Iguana Research Expedition

2015

Overview

Highlights

  • 10 days searching island interiors for iguanas and collecting crucial data with Shedd experts
  • Hands-on participation in measuring, weighing and tagging lizards
  • Learning about island and reef ecology firsthand
  • Relaxing aboard the aquarium’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II
  • Seeing the real Bahamas!

Staff host

Dr. Chuck KnappAnyone who has been on one of Shedd’s iguana research expeditions knows Dr. Chuck Knapp and his passion for West Indian rock iguanas. Since the early 1990s, he has been a champion of the critically endangered iguana species that populate remote islands in the Bahamas. What people might not know about Chuck, who is vice president of conservation and research, is that he got his start at Shedd in the high school marine biology program — not leading it, but as a 17-year-old student. Through that experience — a week of classes at Shedd, then a week of real fieldwork aboard Shedd’s research vessel — he discovered he wanted to dedicate his career to doing ecology-related work. The rest is history. 

Important information about this trip
Shedd Aquarium’s iguana research expedition is for anyone with a sense of adventure and a desire to make a difference for wildlife conservation. We’ve designed a field experience that is exciting, challenging and entertaining while also safe, accessible and meaningful. We provide the expertise and equipment, but our volunteers provide the teamwork that makes the project possible. Expect to get wet and dirty, work hard, learn a lot and have fun. Our participants are men, women, older, younger, singles, couples and friends. Many are repeat participants. And our captains and our conservation and research staff members are as passionate about the iguanas and their ecosystem as they are knowledgeable.

Study sites are in two areas of the Bahamas, which are visited in alternate years. Please see our brochures for Andros and for the Exumas for specific trip details.

Getting there and getting home
Please see our expedition brochures for travel details for the Andros and Exumas expeditions.

Because many airfares are nonrefundable, please check with us before finalizing your plans. We also strongly suggest travel insurance for your protection and in the event that you are unable to join the project for personal or medical reasons.

Remember that a valid passport is required for international travel. Please check your passport expiration date.

Accommodations
The R/V Coral Reef II is your main transportation and floating basecamp for this expedition. It carries three Boston whalers and an inflatable motorized craft for explorations and landings. The crew includes two licensed captains and a cook. Cabins can accommodate 11 passengers, double occupancy. They have limited storage space; pack lightly. Like the rest of the boat, cabins have regular 110-volt electrical service, so you may bring an electric razor, hair dryer, or other small personal appliances. The boat has four modern heads and showers. The large, comfortable salon includes a media center, library and games. The boat is air-conditioned throughout.

Location

Bahamas

Group Size

Up to 11 participants plus three crew members

Included

• Room and board on the R/V Coral Reef II
• The Bahamian exit tax
• Transportation to and from Miami International Airport
• Breakfast, a picnic lunch on days in the field, or a buffet lunch served on the boat
• Appetizers in the late afternoon
• Photo DVDs will be provided, but our experience indicates that a personal memory storage device is more accommodating
• Towels, sheets, blankets and pillows

Not Included

• Airfare or any other expense incurred outside of the time you arrive on and depart from the boat
• Dinner the first night of the trip at a local Miami restaurant
• Alcoholic beverages. You may purchase your own in Miami before we depart, but glass beer bottles are not allowed on board because of disposal limitations.

Physical Requirements

• Although the project is not extremely strenuous, it requires a high degree of physical fitness and agility.

• We do a lot of walking, usually over rocky and difficult terrain.

• Must be able to climb in and out of boats and wade through deep water during “wet” landings to reach our sites

• Most of the activity is at your own pace, but everyone will spend full days in the field, starting early in the morning

• Poisonwood is prevalent in the Bahamas. If you are hypersensitive to poison ivy, be prepared to take extra precautions to avoid this ubiquitous Bahamian plant.

• Any health concerns should be discussed with your physician at least one month before your travel date.

•We recommend that all participants have a current tetanus shot. 

Price per person

Please see our Andros and Exumas brochures for current prices, including deposits.

Discounts are extended to Shedd Aquarium volunteers, Shedd members and repeat expedition participants.

Questions?

Cheryl Mell
312-692-3161
Email

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