Scientific Expeditions are an organized form of scientific field research they can be used for field work in geography, geology, hydrology, and (our favourite) ecology. Groups of specialists carry out field work and data collection in line with the specific aims of the project.
Scientific expeditions have been happening for 100s of years. Some of the most famous ones are Charles Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos on the HMS Beagle, and (our namesake!) Alfred Russell Wallace’s trip to Indonesia.
Opwall’s Scientific Research Expeditions
At Operation Wallacea, we carry our scientific expeditions each year, to contribute to our long term biodiversity monitoring projects. We are a network of academics from European and North American universities, who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research expeditions. Our research is supported by students who join the programme, to strengthen their CV or resume or collect data for a dissertation or thesis. Academics benefit from funding for high quality fieldwork enabling them to publish papers in peer reviewed journals. This model enables the collection of large temporal and spatial datasets used for assessing the effectiveness of conservation management interventions.
Some of the activities we carry out to monitor wildlife on our expeditions include:
Scientists gather information about birds in a variety of ways, from observing them in their natural habitat to catching them to take morphological data like weight, size, and health. The tool scientists use to catch birds is called a mist-net, a very fine net strung between poles within a birds’ habitat.
Visual sampling surveys are considered one of the best ways to monitor populations of reptiles and amphibians in a given area. This methodology is extremely simple, requiring researchers to walk down a transect – a straight piece of trail around 1-2km long – and record every herp they see along the way.
Camera traps use infrared sensors to detect if an animal is moving in front of it. When they detect movement, they capture photos and videos of the animal. Camera trapping provides data about the diversity, density, and behaviour of species living in a certain area. Importantly, they allow scientists to monitor animals which humans being present.
Careers in Conservation Webinars
Careers in Conservation A free webinar giving you a comprehensive guide on the many different routes into a career in wildlife conservation and the jobs available in the sector