top of page

Las Piedras Lepidoptera Expedition - Summer 2017

  • Hone your skills in tropical field biology

  • Contribute to rainforest conservation

  • Exchange knowledge with indigenous Amazonian people

Join us in the Peruvian Amazon as we explore one of the most biologically and culturally diverse rainforests in the world!


Our two-week expedition will take us into the remote Las Piedras River basin, home to more species of plants and animals (and butterflies!) than almost anywhere else on the planet. Expedition members will explore a diverse variety of Amazonian habitats, develop their skills as tropical field biologists, and examine the intertwined fates of the region's biological and cultural diversity.

At a glance...

  • Dates: May 23 - June 5, 2017

  • Application deadline: April 30, 2017

  • Meeting location: Puerto Maldonado, Peru

  • Expedition leader: Geoff Gallice, PhD

  • Cost: $2,500


We begin in Puerto Maldonado, the bustling capital of Peru's Madre de Dios Department. From here we travel by land to Finca Las Piedras, located in a rainforest/agricultural mosaic, where we will be introduced to research and conservation efforts in the region. Our next stop is the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC), within a ~4,500 hectare conservation concession of pristine rainforest on the lower Las Piedras River. Here, we will continue to explore field techniques in tropical biology, and survey the world's most diverse butterfly fauna.


From LPAC we head upriver in a motorized canoe, camping along remote, dry-season river beaches until we reach the tiny outpost of Monte Salvado, the last village along the river before the restricted Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve. This protected area was established to safeguard indigenous people living in voluntary isolation.

At Monte Salvado, we will learn directly from the village’s indigenous residents, whose encyclopedic knowledge of local plant and animal species is unmatched. On our journey to Monte Salvado we will explore an astonishing variety of biodiverse Amazonian habitats, including riparian and successional forest, Mauritia palm swamps, and undisturbed floodplain and ‘terra firme’ rainforest, all of which are exploding with wildlife including jaguars, harpy eagles, giant anacondas, and more than 10 species of monkeys.

Download the Full Expedition Description to read more


  • Review the eligibility requirements (available here)

  • Ready to apply? Just click the link below:

Dowload the Full Expedition Description 


The expedition is part of a long-term research project sponsored by the Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon and the Florida Musuem of Natural History to investigate the basic biology, distribution, ecology, and conservation status of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon.

Expedition members will receive hands-on instruction in field methods that facilitate biological research in the tropics, applying our new skills to conducting biological research at the field sites. Expedition members will gain knowledge and skills in the following areas:


  • Tropical ecology and biology of key Amazonian plant and animal groups

  • Amazonian plant and animal identification

  • Field methods in the study of tropical Lepidoptera

  • Off-trail and backcountry navigation

  • Canopy access (tree climbing) and sampling techniques

  • Major conservation challenges facing the study region and the broader Amazonian ecosystem

  • Issues facing the survival of indigenous Amazonian cultures

Read more in the Full Expedition Description

bottom of page