Tropical Research

The Mamoní Valley

Located in the center of the Panama isthmus linking North and South America, the Mamoní Valley holds global biological and cultural importance and is arguably the most critical biological corridor in the Western Hemisphere – listed in the top 25-biodiversity hotspots in the world. For millions of migrating birds and threatened species such as the tapir, four species of felines, and five primate species, it is a verdant biological corridor between the Americas. 

The variety of microclimates and ecosystems in the Mamoní Valley Preserve (MVP) has proved particularly attractive for researchers and higher educational institutions in their ongoing investigations and experiments. 

Geoversity is developing land conservancy models that ensure:

  • the conservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems
  • scientific field research
  • sustainable communities and enterprise
  • data knowledge transfer & availability 
  • the honoring of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • public-private sector collaboration in the management of protected areas

Conservation Communities

Geoversity is a growing ecosystem of collaborators that support Biocultural Leadership and is made up of several conservation communities, has grown from research projects, and has campuses at various stages of development.

Partner Spotlights
  • Jaguar research on how the behavior of intervening landscape elements influences the presence and dispersal of jaguars. The project conducted by Kaminando is determining jaguar density across landscape systems within the Mamoní Valley Preserve and has identified seven resident jaguars.
  • GIS mapping (with the University of Redlands, Center for Spatial Studies, Global Wildlife Conservation/SMART, Forests of the World land use.
Other ongoing projects

Global Climate Change: MVP and neighboring Emberá Ẽjuä So pilot projects on non-carbon benefits with EUROCLIMA+. 

BioMundi: An initiative of biologists of the University of Panama creating species catalogues and field guides for Geoversity and the MVP.

Micro watershed micro management: Family driven Caracol River Basin Restoration Project in MVP.

Reforestation with bamboo: A part of Geoversity’s value chain and community non-carbon benefit initiatives.

Other Geoversity research locations

Gunayala: Coral reef restoration in collaboration with Gunayala Caribbean Anmardup Island with Guna youth and the Guna General Congress.

Cébaco: Future inventory research for endangered species on Cébaco Island.

Research Guidelines

Researchers profile

A researcher can be an independent, or a team of individuals, that belongs to an educational, or a scientific institution, and that has a project, or projects, that would benefit from research taking place in a tropical rainforest environment. The ultimate goal of any research should be to contribute to the conservation of the ecosystems studied.

Location

Geoversity’s main campus is the Mamoní Valley Preserve, located within the largest remaining stretch of contiguous rainforest in the exceptionally biodiverse Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena eco-region: one of the top 25 Biodiversity Hotspots in the world and adjacent to the indigenous Gunayala territory, Emberá communities and the national protected areas Narganá and the Chagres National Park.

Incredibly, it is a mere 2-hour drive from the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, in the narrowest stretch of the Americas.

Facilities

Stay at our off-the-grid rainforest research station with cabañas and hand-crafted furnishings that are built with locally salvaged hardwoods and bamboo. All our facilities are sustainably powered 24/7 by a unique hydro-electric and solar system. In our open-air, raised dormitory cabana, researchers get a private tent with a 2 inch pad bedding, along with access to wifi, laundry, stream-fed pool, and multi-use facilities. The cabana has sinks, hot water showers, flush toilets, and 110v electricity.

Cost

For $45/day researchers have access to:

  • 3 meals per day, with water, coffee, and tea
  • Refrigeration/freezer for limited sample storage 
  • 25m length, stream-fed natural pool
  • Organic garden
  • Laundry facility
  • Wi-Fi access point
  • Source of potable water
  • Lock box
Not Included
  • Airport pickup and drop-off* 
  • Supply and materials purchases
  • Any costs outside of the Mamoní Valley Preserve
  • Any medical costs
  • Any travel or medical insurance

*Private airport/city pickup/drop-off costs $150 each way per vehicle (fits up to 6ppl) for a ride to or pick up from the Tocumen International airport or locations in Panama City. Other options are to take a bus from Panama city to Chepo for $1.50 and we will pick you up in Chepo, which costs $60 each way per truck (fits 4ppl). Taxi from the airport to Chepo is about $50 and from Panama city is about $60 (taxi fare can be split with other ppl in your group).

For an additional fee we offer
  • Private cabanas with beds
  • Transportation
  • Guides and porters
  • Guided eco-adventures
How to secure your spot
  • Your attendance will be confirmed after 100% of the balance is paid. 
  • Upon confirmation of the trip or no later than 8 weeks prior to the trip, we require a 50% deposit. This is to allow us to continue normal operations in preparation for the trip and make any important purchases.
  • The last 50% of the cost is required 21 days prior to the trip or an additional 5% administrative fee will be charged on the total trip cost.
Research Permits Requirements

The Republic of Panama requires all individuals conducting research in Panama to adhere to the laws and regulations of the country, international conventions (e.g., CITES, Convention on Biological Diversity), and the laws of the country to which scientific samples are being exported to or imported from. A scientific permit is required in the Republic of Panama for the legal observation, collection, import and export of scientific samples.

Scientific permit granting agencies in Panama include:

  • The Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente – Former ANAM)
  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (MIDA)
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MICI)
  • The National Institute for Culture (INAC)
  • The Civil Aeronautics Authority (AAC)
  • The Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

Panamanian regulations require that all permit requests must be prepared in Spanish. Users have the sole responsibility for the accuracy of the information incorporated into their permit applications and for the submission of the required accompanying materials for the scientific permit application.

Users must be aware that submission of incomplete applications will cause significant delays to their permit process time. In general Panamanian entities are required to render a decision on scientific permit applications within 45 working days (63 calendar days) of receipt of the application. 

Geoversity maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding the failure to comply with the regulations for the legal observation, collection, import and export of scientific samples. Ignoring this policy will lead to disciplinary actions including denial of access to Geoversity facilities, disciplinary actions, possibly dismissal, and prosecution by the Government of Panama.

What to do next

Send an email to info@geoversity.org with the following information:

  • Your CV.
  • Dates of your stay.
  • English or Spanish draft of the research you are planning to do. Include: objectives, methodology, materials and activities timeline.

Recommendation letter or a reference from the institution supporting your research

Interested in doing some research?

Geoversity provides logistics, accommodations, and general planning support for researchers interested in pursuing field research in the Mamoní Valley Preserve.

Contact us to learn more about studies currently taking place at our Centro Mamoní research station.