be noted that on this expedition almost all surveys are
conducted on foot. Volunteers can be out in the sun surveying the remote
forests, meadows and grasslands for long periods of time each day, in
addition to collecting more data during the evenings where possible, so it
is important to have a reasonable level of fitness.

Expedition 2
Expedition 3

12 July - 25 July 2017


26 July - 8 August 2017

Transylvania

Transylvania Research Assistant Options

Set expedition length: 2 weeks


This 2 week expedition involves spending a week in 2 different
villages and their surrounding mountains and forests in the
foothills of the Carpathians. In the first week you will be
completing the Transylvania ecology course RT001 but also going
out with the ecology survey teams. The remaining week rotating
between all the biodiversity surveys RT002.

Terrestrial training course


TR001 Transylvanian ecology course
The Transylvanian ecology course, which is run alongside the biodiversity surveys in one of the study villages, is designed to give volunteers
an understanding of the cultural and ecological history of the region, of the overall research and survey objectives, and of the specific surveys
and taxonomic groups that the teams will be focusing on. Lectures and discussion groups will be interspersed with practical survey sessions.

Details of Projects and Expeditions


TR002 Transylvania biodiversity survey
This team completes surveys in a different village each week.
Volunteers are split into groups and form a key part of the teams
collecting data from the extensive woodlands, meadows and
grasslands around a series of Saxon settlements across the Tarnava
Mare and includes surveys on the following taxa:
Large mammals: Students will position camera traps in key
locations in the forests and on the valley survey routes in order
to capture sightings of large mammals such as bear, wild boar,
beech/stone marten and deer. The team will also visit likely
vantage points at dawn or dusk to see large mammals, and will
record any prints or scat encountered. You will also have the
opportunity to join a local expert for an evening at a view point to
see bears and other large mammals in the wild.
Small mammals and herpetofauna: This team will set small
mammal traps late at night which will be checked and emptied
each morning. They will also complete standard searches around
the edge of river and wetland areas for amphibians, and will walk
the longer survey routes around the valleys either side of the
village, recording mammal and herpetofauna sightings and signs.
Birds: The bird team will complete point count surveys at 500m
intervals. In the evening call-back surveys are also completed
for corn crake and owls. There will also be the opportunity to
participate in the bird ringing scheme using mist netting.
Plants: The plant team will be focusing on target species which

are good indicators of the different grassland types. Quadrats will


be completed in low, medium and high nature value grasslands
along the different survey routes where the abundance of different
key species will be noted. This area contains some of the most
diverse grasslands in Europe and this project will be a chance to
work in a rarely seen and spectacular habitat.
Butterflies and moths: The butterfly team will be covering the
same survey sites as the plant team, recording the butterflies
encountered and using sweep nets to catch and identify the rarer
species. Light trapping will also be completed for moths in the
evenings.
Farms: The traditional farming methods used in this region play
a crucial role in the maintenance of high biodiversity. Part of the
monitoring effort therefore includes visiting a number of farms
in each village and recording the numbers of livestock, dates of
grassland cutting, types of arable crops etc. The team will also be
gathering data on bear and wolf attacks on the livestock and will
have a unique opportunity to experience methods of farming which
were lost many years ago in most of the world.
Bats: The bat team use a combination of static recorders and hand
held detectors to determine the bat species present in each village.
The hand held detectors will be used on two transects near the
village and will utilize call analysis from static detectors to analyse
the species. There will also be an opportunity to visit potential
roost sites and carry out mist netting.

