A Dream Team of International Scientists Explore Uncharted Wilderness in Guyana

Dr. Andrew Short is a National Geographic Explorer and an assistant professor of
 Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. An entomologist by training, Short uses aquatic insects to study patterns of freshwater biodiversity in South America to inform both science and conservation. 

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Today, an international team arrived in southern Guyana, near the boarder with Brazil, to conduct a rapid biological assessment of the Rupununi Savannah, a sprawling tropical grassland peppered with rock outcroppings and forested mountains. Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) with assistance from Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), our expedition will spend the next couple weeks capturing a snapshot of the immense biodiversity that occurs in this poorly known region.

Map courtesy of National Geographic Maps.
A map Guyana and surrounding countries courtesy of National Geographic Maps.

Our group has about 35 people, including scientists, students from the University of Guyana, and support staff (a cook, drivers, representatives from local indigenous peoples). We have 10 scientific teams covering a broad array of biodiversity: large mammals, small mammals, fishes, amphibians and reptiles, birds, plants, aquatic insects, ants, water quality, and indigenous resource use (I’m in charge of the aquatic insects).

After assembling in Georgetown, we flew down to Lethem this morning, Tomorrow, we’ll load up into large Bedford trucks (so we can ford the rivers) and head out into the savannah to our first site at the foot of the Kusad Mountains.

The Rupununi Savannah in Guyana from the air. Photo by Andrew Short.
lethemairport
The Lethem airport. Photo by Andrew Short.

NEXT: Read more about Andrew’s last expedition to the misty tepuis of Suriname

Wildlife

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Dr. Andrew Short is an assistant professor of
 Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. An entomologist by training, Short uses aquatic insects to study patterns of freshwater biodiversity in South America to inform both science and conservation. A veteran of more than two-dozen scientific expeditions, he has described more than 125 new species to science.