Borneo Field Course

4 – 17 January 2019

This expedition-style field course takes place in North Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo, a long way from the tourist trail. The course is centred on an area of rainforest that has received little or no biodiversity research to date. We start on the small island of Tarakan, just off the main coast of Borneo, where we will visit a mangrove park and hopefully spot proboscis monkeys. From there, we travel inland by river and road to the village of Long Setulang from where we walk into the forest to spend the next ten days camping in basic forest camps and studying rainforest biodiversity.

The course develops students’ knowledge and understanding within three main areas: ecology, environmental biology and conservation. Tutored by experienced academic staff from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, students gain experience in using a range of techniques for studying tropical biodiversity. They will be able to outline the environmental factors that determine the variation in rainforest types across a large part of Borneo and know how to approach studying the diversity of animal and plant life in a hyperdiverse region where little previous research has been undertaken. In addition, students experience and observe the pressure that economic development places on this unique ecosystem, with opportunities to interact with many local stakeholders, including indigenous communities, government officials, NGO staff, and Indonesian students with whom they’ll study together.

While in Borneo, students participate in assessed seminars and discussions and undertake a group research project on an aspect of biodiversity and conservation within the rainforest. On return to the UK, they individually produce and present an academic poster and, in small groups, produce a short film based on their studies which communicates science to a wide audience. Throughout, students acquire skills and experience essential to pursuing a career in tropical conservation in the developing world.

Module Convenor: Dr Frank Van Veen

Find out about the degree programmes these students are studying.

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