Transylvania
64

65

Transylvania dissertations and research topics


TR165 Plant indicator species of grasslands in Transylvania
(start date 28 June)
Transylvania has some of the most species rich hay meadows and pastures
in Europe with traditional management, low fertilizer input and low stocking
rates. Fundatia ADEPT, Opwalls partner in Romania, has with the help of some
experienced botanists, identified a guide of 30 plant species indicative of high
conservation dry grasslands. What is not known is whether some of the indicators
are more commonly associated with the highest value meadows or pastures and
so act as super indicators. This can be judged by comparing the occurrence of
each species against quality of habitat i.e. the total number of indicator species at
a site. An association analysis of indicator species is also needed to identify which
species tend to occur together (and so can be considered to be replicates of each
other) and which are more unique. This study will be conducted at at least 12 sites
already identified around 8 villages across the Natura 2000 site in Transylvania.
Grassland surveys using these 30 indicator species were conducted at a series of
sites around 8 villages within the Tarnava Mare region in 2014, 2015, 2016 and
six of those villages in 2013, so there are existing datasets to compare against the
survey data in 2017.
TR166 Butterfly communities as indicators of habitat changes in Tarnava
Mare (start date 28 June)
Pollard counts of butterfly communities in different habitats (species rich
grasslands, species poor grassland, abandoned land, scrub areas and farmland)
have been completed at a series of sites around eight villages across Tarnava Mare
in 2014, 2015 & 2016 and at six of those same villages in 2013. These surveys
are revealing interesting patterns in butterfly habitat associations and changes
in the communities over time. The same sites surveyed since 2013 will be
resurveyed in 2017 and these data can be used to identify habitat associations and
changes between years within the butterfly communities. One useful output from
these studies might be the identification of butterfly species which could be used
as indicators of high nature conservation grassland.

Land abandonment is one type of agricultural change in


Tarnava Mare driven by membership of the EU and associated
policy and socio-economic changes. This project seeks
to better understand the process of abandonment and the
factors behind such land use change. Fieldwork will involve
mapping the location and the extent of abandoned farmland
for each village. GIS-based spatial analyses can then be
used to investigate distribution patterns: the degree to which
abandoned land is clustered or randomly dispersed across the
landscape, and whether there are characteristic field shapes
and sizes. Further analysis will investigate the influence of
various factors on the likelihood of abandonment, such as
topography (steepness of slope and altitude), distance to the
village, and soil characteristics.
TR171 Mammal abundance and landscape composition
(start date 28 June)

TR167 Changes in bird communities in Tarnava Mare and habitat


associations (start date 28 June)
Point counts for 10 minutes of all birds seen or heard were completed twice
at each of nearly 300 sites across the Tarnava Mare region in 2014, 2015 &
2016 and at nearly 200 of those same sites in 2013. The 300 sites are being
resurveyed in 2017 and these datasets, together with those from previous years,
would enable a number of different questions to be addressed. For example,
what changes in the bird communities over the study period have been noted?
What are the preferred habitats of the main species and how has the proportion
of these habitats changed over the study period? If farming practices change how
could this affect the bird communities? Are there species which could be used
as indicators of habitat quality? This project is data rich and should enable some
complex analyses to be performed.

In 2016 the relative abundances of larger mammals, including


bear, roe deer, wild boar, fox and marten, were assessed by
recording signs of presence (scat and tracks) along survey
routes at each of 7 villages across the Tarnava Mare region.
The data suggest that the broad scale landscape composition
the mosaic of different land cover types may influence
population densities and hence the frequency with which
these larger mammal signs are encountered. This project
would involve repeating the larger mammal surveys and
then analysing the data in conjunction with GIS-based land
cover maps that are being updated each year. This could
reveal whether there are particular land cover combinations
which support the greatest abundance and diversity of larger
mammals, and consequently suggest the potential impacts of
land cover changes on future larger mammal abundance.

