EO Wilson Laboratory
E.O. Wilson Laboratory
The Edward O. Wilson Laboratory is a research facility at Gorongosa National Park, an important new hub of scientific and educational activity in Mozambique. It has been created to explore, document, and protect biodiversity of Gorongosa National Park as well as to offer research and training opportunities in biodiversity-related fields for students and conservation leaders in Mozambique. The laboratory is named in honor of one of the world’s greatest champions of biodiversity conservation, Dr. Edward O. Wilson, who for years has been the leading synergistic force that allowed many scientists and conservationists to come together and focus their energy on the restoration projects in Gorongosa.
Goals of the E.O. Wilson Laboratory
Biological Exploration and Monitoring
The E.O. Wilson Laboratory conducts comprehensive surveys of biological diversity of the park in all its ecological zones, habitat types, and most important biological communities. These surveys focus on those groups of multicellular organisms that are of particular importance to the function of the greater Gorongosa ecosystem as well as those that carry the greatest promise of discovery of endemic and new to science species. The results of the surveys and exploratory long-term research projects will create a radical, detailed and dynamic picture of life in Gorongosa, and help guide the national park’s restoration efforts.
The Synoptic Biodiversity CollectionThe Laboratory is home to a permanent synoptic collection of Gorongosa’s flora and fauna, the first facility of its kind in any protected area in Africa. The Laboratory will work closely with Mozambique’s national institutions towards a comprehensive inventory of biological richness of the country. The Collection will soon include a molecular facility for DNA storage and extraction, intended primarily for processing of genetic material that is prone to rapid deterioration (e.g., scat and other forensic material). The main collection area is climate-controlled, and equipped with modern storage for botanical and zoological specimens; the collection has a comprehensive data management and specimen tracking system, including physical barcoding of specimens.
Education of Mozambican conservationists and expertsThe Laboratory aims to offer a wide range of educational opportunities to Mozambican students and conservation leaders. These include workshops on biodiversity- and conservation-related topics, participation in day-to-day operations of the Lab and biological surveys organized by the Lab, and being part of a variety of long-term research projects in the Gorongosa National Park.
Media and Outreach A part of the Laboratory will be dedicated to media production and distribution to serve our mission of sharing biodiversity knowledge with scientists, students, and the public. The Laboratory will establish links with institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere to allow us to engage students and the public in our research. Through media partnerships with museums and 3rd level institutions the Laboratory will soon bring research scientists and their work into the public eye through a progressive communication strategy.
Conducting research projects at Gorongosa
Please visit the Prospective Researchers section of this website to find information about the application process for research projects to be conducted at Gorongosa National Park.
The E.O. Wilson Laboratory currently offers the following facilities for students and researchers working on the flora and fauna of the park: (1) laboratory space with benches, including a bench with built-in anti-vibration mechanism for high magnification microscopic work; (2) stereo (dissecting) microscopes; (3) a deep freezer (-40°C); (4) a lab-grade refrigerator; (5) desktop computers and a Wi-Fi network. Next year we plan to add a DNA extraction and PCR facility.
There are several accommodation options for researchers and students. Long-term researchers will be able to use the Laboratory’s own cabins (double and single occupancy). Currently the Lab is able to accommodate up to 12 persons, but check the availability of the units well in advance. Montebelo, the main tourism operator in Gorongosa, offers accommodation options that range from self-catered camping to single occupancy air-conditions cabins to luxurious family bungalows.