EXPEDITION TO BORNEO
Note: Participants can choose one day in advance which workshops they want to attend the next day.
Sept. 25th (Day 1)
- To begin our journey, we will host you at a celebratory welcome dinner in our home in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah, where we can answer any last-minute questions and begin to share with you the specifics of the adventures that lie ahead.
Sept. 26th (Day 2)
- Travel from Kota Kinabalu to Maliau Basin Studies Centre by bus (note: costs of transfers both to and from Kota Kinabalu are included within your trip fee). We will have two stops along the way (one of which lunch break in a local restaurant).
- Arrival at Maliau in the late afternoon. You will be accommodated in large, luxurious, private rooms with veranda directly overlooking the forest from where you can see numerous different animals: Borneo pigmy elephants, Bornean gibbons, bearded pigs, and some of the most amazing bird species found on Borneo: helmeted hornbills, paradiseflycatchers, dusky broadbills, Asian fairy bluebirds, blue-headed pitta, etc.
- Evening introductory lecture about the Expedition and Maliau Basin Conservation Area (by Mr. Jadda Suhaimi and Dr. Menno Schilthuizen)
Sept. 27th (Day 3)
- Afternoon workshops: (i) examining freshwater fauna in the lab, and (ii) "Creepy Crawlies 101" (general entomology workshop)
- Evening lecture on discovering and describing new species for science by Dr. Hendrik Freitag
- Night walk--at night, a completely different array of species is active compared to the day. A night walk gives you insight into these species and if you are lucky you might spot some mammals like mousedeer, bear cat, or even a clouded leopard.
Sept. 28th (Day 4)
- Morning workshops: (i) "Damsels & Dragons" (catching and photographing dragonflies), and (ii) birdwatching (note: start at 7.30!)
- Afternoon workshops: (i) dragonfly identification in the lab, (ii) "Working for Posterity" (building the Maliau Basin database via the "pipeline")
- Lecture: Wild Moms by Dr. Carin Bondar
- Evening activity: movie
Sept. 29th (Day 5)
I Option: 2-day excursion to the Nepenthes Camp--highly recommended if you are fit and up for a true jungle trekking adventure. You will have the opportunity to see the amazing kerangas forest, two stunningly beautiful waterfalls, and do some hands-on biological sampling in this underexplored and remote area:
- We will walk 7.5 km (about 6 hours) through the rain forest; the first 3 km are a quite challenging uphill trek. Be prepared for a lot of sweat, sore muscles, and leeches!
- Arrival to Nepenthes Camp around 15h. After lunch we will collect insect traps that were placed before the Expedition has started.
- We will spend a night in a dormitory with shared bathroom and shower.
II Option: If jungle trekking is not your thing, you can stay in Maliau Basin Studies Centre and participate in the following workshops:
- morning workshop: (i) "Pitching a Tent" (setting up so-called malaise traps)
- afternoon workshop: (i) "Canopy Biology" (on the skybridge)
- Lecture: Endangered arks: the unique snails of Malaysia's limestone outcrops by Msc. Kelvin Junn Kitt Foon
- Evening activity: "Blacklighting" (catching nocturnal insects with UV-light)
Sept. 30th (Day 6)
- After breakfast we will go (optional) to the Giluk waterfall and Takob-Akob waterfall where you can dip in the pool and enjoy the scenery (7 km). We will also sample freshwater beetles.
- After lunch we will return to the Maliau Basin Studies Centre (7.5 km). Expected arrival around 18h.
- Morning workshops: (i) "Flutter by up high" (suspending butterfly traps at different elevations from the skybridge)
- Afternoon activity: walk to the observation tower (2 km) and watch sunset
I + II Option:
- Evening talk The life of a TV biologist by Dr. Carin Bondar
- First anouncement on new species found
Oct. 1st (Day 7)
- Morning workshops: (i) "Table Manners" placing baited (meat, fruit, cheese, etc.) pitfall traps
- Afternoon workshops: (i) sorting material collected at the Nepenthes Camp, (ii) working on describing and photographing new species
- Lecture on DNA analysis in the field by Dr. Massimo Delledonne
- Evening activity: nightwalk through the forest with a ranger
Oct. 2nd (Day 8)
- Morning workshops: (i) DNA analysis in the field using nanopore technology, and (ii) checking butterfly traps
- Afternoon workshops: (i) sorting Winkler bag material, and (ii) helping out with the Pipeline
- Lecture: Biospeleology and evolution in caves by Dr. Iva Njunjić
- Evening activity: video about caving and cave animals
Oct. 3rd (Day 9)
I Option: One day excursion to the unexplored Pungiton Cave with underground river. You will participate in cave exploration, sample some remarkable cave animals, and see amazing geological features!
II Option: To stay at Maliau Basin Studies Centre.
- Morning workshops: (i) helping out with the "Pipeline"
- Afternoon workshops: (i) sorting malaise trap material
- Evening lecture: Darwin’s peep show by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen
- Evening activity: blacklighting
Oct. 4th (Day 10)
- Morning workshops: (i) "Into the Canopy" you will try tropical tree climbing and climb up to 50 m high; (ii) picking up pitfall traps
- Afternoon workshops: (i) sorting pitfall trap material and (ii) sorting malaise trap material
- Birdwatching from skybridge
- Evening lecture: Darwin comes to town by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen
Oct. 5th (Day 11)
- Morning workshops: presentation of the results (Pipeline, mini-projects, general discoveries)
- Free afternoon
- Evening activity: Farewell party and voting for new species names
Oct. 6th (Day 12)
- Traveling back to Kota Kinabalu by bus; arrival in the evening
Post-Expedition follow up: publishing newly discovered species in scientific journals
The Expedition fee is 3,900 EUR per person, which includes:
- domestic travel (from Kota Kinabalu to Maliau Basin and back; also transportation to different field work sites)
- accommodation in the heart of the rain forest at Maliau Basin
- delicious local meals, including welcoming dinner in Kota Kinabalu
- hands-on field research & lab work, including equipment and research materials
- lectures and study materials, including a book
- DNA sequencing
Please keep in mind that international travel is not included.
Standard schedule for a day:
- breakfast 7.00 - 8.30
- morning workshop in the field 9.00 - 12.00
- lunch 12.00 - 14.00
- afternoon workshop (lab or field) 14.00 - 16.00
- lecture or afternoon walk 17.00 - 18.00
- dinner 19.00 - 20.30 (incl. news of the day and "what about tomorrow?")
- evening activity start 20.30