EXPEDITION TO DURMITOR

Durmitor Mt. is a breath-taking limestone massif in Northern Montenegro and part of Durmitor National Park. Formed by glaciers and traversed by rivers and underground streams, it harbours extraordinary biodiversity and includes 50 mountain peaks higher than 2000 m above sea level. This sublime mountain region, clothed in pine forests and fringed by the staggering Tara River Canyon, the second deepest gorge in the world, will impress you forever!

PROGRAM FOR THE EXPEDITION TO DURMITOR

9 - 20 th July, 2018

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Note: Participants can choose one day in advance which workshops they want to attend the next day.

July 9th (Day 1)

  • Our journey will begin with a celebratory welcome dinner at 19.00 h at restaurant Vuk in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. This will be a good opportunity for everybody to get to know each other before we head into the mountains.

July 10th (Day 2)

  • You will be picked up by bus from your hotel in the morning and we will travel from Podgorica to Žabljak (note: costs of transfers both to and from Podgorica are included in your trip fee).
  • Arrival at Etno village Šljeme near Žabljak around noon. You will be accommodated in private rooms in bungalows with a mountain view and shared lounge area and bathroom, or in a private room in the main building.
  • Afternoon workshop: Winkler sieving and placing pitfall traps in the surrounding forest
  • Evening lecture by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen about the concept of Taxon Expeditions and by Dr. Iva Njunjić about Durmitor National Park.
  • Evening activity: preparing traps for cave fauna
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July 11th (Day 3)

  • Morning and afternoon workshops: (i) sampling water mites from a river and spring near Zminje Jezero lake, (ii) sweep netting on Crepulj Poljana meadow; (iii) “Damsels & dragons” on Zminje Jezero lake
  • We will also visit the famous Black Lake
  • Evening lecture on discovering and describing new species by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen
  • Evening activity: (i) examining and sorting collected samples in the lab; (ii) general entomology workshop

July 12th (Day 4)

  • Morning activity: Birdwatching at Ćurevac – spectacular view of the deepest part of Tara river canyon!
  • Morning workshop: (i) “Damsels & dragons” on two glacial lakes, (ii) placing traps and sampling cave fauna
  • Afternoon workshop: (i) how to use identification keys, (ii) examining and sorting the material
  • Evening lecture about cave biology by Dr. Iva Njunjić

July 13th (Day 5)

  • We will go rafting on Tara river and sample several groups of animals (mites, leeches, aquatic snails) along the way, including organisms from so-called interstitial habitats. We will make several stops in the canyon so you will have enough time for swimming, photographing, and enjoying the scenery. Tara river is among the most attractive rivers on the planet. Because of its clear and pure water, opulent vegetation, and wildlife with large number of endemic species, the Tara canyon (the second deepest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon) is under protection of UNESCO. You will get full equipment and trained skippers will show you the rowing techniques. We will spend the whole day in the canyon, paddling and sampling. Expect adrenaline and breath-taking nature!
  • Evening lecture “Diversity and ecology of water mites” by Dr. Vladimir Pešić
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July 14th (Day 6)

  • Morning workshop: (i) Sampling cave fauna in Pećina u Sedlenoj gredi, (ii) collecting snails on Sedlo; You will participate in cave exploration, sample some remarkable cave animals, and see amazing geological features! Outside the cave we will do some "snailing".
  • Afternoon workshop: (i) examining and sorting material from the cave, (ii) working on the description of new species and making drawings
  • Evening lecture: Darwin's peep show by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen

July 15th (Day 7)

  • Morning workshops: (i) sampling water mites and aquatic snails from several springs near Sedlo, (ii) sampling rock-dwelling snails by hand and by sieving.
  • Afternoon workshop: (i) picking up the baited traps from the forest and examining the material, (ii) working on the description of new species
  • Evening lecture: How to be a TV biologist by Dr. Carin Bondar

July 16th (Day 8)

  • We will go on a two-day hiking trip into the heart of the mountain. We will spend the night in a mountain hut located between two stunningly beautiful glacial lakes. It will take us approximately 3.5 h on foot to reach this remote place. Along the way, we will focus on sampling dung beetles, butterflies, and dragonflies. We will prepare our own food for dinner and sleep in shared rooms (you will need a sleeping bag).
  • Evening activity: blacklighting 
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July 17th (Day 9)

  • On the second day of our hiking trip, we will sample flower-visiting insects. It will take us approximately 4 h on foot to return to Etno Village Šljeme. You will see the most beautiful part of the mountain, so be prepared for breath-taking geological features, steep cliffs, and wild nature!
  • Lecture on DNA analysis in the field by Dr. Massimo Delledonne

July 18th (Day 10)

  • Morning workshops: (i) DNA analysis in the field using nanopore technology
  • Afternoon workshops: (i) DNA analysis in the field using nanopore technology
  • Evening talk: Wild moms by Dr. Carin Bondar

July 19th (Day 11)

  • Option I: Full-day hike to the spectacular Ice cave in the heart of Durmitor Mt. This cave is well-known for its stalactites and stalagmites made of ice. The temperature inside the cave is below zero degrees and the ice formations are permanent. We recommend you to bring a thick jacket because we will stay inside for a while to search for cave-adapted organisms.
  • Option II: We will go to Nevidio ("Unseen") Canyon – which until as recently as 1965 had remained unexplored. The unique beauty of the gorge, the cascades, the sparkling rapids, and numerous waterfalls are reason enough to visit this incredible jewel of Montenegro. However, our task will be to sample the endemic invertebrates that inhabit this unique place.
  • Evening lecture: Darwin comes to Town by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen

July 20th (Day 12)

  • Traveling back to Podgorica by bus (included in the package)

Post-Expedition follow up: publishing newly discovered species in scientific journals

The Expedition fee is 3,900 EUR per person, which includes:

  • accommodation in Podgorica
  • domestic travel (from Podgorica to Durmitor and back; also transportation to different fieldwork sites)
  • accommodation on Durmitor
  • delicious local meals, including welcoming dinner in Podgorica
  • 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.

We offer a discount for local students, local participants, and members of the media. Please contact us if you want to know if you qualify for a discount.

3 Comments on “Program

  1. I was a participant of the September 2017 expedition. It was a fantastic experience & I’m proud of my “Citizen Scientist” title earned by working side-by-side with experts in the jungle and in the lab. I learned a lot about the jungle, Borneo and biology. I also learned about going outside my comfort zone & was encouraged & supported by everyone who attended. It was an adventure that broadened my world.

    1. Thank you Mary! We are happy that we met your expectations and that you enjoyed your trip to the jungle with a bunch of crazy scientists. It was great having you on board!

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