2015 Biodiversity Inventories Course


BITC Biodiversity Inventories Course

A central part of the challenge of discovering and documenting biodiversity is the development of detailed, documented, comprehensive inventories of the species present at a site or across a local landscape. This process requires careful planning, detailed data recording, documentation whenever possible in the form of voucher specimens, and execution under often-difficult field conditions. To provide an introduction to this process, we will present a course to be held in Cameroon, which will comprise one week of classroom teaching, discussion, and exercises, followed by one week spent developing actual field inventories at Korup National Park. Teaching topics will include both the design and execution of inventories and development of formal descriptions of new species. Field work will focus on plants, reptiles and amphibians, and birds. Experts will include David Blackburn and Rafe Brown (reptiles and amphibians), Moses Sainge (plants), and Mark Robbins and Town Peterson (birds).

The course will take place 2-15 March 2015, in Buea, Cameroon. Potential applicants should note that all courses will be taught in ENGLISH, but that we are making arrangements to assist French-speaking trainees in understanding course content and materials. Preference will be given to applicants having experience with and interest in one of the three taxonomic groups that will be the focus of our field efforts. The field phase of the course will be held under rough, ‘camping’ conditions, so applicants should indicate their prior experience with field situations.


All researchers, students, technicians, and other interested persons from across Africa are welcome to apply. Approximately 6 applicants from outside Cameroon will be selected to participate in the training course, and 3-6 national (Cameroonian) participants will be admitted as well. Final selection of participants will be based on the following criteria:

1. Interest in and experience with field inventories of African plants, reptiles and amphibians, or birds.

2. Applicability of course material to the applicant’s occupation, research, studies, or overall interest.

3. Potential for applicant to use new knowledge to develop field inventories in her/his home country.

4. Adequate knowledge or experience with field studies of biodiversity so as to maximize the benefit of participation.

5. Potential for further sharing and diffusion of knowledge acquired during training.

6. Strength of letter of recommendation from current employer/supervisor.

Cost of Attendance

Thanks to support from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation, costs of participation in the course will be covered by the program. Transportation costs will be covered, and meals will be provided during training sessions; per diems will not be provided, in light of all relevant expenses being covered. Lunches and snacks during breaks will be provided for local participants. Course participants traveling from outside Buea will be funded for travel from the closest major city in their home or resident country to Buea and back. These longer-distance participants will be provided food and lodging for the duration of the course.

Application Requirements

Applicants are responsible for assuring that all of the following materials are in the hands of the program organizers.

1. Completed application form. Answer ALL questions explicitly. Please do NOT copy and paste your CV into answer blanks.

2. Letter of recommendation from employer/home institution.

3. Curriculum vitae (CV).

Completed applications are due no later than 15 NOVEMBER 2014 and applicants accepted to the training course will be notified by approximately 15 December 2014. Application materials and any questions regarding the application process may be addressed to the course organizers (Town Peterson is the project director; Kate Ingenloff is the project coordinator) at BiodivTraining@gmail.com.