Broaden your horizon in the field of genetics as a participant in this fascinating Wilderness Experience in Peru and get to know the nature of the Amazonian rainforest up close. The scientific field of genetics revolutionized biological research – especially in the last few years since instruments for molecular analysis in mobile field research facilities were developed. This way hassles and barriers arousing from transporting DNA-samples to distant labs with the suitable equipment and know-how have been reduced. During your research adventure you will learn to handle one of those new instruments, the USB-sized powerful sequencer MinION, as you will work with it on a regular basis. This course will take you right into the heart of the Amazonian rainforest in Peru where experienced scientists will teach you how field research is properly done, how samples are collected from Amazonian wildlife and how genetic data is extracted, amplified, sequenced and interpreted. This way various practical research questions about wildlife ecology as well as natural history can be answered. As an enthusiastic researcher in nature, this course will not only provide new knowledge to you in a unique way but you will also pick up necessary skills and technical know-how to employ genetic research tools independently in the field.
Peru’s rainforest is part of the Amazon region which is one of the tropical rainforests with the most diverse flora and fauna. As a so called “biodiversity hotspot” the region is characterized by its manifold diversity in plants and animals as well as ecosystems that you will explore and research with your group. You will see numerous exotic species of plants and animals while learning within the Amazonian rainforest. Experience what it’s like to be a tropical biologist and get to know the Peruvian rainforest up close in this amazing Wilderness Experience course.
To participate in this course you need to be at least 18 years old and have a basic knowledge of English. Other than that there are no specific skills or knowledge required to participate – it is way more important that you have a great interest in nature as well as the willingness to participate and learn actively in this project. In addition to that you need a vaccination certificate as well as a medical certificate that confirms your good health. Besides that it is very important and required for you to have a valid travel health insurance before your journey starts.
Everyone interested in the our field courses in Peru aware that these courses aim at educating the participants. The courses have a set content and deal with a variety of topics that are introduced in English. A number of theoretical and practical examinations as well as presentations in English are part of the learning experience and can be challenging for non-native speakers.
Please note that the courses are not simply safari excursions but require effort. But if you are interested and also willing to learn something completely new, the challenges and tasks will be manageable for you. You should not get discouraged – feel free to contact us so we can discuss the detailed learning plan and explain the general procedure of the courses to you.
After your arrival at Puerto Maldonado’s International Airport, you will go on a boat ride of about an hour to get to the field station in the Amazonian rainforest. After your arrival at the station you will have some time to get used to your new surroundings and will then be introduced to the programme that you’ll be a part of for the following weeks. This course is designed to impart a broad spectrum of knowledge about research methods and the Amazon region to you. This knowledge is essential for your work in the collection of biological data of the Amazonian wildlife as well as for its sequencing and evaluation.
This course focuses on three different case studies in which genomics can help to reveal mysteries in wildlife research. The MinION, a really small but very efficient device for DNA sequencing that has revolutionized genomics, is used for all three studies. In the first case study the focus is on the DNA fingerprinting and you will learn to collect samples from the local flora and fauna, how to store them and extract genetic data from it as well as techniques for identification purposes. The second study deals with the question whether captivity has an effect on the microbiome diversity of primates. In this context you will not only improve your abilities in the collection, storage and extraction from DNA data, but you will also broaden your knowledge concerning methods of PCR amplification (polymerase chain reaction). Another focus in this project is on environmental DNA. In this third case study you will also practice collecting and preparing samples, learn to extract material as well as sequence DNA and analyze it. In general, the course is designed to provide a mix of theoretical and practical lessons to participants.
After the course is completed successfully every participant will receive a certificate. Depending on your university, you might also get credit points for this course. For more information about this, you should get advice from your student council or also ask your course counselor. We will support you with this process.
We realise that some of the people on our projects want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals, as nature doesn’t always give us what we want. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.
During your time in the Wilderness Experience course you will live and work in a field station within the Peruvian rainforest. There you will be accommodated with three other participants in a dorm room that is separated by gender. With your roommates you will share an en-suite bathroom. In addition to that the station is equipped with a lounge, a communal area and a dining room. Every day breakfast, lunch and dinner will be prepared for you. Even though fresh vegetables are not ingredient in every meal, the dishes that will be prepared for you are wholesome. A vegetarian diet is possible, nevertheless you should let us know before departure so that the team on site can prepare accordingly.
Everyone interested in a Wilderness Experience abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, flexibility and the ability to adapt are very important. The facility might not be what you expected and cannot be compared to European standards. In the jungle equipment and furnishings are limited; air conditioning is not available. Power blackouts or water outrages might occur occasionally – depending on where you are. Please contact us if you have further questions about your stay. We are happy to provide you with detailed information to make you feel 100 % prepared.