The fish populations of the Yarapa river are a vital resource for the local indigenous people, making up to 70% of the protein of their diet. Fund Amazonia and Opwall have been monitoring the fish populations of the Yarapa river using a variety of methods, including side-scan sonar, gill net capture rates, demography of size classes, and socio-economic analysis. Results from the research has shown how climate fluctuations affect fish communities and hence the people who depend on them for their livelihood. This project could combine studying fish abundance and diversity to harvest rates to determine sustainable use, coupled with the socioeconomics of fishing to evaluate use and sustainability by local indigenous people and the impact of climate change. Fish populations are counted using side-scan sonar, fish diversity, abundance and size classes are determined using catch and release sampling using gill nets set for one hour. Socio-economic data on fish harvest, subsistence use, market sales, management actions and other economic and sociological variables could be collected by interviewing local people in nearby villages.
If you would like to do a dissertation or thesis with us but your university hasn’t started dissertation planning or the project selection process, that’s no problem. You can cancel your expedition with zero cancellation charges up until the 15th of April of if you provide documentation from your university saying that they won’t support completing a dissertation project with us.
The primary study site is an area of seasonally flooded forest that connects the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve and the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Community Reserve. Surveys are conducted in the forest and white-water systems of the Lower Yarapa River from the confluence with the Amazon upriver towards its origin in the Ucayali river. A secondary field site extends from a base within an Amazonian community in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve, surveying the black water system of the Tahuayo River and surrounding forests. The overarching goal of this project is to help conserve the Peruvian Amazon through field research that provides the science base for biodiversity conservation. Community-based conservation dominates the landscape of the western Amazon with large community-based reserves, community co-managed reserves and indigenous territories covering 98,800km². Opwall teams work closely with local communities, with particular areas of focus studying sustainable use of fish and bushmeat to support community management, and monitoring the recovery of endangered species such as giant river otter and jaguar populations. The flooded forests (várzea) of this area are particularly susceptible to global climate change which appears to be increasing the frequency of extreme flooding events and low water periods. Research will be conducted into how wildlife and people have been impacted by recent historic floods and droughts, especially in the flooded forests where effects have been devastating for terrestrial mammals, such as tapir, peccaries, armadillos and large rodents. Opwall teams contribute to one of the most extensive datasets in the Amazon and this information, managed by our Peruvian partners Fund Amazonia, is showing the impact of climate change on a range of taxa and on the livelihoods of indigenous people. It is being used to inform management decisions for community reserves and protected areas, and policy decisions for conserving the Peruvian Amazon.
The temperature varies very little in the area where we are based in Peru. It averages between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius (70 and 90 Fahrenheit). The humidity will usually always be over 75%, which can make it feel quite hot and sticky. During the evenings, the temperature drops and it can feel much cooler but still usually stays around 20 degrees.
Fitness level required
Low. This is terrestrial based project so you will be in the forest for your surveys. There are no hills and you will be on the marked transect but the terrain can be muddy and quite uneven.
Facilities in Peru are on a research boat where you will sleep in bunk beds in a shared cabin. The bathroom is also shared and you can expect hand flushed toilets and cold showers. You will have no cell phone signal or wifi.