TR172 Small mammal species distribution and


abundance in relation to land composition within the
Tarnava Mare (start date 28 June)
The Tarnava Mare Natura 2000 area offers a unique opportunity
to study the ecology of small mammals in a traditional,
yet vulnerable farming system. These systems provide a
mosaic of habitats for several small mammal species. The
habitats include species-rich grassland, cultivated fields and
woodlands. The threat of encroaching scrub has become
a major concern for the conservation of the species-rich
grassland and is likely to affect small mammal distribution.
Several species of rodents and some shrew species utilise
the species rich grassland but data are needed on utilisation
of these habitat mosaics by small mammal communities or
how small mammals are responding to shrub encroachment
and changes in farming practices. Capture mark recapture
techniques can be used to assess population size in different
habitats, breeding dynamics and habitat preference. The
conservation of small mammal habitats is not only important
for the small mammals themselves but is important for
the range of predators that rely on them for prey. Species
like the lesser spotted eagle are of major conservation
concernand voles are known to be an important part of their
diets.Assessing mammal distribution and densities throughout
the Tarnava Mare is important to help monitor the efficacy of
the Natura 2000 management schemes in conserving this
fragile ecosystem.

Transylvania

TR170 Distribution of abandoned land in the Tarnava


Mare Reserve (start date 28 June)

TR168 Bat species distribution and abundance in relation to land


composition within the Tarnava Mare (start date 28 June)
Since 2014 the species of bat present in 8 villages across the Tarnava Mare region
have been assessed. A combination of static recorders and hand held detectors
have been used along two transects in each village, allowing a good picture of bat
species presence to be gained. A number of possible influencing factors such as
light sources, roost availability and landscape composition could also be explored.
This project will involve repeating the bat surveys and then analysing the data in
conjunction with GIS-based land cover maps that are being updated each year.
This could reveal whether there are particular land cover combinations which
support the greatest abundance and diversity of bats. Similarly, this technique
could be used in combination with other influencing factors.
TR169 Farming changes in the Tarnava Mare region and how these are
likely to impact biodiversity (start date 28 June)
Since 2013 there have been detailed surveys of farming practice in a series of
farms across the Tarnava Mare region. These data show differences in the types of
livestock held in different villages across Tarnava Mare and the farm surveys being
completed in 2017 could look at whether those differences have persisted. The
project could estimate the livestock breeds (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry)
owned by a series of farms across the Tarnava Mare region and attempt to identify
why such differences may be occurring such as traditional usage, availability of land
or economic benefits. Another project could look at grassland management and the
influence of the EU payments for traditional management practices whilst another
project could examine changes in crops and the likely impact on biodiversity.

Transylvania
66

67

68
69

Botany

28
34
35
35
35
36
36
36
36
37
37
37
42
42

HO120 Behaviour and feeding ecology of Caribbean reef herbivores


IN121 Island birds as a method of studying evolutionary mechanisms
IN122 Functional ecology of coral reefs
IN123 Biological agents of reef mortality
IN124 Coral reefs and environmental change
IN125 Behavioural adaptations of dwarf cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis
IN126 Are mutualistic relationships the norm?
IN127 Seagrass and patch reef ecology
IN128 Coral reef transitions: understanding regime shifts from coral to sponge dominated states
Evaluating potential effects of rising environmental temperatures on thermal ecology of fiddler
IN129
crabs, Uca spp.
IN130 Long-term changes in the community ecology of coral reefs
IN173 Fisheries research in local communities
MA131 Spatial behavioural ecology of the Malagasy giant hognose snake
MA132 Ecology of amphibians in Mahamavo

43

MA140 Community ecology in Madagascar

50
50
50

ME147 Effect of tourism on immature green turtle behaviour in Akumal Bay


ME148 Immature green turtle foraging behaviour and seagrass abundance in Akumal Bay
A comparison of pristine and degraded mangroves in Akumal and the impact of mangrove
ME149
degradation on adjacent seagrasses and coral reefs
ME150 Understanding the non-conventional cenote-mangrove forest system
The conservation of and improvement of Caribbean coral reefs: Reef restoration through plantation
ME151
of Acropora cervicornis

63
63

SO163 Factors affecting the population size and distribution of large mammals in Kwa-Zulu Natal
SO164 Monitoring the populations and ranging patterns of the critically endangered black rhino

67
67

TR171 Mammal abundance and landscape composition


Small mammal species distribution and abundance in relation to land composition within the
TR172
Tarnava Mare

