The 2018 Expeditions
Proposals Evening will take place on the 3rd of October at 5:30pm in the Graham Kerr BuildingJoining an expedition is simple! At Proposals Evening, previous expedition goers share their experiences and the 2018 team leaders will present concrete plans for the 2018 projects. At this event, you will also be able to join the Exploration Society by paying a membership fee of £4. Application forms will be available from the end of September. Your application will not be considered if you do not pay the membership fee. Throughout October, interviews are held, the teams form and then the planning really begins.
2017 was the fifth summer the Egypt expedition has run and the fourth to be based near El Quesir. 8 students from various stages in their university career flew to Hurghada at the start of June to spend 6 weeks conducting marine research in the pristine coral reefs of the Red Sea.
The expedition conducted research for 4 honours projects, 3 of which built upon studies from previous years. Two of the projects, exploring coral cover and fish behaviour, were
Meanwhile, the rockpool study was a new and successful project examining diversity in the intertidal zone. Despite research focusing on the marine environment, half the team were zoologists.
Aside from science, the team was heavily involved in outreach. While still in Glasgow, some of the team gave a talk to local primary school pupils about our work and the importance of marine conservation. During the expedition, various events were organised in conjunction with local NGOs. These included giving a talk at a local school, a mangrove clean-up plus a day activity camp.
The expedition was hosted at Roots Camp, a holiday camp aimed at divers. Not only is the camp linked to a top-quality dive centre, Pharaoh Dive Club, but it is
The Trinidad team have had an amazing summer! Over ten weeks they have completed 8 different projects on animals including frogs, turtles and bats. There was also a new geography project looking at Trinidad’s waste management and environmental degradation on the island.
Before fieldwork could begin the team had to undergo training as the majority had never handled any of the animals before (especially having four geologists and geographers on board). However, they grew to enjoy every animal encounter making the project work really fun.
Each project was a great success. The leatherback turtle projects were looking at nest site compilation, nest site choice, egg temperatures as a proxy for body temperature and looking at how female leatherback turtles change over the course of the nesting season. The frog team were looking at how early life experiences affect frogs in later life. The
Hard work was rewarded with great days out. Some days off included visits to the Asa Wright Nature Centre where the team had the chance to see hummingbirds up close, a tour of Pitch Lake and Caroni Swamp, celebrating birthdays in Port of Spain and sampling some of Trinidad’s beautiful beaches!
Over the ten
Scotland-based expeditions are the longest standing part of Exploration Society, with the first recorded expedition taking place in 1936 on the Isle of Canna and visits to the Garvelloch Islands, St. Kilda and Foula (of the Shetland Isles) taking place throughout the few decades.
This year, a team of 8 undergraduate students spent 6 weeks conducting both zoological and geological research across the Isle of Islay. The team consisted of two students studying environmental sustainability, one earth science, and five zoologists – two of whom were conducting their honours projects on Islay. This research consisted of a small mammal project investigating the effectiveness of humane trapping grid layouts, an invertebrate study that aims to determine the foraging preferences and habitat distribution of British bee species, an investigation into the landscape effects of glaciation through flint deposits, and a group study of bird species distribution across different habitats.
Previous expeditions studies have covered a wide range of wildlife, with two of the most popular focuses being the bird and bat species of Islay. These include studies on the territorial, breeding and parental behaviours of the chough and herring gulls, studies on bat activity and diversity, behavioural studies on harbour seals and
Outreach is also a crucial aspect of expeditions, and this was the first year the Remote Scotland team worked in partnership with the islands environmentally conscious recycling team Re-Jig to conduct a beach clean – here there is great potential to continue work each year, and an opportunity to conduct micro-plastic and pollution based research, as well as giving an informative presentation at the end of the six weeks to locals of the Islay Natural History Trust, with whom the team also assisted in conducting a local pollinator survey.
When not conducting their own research, the team spent time exploring the island (and neighbouring island Jura – perfect for red deer and golden eagle spotting!) and relaxing in the wonderful accommodations Islay has to offer – with the expedition returning to Lagavulin Hall for the third year in a row, as well as Ellister Lodge and Balaclava Croft. Islay has many beautiful beaches that on a sunny day make it very easy to forget you are still in Britain! It also hosts 11 separate distilleries, and two major RSPB reserves – with the island in total providing a home to over 250 bird species! The Remote Scotland expedition may be a wee bit closer to home than the rest, but it certainly isn’t lacking in wildlife, research opportunities, and beautiful scenery.
