We have a number of talks coming up about our expeditions, register for a talk by clicking here!

How we use our data for research and conservation outcomes

  • Every summer around 3000 students join us in the field, working alongside a team of over 200 scientists. This leads to the generation of very large datasets every year, which we use in a number of ways to achieve our research and conservation goals. These goals are generally very broad. While we have particular strengths in research relating to ecology, zoology, and applied conservation, and these areas represent our mainstay, we are interested in all scientific aspects of our study sites, and over the years have published in areas as diverse as geology, sociology and environmental economics. Broadly speaking, the data we collect falls into two categories: long term monitoring projects and specialist projects.

Visit our research library

  • Long term data collection

    Most of our research effort goes into sourcing the long-term monitoring datasets that are a particular speciality of Opwall. Monitoring data involves conducting the same surveys at the same sites using the same methods, year-on-year, in order to detect long-term ecological trends in our study sites. While such monitoring data is extremely valuable (being the only effective means of measuring change in an ecosystem) it is often hard to obtain. This is because sourcing long-term data relies on long-term funding – sadly something that is typically difficult to achieve in most ecosystems worldwide. However, because Operation Wallacea’s student-funded model guarantees that we can run our surveys as long as students keep joining us on-site year after year, we have been able to create extremely powerful long-term datasets, now exceeding >20 years of data for some of our older sites. This allows us to publish high impact research examining ecological trends and conservation issues in our study sites – several of these have been published in Nature and Science; the most prestigious scientific journals globally.

    Research Library
  • Specialist Projects

    In addition to our long-term monitoring project, we also support numerous smaller-scale, shorter-term specialist projects at each of our study sites. Data from our monitoring surveys is very powerful, but takes a long time to source, and can be quite narrow in the ways it can be used. By supporting specialist projects to run alongside our monitoring surveys, we can ensure we retain a steady stream of publications that cover a broad range of topics. Specialist projects usually run for a few years and are typically led by a collaborator at a partnering academic institution. Topics for these specialist projects are extremely broad. Recent examples include examining the ecology of lionfish in Caribbean reefs, taxonomic collections of spiders in Malagasy dry forests, and examining evolutionary patterns in coral snake mimics in Mesoamerican cloud forests.



This combination of long-term monitoring projects and short-term specialist projects has proved a successful approach for producing scientific research at our study sites. To date, we have published more than 650 peer-reviewed papers in over 260 academic journals. However, our data has value beyond the production of published research. It is also used to directly inform conservation actions and policy, both in within the study sites we work in, and globally. Examples of this include the use of our data to support changes in the IUCN Redlist status of threatened species, to recommend locations for new protected areas, and to highlight the need for managemental changes in existing protected areas. Our datasets are also donated to the UK-based charity the Wallacea Trust (charity number 1078362), who develop conservation projects in the sites we work in and lever funds to support these projects. To find out more about the work of the Wallacea Trust, please visit their website.


  • Alternative income streams in Mexico's Calakmul forest to reduce hunting of jaguar
  • Tree planting scheme in Sulawesi to reforest damaged areas and provid eincome for local communities
  • Developing mangrove reforestation schemes using funding from the Voluntary Carbon Markets
  • Developing a tradebale biodiversity credit
  • Visit the website here

Our Projects (Short Version)

The above is a small part of a longer video

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com