14

67

TR170 Distribution of abandoned land in the Tarnava Mare Reserve

66

TR169 Farming changes in the Tarnava Mare region and how these are likely to impact on biodiversity

66

TR168 Bat species distribution and abundance in relation to land composition within the Tarnava Mare

66

TR167 Changes in bird communities in Tarnava Mare and habitat associations

TOTALS

66
66

TR166 Butterfly communities as indicators of habitat changes in Tarnava Mare

TR165 Plant indicator species of grasslands in Transylvania

TRANSYLVANIA

62
62

SW161 Assessing the behavioural effects of independent translocation of African Elephants


SW162 Calculating the carrying capacity of the Royal Jozini Reserve for elephant populations

57

14

57

57

PE158 Population monitoring and habitat preferences of primates in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve
Niche separation in tamarins, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys and other primates in the
PE159
Peruvian Amazon
PE160 Behavioural changes during interspecific associations of primate groups in the Peruvian Amazon

57

PE157 Population trends and habitat preferences of pink and grey river dolphins in the Peruvian Amazon

56

PE156 Population structure and abundance of understorey birds

SOUTH AFRICA

56

56
56

56

24

51

24

14

Marine
ecology

51

Mammals

11

11

Genetics

Fisheries

12

20

20

Conservation
management

12

Spatial
ecology

17

17

Behaviour

17

17

Dive projects

13

13

Snorkel
projects

13

Snorkel
projects

Dissertation Summary Table

Environmental Experimental
science
biology

14

Birds

17

Dive projects

17

Behaviour

20

Conservation
management

12

Spatial
ecology

Genetics

Fisheries

51

49

49

Invertebrates Herpetofauna

PE152 Tropical butterfly diversity and environmental gradients


Potential impacts of climate change on sustainable fishing resources for the Cocama indigenous
PE153
people
Species assemblages and niche separation of amphibians within the Pacaya-Samiria National
PE154
Reserve
PE155 Niche separation in caiman species

PERU

48
49

48

ME142 Herpetofaunal species distribution and niche partitioning in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
Large mammal abundance and distribution patterns in relation to habitat characteristics and
ME143
hunting in the Mayan forest
ME144 Spider monkey grouping patterns, habitat use and behaviour
Bat abundance, diversity and distribution patterns in relation to habitat characteristics of the
ME145
Mayan forest
ME146 Sea turtle nest site preferences and hatchling sex ratios

Page

ME141 Bird diversity & distribution in relation to forest structure in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

MEXICO

TOTALS

Code

Title

43

43
43

42

MA137

MA139 Landscape ecology in Madagascar

42

MA135 Microhabitats and niche partitioning in chameleons, skinks, geckos or snakes in Madagascar
MA136 Niche separation and the impacts of disturbance on bird communities in the dry forest
Regional biogeography, ecology and behaviour of nocturnal lemurs in the dry deciduous forest of
northwestern Madagascar
MA138 Species distribution modelling in Madagascar

42
42

MA133 Thermal ecology and UVB requirements of chameleons, skinks and geckos
MA134 Colour variability and the ecological use of colour in the chameleons and geckos of Mahamavo

MADAGASCAR

28

28

HO119 The behaviour of invasive lionfish on Caribbean reefs

28

28

HO116 Coral reef 3D complexity as a driver of ecosystem function and biodiversity


Designing an optimal monitoring strategy for Caribbean coral reefs using novel technological
HO117
solutions
HO118 Physiology and behaviour of the long-spined sea urchin, a keystone Caribbean coral reef herbivore

27

HO115 The dynamics of mutualistic cleaning interactions on Caribbean coral reefs

INDONESIA

27

HO114 Interactions between reef health and fish communities

27

HO113 Managing the Caribbean lionfish invasion

11

Environmental Experimental
science
biology

26

Intertidal
ecology

Intertidal
ecology

27

24

Marine
ecology

HO111 Ecology and behaviour of bats in tropical cloud forests, Honduras

Primates

Primates

HO112 Tracking the recovery of a keystone urchin species and its role in reef restoration