The Glasgow Guyana Expedition 2017 was the first expedition to Guyana from The University of Glasgow in many years. A newly found collaboration with the Protected Areas Commission has opened up incredible and exciting opportunities for student research in the pristine tropical rainforests of Guyana. Four weeks were spent in the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area (a recently established nature reserve of 600,000 acres) in the deep interior of the country.
This year, the expedition aimed to collect baseline data on bats and amphibians, to determine if the disease Chytridiomycosis is present in the KMPA, and to document the presence of any other ground-dwelling wildlife using camera-traps. The region is home to some of the highest biodiversity in the
The living conditions and travel situation is challenging. Hammock and tarpaulin are your
The relatively small team and short time of the expedition (6 expedition members and four weeks in the field) requires a hardworking and committed group. Days began at
The adventure of a lifetime and a chance to gain skills and learn things about yourself that you may have never imagined. Check out our facebook page for more information about the 2017 expedition.
The Sri Lanka Expedition piloted this year with an interdisciplinary team of marine biology, zoology and geography students. They
The main focus of the expedition was to collect a data set on coral reefs and their associated fish assemblages fringing the area of Trincomalee and Pigeon Island, a marine protected area. The team snorkelled to survey the shallow reefs and went scuba-diving for the deeper reefs, which were around 10 meters deep. The method was to swim along a randomly placed
Out of the water, the team carried out beach clean-ups to measure the difference in micro and macro plastic abundance in exposed and sheltered bays around the Trincomalee area, a study that can also
Last year the Bolivia expedition took place for its fifth summer, having run from 2009 to 2012, as well as in 2014 and then again in 2016 (alternating with the Peru expedition). One of the most intense and challenging expeditions, the 2016 team of eight zoology students spent 9 weeks camping within the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, within the Beni Savannah of Bolivia.
Barba Azul, Spanish for ‘Blue Beard’ is so named as it is the only known place home to the critically endangered Blue-throated macaw (hunted and captured to near extinction for its plumage). Research on this species is a key element of the expedition, with the team working alongside local BirdLife partners Armonia for the duration of the time within the reserve. Due to the reserve being co-utilised by ranchers, there is the opportunity to rent horses on a daily basis, allowing team members to travel further afield than they would be able to on foot – visiting distant forest islands.
Specific studies in 2016 included mapping and comparing the biodiversity of the reserve, and investigating the inter- and intra-specific interactions of the blue-throated macaw. Several other endangered birds have been focuses of previous studies, including the Cock-tailed tyrant and Black-masked finch, as well as more abundant species such as Greater Rhea and various vulture species. The 2016 expedition saw two new areas of research on the reserve – observing the succession of scavenger species via camera traps, and comparing ground to aerial observations using a Phantom Drone (later donated to the reserve to be used for their own research, as well as producing promotional footage to attract tourists to the area).
This area of Bolivia is home to many more exciting species including caiman, howler monkey’s, ocelot and puma – all of which have been previously spotted! The main focus for the group project was a tri-weekly point count, in which team members observed the evening mass-flight patterns and directions of macaw species to try and determine where the nesting sites may be located. This, along with drone footage allowed Armonia to successfully begin working to expand their reserve boundaries (shared with local ranchers) to cover the area now known to host nesting macaws.
In summary, this is an incredibly worthwhile expedition. If you have a passion for new places, new people, living right among the action and contributing to the research and conservation of various vulnerable species, this is the expedition for you!
The Uganda Expedition has ambitious research goals, with geology at the core of all research we aim to undertake. We will visit the Rwenzori Mountains, part of the East African Rift System, which is an area of active tectonics, dynamic topography with deep lakes, high mountains and active volcanoes. The huge variability of this changing landscape, local climate and it’s richness in natural resources poses opportunities as well as challenges for local communities and consequently regional and global interests. We intend to show how this unique geological environment results in a fascinating area of study relating to environmental, social and educational challenges, and this expedition will challenge the typical view we may have when tackling these issues.