The Bornean rainforest is one of the most ecologically diverse habitats for an ecologist to explore. Ryan Veryard (third year student at Oxford University) has kindly sent us some photos of his fieldwork in Borneo as a part of his third year project working with Andy Hector (Professor of Ecology, Oxford, and Journal of Ecology Associate Editor).
Professor Owen Lewis instructing third-year undergraduate students how to safely remove, ID, and release moths captured in a trap set up overnight. Here, attempting to take hold of the moth, as to better identify the wing patterns. Some moths had been captured before, and had a unique number marked on their wings for future reference.
Students taking a break during a trip to some of the experimental plots within the old-growth forest surrounding Danum Valley Field Site. There they would identify several dipterocarp tree species and take several standardised measurements, using callipers and a range of other tools.
Studying a moth species captured from a trap (in background). Whilst normally the wings are held to prevent escape, some moths appeared to be naturally curious and would sit comfortably on your hand for several minutes!
Trip to a canopy walk within Danum Valley, where students get the chance to be ~70m off the ground in the rainforest canopy. As well as the spectacular view, we all gained a deeper understanding of the canopy-level species interactions taking place and gained an appreciation for how three-dimensional tropical forest ecosystems are.
On multiple nights samples of Bornean moths were taken to teach undergraduate students correct pinning and identification techniques. This is one group’s efforts, taking care to expose the fore- and hind-wings of multiple species.
An undergraduate student taking measurements of a short tailed babbler (Malacocincla malaccensis) captured in a mist-netting exercise in the morning. Students were taught several handling techniques, as well as how to take wing and break measurements in a safe and humane way.
In the final days of this field course, groups of students undertake a mini-project, with this group investigating the effect of a local river on dung beetle dispersal. This student is setting up one of 35 non-lethal dung beetle traps, which would be left for 24 hours. The results of this project are to be published in late-April.
Oriental dwarf kingfisher (left) and Black crowned pitta (right)
See more of our fieldwork photos and if you would like to contribute some of your own please get in touch with the blog team.