25

25

26

25

HO105 Trophic ecology of snakes in Cusuco National Park

14

HO110 Using camera traps to quantify human disturbance of large mammal species, Honduras

25

HO104 Abundance and distribution of threatened amphibian populations in Cusuco cloud forest

Mammals

26

24

HO103 Aquatic invertebrate communities in tank bromeliads

14

Birds

26

24

HO102 Ecology of moths in the tropical cloud forest of Honduras

Invertebrates Herpetofauna

HO109 Variation in cloud forest small mammal populations and their microhabitats, Honduras

24

Botany

HO106 Prevalence of chytrid in amphibian populations within Cusuco


Angrier in the middle? Does territorial aggression differ with elevation and competitors in tropical
HO107
understorey passerines?
HO108 Factors affecting bird communities in the cloud forests of Cusuco

24

Page

HO101 Dung beetle ecology in the Honduran cloud forest

Title

HO100 Epiphytic lichen community survey in Cusuco National Park

HONDURAS

TOTALS

Code

WEEK
1

CROATIA
1

15 JUNE

21 JUNE

CUBA
1

16 JUNE

22 JUNE

GUYANA
1

20 JUNE

26 JUNE

WEEK
2

22 JUNE

28 JUNE

23 JUNE

29 JUNE

27 JUNE

3 JULY

WEEK
3

29 JUNE

5 JULY

30 JUNE

6 JULY

4 JULY

10 JULY

WEEK
4

6 JULY

12 JULY

7 JULY

13 JULY

11 JULY

17 JULY

WEEK
5

13 JULY

19 JULY

14 JULY

20 JULY

20 JULY

26 JULY

21 JULY

27 JULY

27 JULY

2 AUGUST

28 JULY

3 AUGUST

WEEK
6
WEEK
7
WEEK
8
WEEK
9
WEEK
10

18 JULY

24 JULY
25 JULY

31 JULY

HONDURAS
1 3

1
4

4 67

1 1
1 3

11 AUGUST

17 AUGUST

13 JUNE D

19 JUNE

5 78 11
12

14 JUNE D

D
20 JUNE
12

1
5

28 JUNE D

4 JULY

5 JULY

11 JULY
1
0

91
0

1
3

12

18 JUNE D

23 JUNE

20 JUNE D

26 JUNE

25 JUNE

30 JUNE

27 JUNE D

3 JULY

2 JULY

7 JULY

4 JULY

10 JULY
3

MADGASCAR

MEXICO
1

12 JUNE D

D
18 JUNE

PERU
1 3

11 JUNE

16 JUNE

19 JUNE

25 JUNE
2

3 JULY

9 JULY
3

9 JULY

14 JULY

18 JULY

24 JULY

23 JULY

28 JULY

17 JULY

23 JULY

16 JULY

21 JULY

19 JULY

25 JULY

25 JULY

31 JULY

30 JULY

4 AUGUST

24 JULY

30 JULY

23 JULY

28 JULY

26 JULY

1 AUGUST

1 AUGUST

7 AUGUST

31 JULY

6 AUGUST

30 JULY

4 AUGUST

How to find out more


Opwalls YouTube channel has a large number of short videos.
Attending a presentation is also a fast and easy way of finding out
which expedition is right for you. We visit multiple universities in
the UK, Ireland, US and Canada each year. Please contact your
nearest office to find out when we will be visiting your university.

Insurance
Opwall has insurance in place to provide medical and repatriation
cover up to 1million for all participants on the expedition. All
participants will still need to purchase travel insurance to cover
things like loss or theft of luggage, trip cancellation and travel
interruption. We can point you in the direction of a suitable policy
if you need any assistance. See travel advice www.opwall.com for
more details about insurance.

