Science

Since our very first adventure in 1932, British Exploring has accumulated a unique heritage of exploration, using science to discover and understand our environment. By combining expeditions with some of the most beautiful and inspirational wilderness areas and utilising our strong links to local research centres and conservation agents, we give young people the opportunity to make a real contribution to current scientific understanding. Have a look below for some detail regarding our current scientific projects and to get an idea of the type of activities you will get involved in on expedition.

Our science leaders are experts in their field and endeavour to encourage and support exciting, valued and practical research. Their aim is to inspire a younger generation, who will ultimately inherit the responsibility for the environmental challenges faced by the wider global community, with a greater consciousness of our effect on natural processes. Have a look at the bottom of the page to read some of our science leaders’ biographies.

 


To find out more about our expeditions visit our Explore with us page, or click on the button below to learn more about our approach.

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Overview

At British Exploring we believe in “adventure with purpose” and our scientific projects often form the primary purpose of our journeys into the planets most remote and wild destinations. Each expedition will have a varied science programme that makes the most of the ‘natural laboratory’ but we also allow our explorers to influence the direction of projects depending on their own interests and specialisms.

In this section of the website you will find the projects we are working towards listed by current expedition. There is also a link to the previous year’s science reports. As you look through the reports you will see some projects that span multiple expeditions and some that are stand alone projects. We are still finalising the details for the science projects on our Canadian Yukon expedition 2017 and can't yet confirm all of the details - but we will load them here once confirmed - watch this space.

If you have any questions about British Exploring’s science projects or you want to get involved then do not hesitate to contact the office: info@britishexploring.org

Indian Himalaya

We are carrying out field studies to investigate the impact of climate change on the water resources of the region. The weather, glaciers, rivers, landforms and lakes will be studied. Additionally we will be investigating the geology and studying the Himalayan flora. We will also be carrying out projects looking at personal growth as a result of the expedition experience, and the impact of high altitude environments on the physiology of the participants. Specific projects included:
• Local variations in weather caused by orographic features of the Drang Drung Glacial valley
• Zara valley weather station Glacial study of the Drang Drung Glacier
•  Isotope study in the snow, glacial ice and meltwater in Ladakh
•  Studying recent environmental change in the Suru valley through lake sediment study
•  Distribution and abundance of flowering plants in the Zanskar valley
•  Physiology
•  Personality, adversity and growth: Examining psychological responses during a 5-week expedition
Click here to see our 2013, 2014 Himalaya science projects 

Footage of science projects that took place during our Summer 2016 expedition to the Peruvian Amazon. Content and editing by Creative Media Leader Huw James.

Peruvian Amazon

We are working alongside the scientists of the Crees Foundation to provide baseline community data which will be vital in understanding the potential for anthropogenic climate warming to influence species distributions in primary and secondary rainforest. Specific projects include:
• Canopy survey
• Herpetofauna sampling of the Pini Pini ridge
• Palm diversity and abundance over varying altitudes on the Pini Pini ridge
• Butterfly trapping across an elevational gradient
• Assessment of mammal communities within the reserve and the Pini-Pini ridge
• Assessment of avian community within the MLC Reserve and surrounding areas
• How much leaf can a Leafcutter cut?
• Vegetation characteristics across an elevational gradient
• Trialling surveying moths using the Moonlander Moth Trap
Click here to see our 2015, 2016 Amazon Science Project

Canadian Yukon

As 2017 will be our first year back in the Yukon (we were last there in 1990 and 2007 - click here for archive images from those expeditions) we are still finalising the science plan. The landscape is boreal forrest, mountains and valleys and there are over 1000 bird species and numerous large mammal populations so we will have some exciting opportunities. We are in discussion with the Yukon College in Whitehorse and projects are likely to include the following:
• Permafrost transects (in collaboration with Yukon College’s Northern Climate Change Project)
• Water sampling & hydrology projects
• Bird & other fauna surveys (Collaboration with ongoing local ornithology studies)
• Invasive plants studies
• Geology studies
• Glacial history studies featuring palaeontology
• Invasive animals (Pine beetle)

Naomi Holmes

Chief Scientist: Arctic Finnmark 2014, Himalaya 2015 & 2016 
Naomi is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Sheffield Hallam University. Prior to this she worked as a Senior Lecturer in Geographical Science at the University of Northampton and a scientific researcher at University College Dublin and the University of Exeter, investigating past climatic and environmental change.

She is also a STEM Ambassador and has participated in and taught fieldwork in Iceland, Ireland, Norway and the UK. Naomi believes that British Exploring expeditions offer an excellent opportunity for young people to participate in scientific research in fantastic natural laboratories.

Chris Beirne

Chief Scientist - Peruvian Amazon 2015
Chris has conducted research expeditions in Bolivia, Madagascar and Ecuador and has previously spent two years living and working in the Amazon for Global Vision International. He is currently working on a diverse array of study species including amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, birds and mammals and has co-authored two field guides on Amazonian herpetofauna.

Chris recently completed his doctorate in Biological Sciences at the University of Exeter and holds an MRes in Ecology and Environmental sustainability from the University of Aberdeen. Following on from leading for us Chris now works in the Manu National Park for Crees.