IPBio placements allow volunteers to participate in the heart of the organizations work. IPBio’s main focus is research, however, our work is not constrained to pure research and neither is our volunteer program. Below we have listed some of roles and projects volunteers can get involved in.
With a total of 71 species of bioluminescent mushrooms globally, our region, namely Vale do Ribeira, has the highest concentration of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world containing 10 of those species. Bioluminescent mushrooms are only abundant during the summer when the humid conditions are favorable to their development. IPBio collaborates with the Laboratory of Bioluminescent Fungus of the Chemistry Institute from the University of Sao Paulo to study these mushrooms chemistry, ecology and microbiology. Our volunteer program focuses on developing a protocol which allows us to grow them in the lab under controlled conditions so they are readily available all year long. This would allow research to study them over longer period, allow students on school trips to visualize the mushrooms during their winter trips (when they do not grow naturally) and potentially have an impact on tourism in Iporanga. Therefore, we test different substrates, compositions of substrates, humidity levels and various other factors to optimize the process of cultivation in the lab.
IPBio received a grant from Wildlife Acoustics whereby they donated 2 bioacoustics recorders and software to analyze the data. We are attempting to understand peak activity times for different species throughout the 24 hours in a day. This study will be conducted over the years to develop monthly/seasonal peak activity period for species. In addition, IPBio wishes to create a `sound bank´ of all the species on the reserve.
IPBio conducts a tree inventory on all the trails at the Reserve and monitors the growth of trees to assess forest well-being. Additionally, this project is particularly important as a animal release center is opening on the reserve and therefore understanding the species of fruiting tree and their distribution is essential for reintroducing animals into the wild. Why? Imagine you are going to release a parrot which only eats a certain fruit. This fruit only grows between July and September. Therefore you should only release this parrot during these months to ensure it has available food which will increase the chances of a successful release. As a result, IPBio is creating a tree map and phenological calender which will allow people to see what species of tree are on the reserve and at what periods each tree is expected to fruit. For more information on the project we can send the research proposal.
IPBio uses two methods to capture images of mammals for research, namely OBBIO and bushnell camera traps. OBBio is a network of video cameras that record the fauna and flora 24 hours a day. We also have 3 bushnell camera traps which film in full HD. This footage is used for eBooks, documentaries, research and to produce educational material. The volunteer is responsible for setting up the cameras and placing bait in order to attract a variety of different species and ensure that each site is cleared of obstacles, such as a branches, so that our we capture quality videos of the animals in action. The volunteer then looks at the footage and notes down the time and species (as well as any further details required) at the monitoring station. The videos will then be saved onto the image bank and sorted by group with the appropriate titles in the following format: “Group; scientific name; popular name; notes (such as nest); name of photographer; institute name; date”. Depending on the length of stay, the volunteer can develop a research focus and analyze the data as well.
IPBio studies the interaction between frugivorous birds and flora that depend on them for seed dispersal. A behavioral characteristic typical of frugivorous birds is that they defecate when they settle. Therefore, IPBio created a bird feeder which collects these seeds as well as uses a motion activated camera to film the birds at the feeder. The scientific aim is to inventory bird species and understand their temporal variation as well as identify seeds species that are deposited by these birds.
The Biodiversity Research Assistant role can take many forms and the role doesn’t require any scientific background at all. Either you will be assigned to: a specific research project as an assistant; split your time between a couple of projects; or assist in all research projects where needed. This role allows volunteers to get a feel for all the research that IPBio conducts. For example, you can get involved in mammal monitoring using camera traps or supporting in the feeding and monitoring of animals in captivity on the reserve or supporting in the lab with the reproduction of insects or all at the same time.
Help raise awareness about the Institute and its projects. Support our communications by: improving our website and social media; creating informative videos; setting up material to inform students and universities about courses we offer; writing grant and fundraising; seeking partners for our Institution.
Our gardener, Rafael, always needs help maintaining the grounds, trails, animal enclosures and microclimate greenhouse so if you are interested in getting your hands dirty then we always have a job for you. Moreover, we have a little vegetable and herb patch which we want to expand so any experience with organic farming would be great.
IPBio uses cameras for research on wildlife and as a result our biologists developed a passion for photography and filmmaking. Our interest in the interplay of photography, research and education lead to the creation of OBBIO – Observatory for Biodiversity, which captures footage aimed at producing eBooks, documentaries, and educational videos as well as using the images for research purposes. For example, our videos have been sold to Discovery Channel. Videos about the volunteer program are also needed every month as well as great photos for the website.
IPBio have partnered with FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine, an NGO that also works on the Betary Reserve with whom we cooperate closely, to develop a joint volunteer program. FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine was founded by the couple Martine Schmid-Fiorini and Pedro Schmid, both Swiss veterinarians, who worried about the fate of the wild animals coming from the illegal traffic and seized by local authorities. FreeWildlife Brazil Celine will primarily focus on the release of native birds and will monitor their progress after reintroduction. To find out more download the volunteer package and check out their website: http://celine.org.br/