14 JUNE

20 JUNE
21 JUNE

27 JUNE

28 JUNE D

4 JULY

1 JULY

7 JULY
2

8 JULY

14 JULY

5 JULY

11 JULY
2

12 JULY

18 JULY

15 JULY

21 JULY
35

22 JULY

28 JULY

19 JULY

25 JULY
3

29 JULY

4 AUGUST

2 AUGUST

8 AUGUST

Ready to book?
You can book your expedition in a number of ways; in person
at one of our presentations, over the phone or by submitting an
online booking form.

10 JUNE

16 JUNE

24 JUNE

30 JUNE

26 JULY

1 AUGUST
2 AUGUST

8 AUGUST

5 AUGUST

11 AUGUST
12 AUGUST

18 AUGUST

www.opwall.com

Getting more information


You will find much more detailed information on our website. This
includes full project descriptions, details of accommodation,
costs, kit lists, reading lists and our publication library, along with
full details on how and where to book international flights, internal
travel arrangements and costs. If you have trouble finding any
information you are looking for please contact your local office.

TRANSYLVANIA

17 JUNE

23 JUNE

2 JULY

7 JULY

16 JULY

21 JULY

10 JULY

16 JULY

25 JUNE

30 JUNE

18 JUNE

23 JUNE

26 JUNE D

D
2 JULY

9 JULY

14 JULY

SOUTH AFRICA

11 JULY

17 JULY

12 JULY

18 JULY

1
2

4 AUGUST

10 AUGUST

1
4

7 JUNE D

13 JUNE

21 JUNE D

D
27 JUNE

INDONESIA

Dates, fees and how to book

2017

Expedition Fees

Key
1 Set expedition
number, start and
end dates
Green = terrestrial
Blue = marine
Sand = bush

D Forest
dissertation
start date

Expedition Length Price in the UK

Price in US$

Price in Can$

2 Weeks

1,225

1,900

2,150

D Marine
dissertation
start date

4 Weeks

2,250

3,375

4,100

6 Weeks

2,997

4,500

5,400

D Bush dissertation
start date

8 Weeks

3,950

5,925

7,100

Dates, fees and how to book


70

71

Printed by

www.cupitprint.co.uk

www.opwall.com
OPWALL OFFICES:
UK HEAD OFFICE
Wallace House
Old Bolingbroke Lincs PE23 4EX
UNITED KINGDOM
e: info@opwall.com t: +44 (0)1790 763194

