Research & Conservation
A wide variety of research opportunities are available in both the biological and social sciences. "Our" region of the Amazon is extremely biodiverse with many groups of organisms un-studied or under-studied. Particular diverse groups at our field stations include:
Birds: at least 500 species in the immediate area
Fish: >300 species and probably at least 400 species
Hymenopterans: extremely diverse and basically unknown
Trees: >500 species present
Herps: 275 species (141 spp. of amphibian; 134 spp. of reptiles)
Lepidopterans: anyone's guess!
One-hectare marked tree plots have been established at both the Madre Selva Biological Station and Santa Cruz Forest Reserve, and a steadily expanding arboretum at Santa Cruz is also available for identifications and research. Numerous plants long trails at Santa Cruz have additionally been identified by local residents (local name and usage).
Both field stations have power for charging or running field gear and laptops and ample table space for projects, but on-site equipment is limited. There is ready access at both sites to a variety of upland and seasonally flooded habitats, as well as to agricultural systems and local communities. Community members are often a wealth of information regarding the natural history of various organisms.
E-mail us about your research interest or topic. We'll correspond with you regarding the feasibility, presence/absence of any particular study organisms, seasonality of the sites, and any logistical details regarding site access.
Once it is determined that one or both sites are suitable to your needs, send us your formal research proposal (it doesn't need to be polished!)
Talk to your university or institution's Institutional Review Board (IRB) representative(s). Most professional journals will not publish work unless the author(s) provide proof of IRB approval and also approval from host country authorities.
Some research activities may require permits from the Peruvian Government - this is particularly true for research that requires collection of specimens (for identification, vouchers, etc.), or for any kind of genetic analysis. The Peruvian government also requires many projects to have a Peruvian collaborator (researcher, graduate student, senior student, etc.). We have contacts with the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP = Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana), and can facilitate the process.
Research permit applications must be submitted in Spanish. We work to keep up with the latest requirements and again, can facilitate the process.
We will work closely with you to develop a budget, organize logistics, and facilitate in whatever way we can. We want you to do research at our field sites!
Our approach to conservation has several aspects.
First, we directly conserve flora and fauna at our field sites in the Amazon, and are working to expand protected land area, and to reforest degraded areas formerly used for agriculture and/or grazing.
Secondly, we work to engage local stakeholders in the conservation process. Our station caretakers and workers are all from local communities, and we utilize local labor whenever possible for maintenance, building projects, and as field assistants and guides for researchers, courses and visitors.
Thirdly, we work to incentivize land-owners to adopt alternatives to slash & burn agriculture and grazing for making a living. Such alternatives include agroforestry practices, planting high-value native trees in environmentally sensitive areas (creek banks, steep slopes, eroded areas)
Fourthly, we work with educators and schools to teach young people about the value of the environmental services provided by intact rainforest, as well as the potential for ecotourism and other alternatives to deforestation.
Ongoing & Past Research
Covid-19 has halted research activities for the moment, but once a vaccine and/or effective therapy is available, we expect that research will pick up quickly again.
Descriptions of research projects will be added gradually. Thanks for your patience.
2019-2021: Marsh, Alexander; Metcalf, Matthew - Amphibian and reptile diversity by habitat type at Santa Cruz and Madre Selva. Florida Gulf Coast University.
2001-2002: Choo, Johanna - Dissertation research on fruit and avian frugivore abundance between Amazonian Peru and Borneo. Rutgers University, NJ, USA.
Publications from work at PA Field Sites
2005. Choo, J. The Avifauna and wild fruits of two equatorial rainforest sites: an inter-tropical comparison. Dissertation. Rutgers, The State Univ. of New Jersey.
2007.. Choo, J., Vasquez-Martínez, R., W STILES, E. Diversidad Y Abundancia De Plantas Con Flores Y Frutos entre Octubre 2001 Y Septiembre 2002 en La Reserva Paucarillo, en El Noroeste De La Amazon a Peruana. Rev. Peru Biol, 14(1) 25-31.