Project Guyana – Expedition Update

Posted: July 31, 2012 - 17:11 , by admin
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Hello, this is Stacey Kerr, an Environmental Visual Communication student at the ROM. “Curator’s Corner: Project Guyana” was a huge success this past weekend, showcasing some of the work done by ROM curators on the biodiversity of Guyana. It also afforded us a quick update from Burton Lim, Assistant Curator of Mammals, and my classmate Joshua See, who are currently down in Guyana for the month conducting bat diversity surveys (for more info, see Josh’s last blog post)

Early Saturday morning as I was getting set up for Curator’s Corner, I heard the familiar “blip” sound of an instant message coming from my computer. It was Josh! He has been with Burton and their team of students and researchers from Operation Wallacea for the past week doing field surveys at a remote camp in the forest called Kabocalli.

This map shows the area where ROM researchers are searching for biodiversity in Guyana

Instead of the beds they had at Iwokrama River Lodge for their days of training at the beginning of the trip, the team worked and slept in the forest, with hammocks draped in mosquito netting and covered by tarps called “bashas” to help keep the rain at bay. It’s the middle of one of Guyana’s two rainy seasons, so there’s definitely a lot of rain! Storms move in quickly and frequently, so things have been pretty wet.

Guyana has been wet for ROM researchers, and photoraphers

Operation Wallacea student running in the rain (by Joshua See)

Later in the day, the internet connection with Guyana was interrupted by thick cloud cover, but we were able to talk to bat scientist Burton Lim via satellite phone – he climbed a hill to get a signal! He answered questions asked by the visitors to the event. Burton said that the monitoring is going well, and will help to contribute to an ongoing annual survey that will allow researchers to discover long-term trends in the abundance and diversity of Guyana’s species.

Burton Lim, conducting research and educating students about bat diversity in Guyana

Burton Lim, conducting research and educating students about bat diversity in Guyana (by Joshua See)

Averaging around ten species found each night, Burton hopes to rival last year’s total of 41 bat species collected from Iwokrama and its associated field camps. After talking with us at the Curator’s Corner event, Josh, Burton and their team are headed back out to the field. They will spend the next couple weeks travelling by boat to different field camps to continue the biodiversity surveys. Keep an eye out for more updates and photos from Josh!

Interesting backlit bat specimen

One of the dozens of bat species found near Iwokrama during Burton's expedition (by Joshua See)

 

Written by Stacey Kerr

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