CANADA OFFICE

US OFFICE

e: canada@opwall.com
t: +1 (905) 231-2095

e: usa@opwall.com
t: +1 (973) 920-0487

PHOTO CREDITS; Many thanks to all the Opwall staff, students and partners who risk their equipment, take such fantastic photos and allow us to use them:
Iwokrama Forest, Mljet National Park, Nambu Conservation Trust, TCD Bird Team, Joseph Adams, Akumal Dive Centre, Ron Allicock, Katie Amey, Caitlin Andrews,
Dave Andrews, Dr Jorge Angulo, Guille Armero, Robert Arthur, Tom Avent, Eleanor Baggett, Felix Barbour, Frederico Barroso, Matt Bassett, Leonard Beck,
Jacob Birkenhead, Dr Kirstin Bohn, Bob Bonney, Dr Mark Bowler, Colleen Boyce, Robin Brace, Adele Brand, Georgina Bray, Will Brinkerhoff, Hannah Bryan,
Alicia Buckley, Alistair Bygrave, Emma Camp, Greta Carette-Vega, Carlos Carias, Sara Carlson, Lucia Carmona, Amy Chisnell, Ruby Chow, Bogdan Ciortan,
Hrvoje Cizmek, Andy Clark, Alan Clayton, Dr James Coates, Silvia Cojocaru, Dwi Coles, Dr Tim Coles, Tim Colston, Emily Cook, Coral Divers, Amy Cote,
Leana Crowley, Erin Cubitt, Lucie Cunningham, Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick, Rachel Daniels, Lauren Dawson, Pippa Disney-Tozer, Amy Dixon, Sarah Drabble, Dr Jen Dyer,
Joanne Edge, Carys Edwards, Holly English, Xinmena Escovar-Fadul, Dr Ben Evans, Vivienne Evans, Dr Dan Exton, Nina Faure-Beaulieu, Tiana Ferenac,
Dr Richard Field, Mike Flavell, Rachael Forster, Fortismere School, Harrison Frost, Marimar Garciadiego, Phoebe Gibson, Thomas Gilmour, Joe Giulian,
Rebecca Grainger-Wood, Steven Greaves, Lucy Hadingham, C Hamilton, Charlotte Harper, Sarah Harper, Jack Haynes, Lauren Henley, Juan Hernandez,
Matthias Herold, Danielle Hines, Dr Justin Hines, Thomas Horsley, Vivian Hughes, Christina Hunt, Eve Hunter, Samuel James, Dr Dusan Jelic, Eleanor Jenkins,
Dr Eleanor Jew, Imin Kaimuddin, Leila Kazemi, Robert Kirby, Marie Kirkland, Jon Kolby, Michael Kowalski, Justin Kraus, Andreas Lange, Adam Laverty, Andrew Laverty,
Hannah Lee, Damian Lettoof, Etienne Littlefair, Christi Lloyd, Annie Lo, Dan Locke-Wheaton, Freya Long, Wayne Lovell, Stevie Mac, Rory Macartur, Charlotte Magnell,
Jenny Mallon, Pippa Mansell, Eduardo Marbuto, Dr Nicola Marples, Alex Marshall, Dr Tom Martin, Alice Michel, Laura Michie, Randy Morrison, James Muir,
Fabien Mulhberger, Aoefe Ni-Rathaille, Matthew Norman, Natalie Novak, James ONeill, Mattew Owen, Alexandra Paschali, Tom Peschak, Dr Roger Poland, Ben Porter,
Adam Powell, Andrew Power, Dan Pupius, Marc Rabenandrasana, Adam Radage, Ashley Raymond, Dr Neil Reid, Ernesto Reyes, Amanda Richards, James Rimmer,
Melissa Ruffell, Benjamin Sadd, Pelayo Salinas de Leon, Dr James Saunders, Kevin Schmidt, Johan Scholtz, Florian Schulz, Jenna Scott, Dana Settle, Emma Shalvey,
Radhika Sharma, Victor Shegelski, James Shipp, Ioan Smart, Prof Dave Smith, Jennifer Smith, Andrew Snyder, Lakshya Soni, Jennifer Souder, Dr Martin Speight,
Achyuthan Srikanthan, Danielle Stern, Jason Suwandy, Hugh Tam, Helen Taylor, Carl Thiele, Carl Thiele, Hannah Thomas, Reece Thornley, Alex Tozer, Colin Trainor,
Prof George Turner, Blyth Walker, Sarah-Jane Walsh, Dan Ward, Lauren Warnell, Isabelle Whitehead, Dr Matthew Whiteley, Paul Williams, Laurence Willsher,
Jane Wright, Chantelle Wyatt, Marine Conservation Journalist, Catherine Yates, Grace Young, Vicky Yuan, Christian Ziegler

PARTNERS: We have a number of partners in each country but the principal ones for each country are listed

IMPORTANT NOTE: The details of the expedition programmes described in this brochure are correct at the time of going to print. However, note that you will be joining a real scientific expedition and that on occasions the work
carried out on individual projects will differ from that described in order to respond to scientific priorities. Please keep checking our website www.opwall.com for the most up-to-date information about the expeditions.
ABTOT
The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours
Regulations 1992 for Operation Wallacea Ltd, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:
1. non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK;
2. non-flight packages commencing and returning to a country other than the UK; and
3. flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland, which are sold to customers outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland.
1, 2 and 3 provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled. 1 and 3 provides for repatriation. Please note that bookings made outside the UK and Republic of
Ireland are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Operation Wallacea Ltd.
ATOL
Flight inclusive packages travelling from the UK are covered under the ATOL scheme.
ATOL protection does not apply to all services listed in this brochure. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL
Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be
ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/
ATOLCertificate.