The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation engages people in the science of biodiversity and the practice of biodiversity conservation. We are committed to promoting model field research that builds a more comprehensive database of the earth’s vast biodiversity and utilizes this as a fundamental tool for the preservation of biodiversity. In this video series, “Gorogonsa Field Notes,” follow field researchers at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory as they carry out important research that is helping to restore and preserve the biodiversity of Gorongosa National Park. 


Gorongosa Field Notes: Introduction

Gorongosa National Park is an unparalleled African wilderness that was damaged by a generation of civil conflict in the late 20th century. Today, it’s coming back to life. Journey to the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory, where international and Mozambican scientists provide exclusive insight into the science behind the restoration and experience life at the forefront of restoration ecology.

The Hippos of Lake Urema

“We started with 3,500 hippos before the war, now we’re down to 250.”

Hippos have a fearsome reputation as the most dangerous animal on the African continent. Less well-known is the essential role they play as ecosystem engineers. In this episode of "Gorongosa Field Notes," mammalogist Jen Guyton sets sail on Lake Urema to better understand the role hippos play in shaping Gorongosa National Park’s wetlands.

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Murky Depths and Mysterious Ecosystems

“Pans here are really a blank slate scientifically.”

Pans (small seasonal ponds) are mysterious habitats. Little is known about their ecology and their occupants are usually well hidden below the murky depths. That’s about to change. In this episode of "Gorongosa Field Notes," ecologist Joshua Daskin and field assistant Flavio Artur Moniz get acquainted with the animals that call pans home and reveal why these ecosystems are so important to Gorongosa National Park.

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Tracking Lions and Their Cubs

"As lion populations across Africa face uncertain futures in the wild, understanding how a once severely-threatened population in Gorongosa is recovering spurs an exciting new endeavor in conservation science."

Closely tracking the lion population in Gorongosa National Park is essential for effective conservation planning. In this episode of “Gorongosa Field Notes,” the Gorongosa Lion Project and their team of young science interns—and the first Mozambican women to ever work directly with wild lions—fly in a helicopter to a remote sector of the park to retrieve data from camera traps placed there seven months before. Watch as they return to the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory and and see what exciting discoveries their camera recordings reveal.

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Return of the African Elephant

"I’m interested in the impacts of elephant damage on the biodiversity of understory plants.”

With an appetite that matches their massive size, African elephants can cause enormous damage to vegetation. This behavior might look destructive, however it can have surprising benefits for an ecosystem. In this episode of "Gorongosa Field Notes," ecologist Tyler Coverdale investigates how the number of elephants in Gorongosa National Park could be affecting the biodiversity of its plant life.

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Capturing Photographs of Bats in Flight

“Most people just see bats as shadows in the dark.”

Climbing into abandoned wells and creeping around at night isn’t for the faint of heart, but for scientists who study bats, it’s all in a day’s work. In this episode of "Gorongosa Field Notes," mammalogist Jen Guyton teams up with renowned wildlife photographer Dr. Piotr Naskrecki to capture photographs of Gorongosa National Park’s bats in flight.

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The Surprising Link Between the CIA and Conservation

“More trees is generally considered a good thing; in the savanna it’s a little more complicated.”

Think the CIA and conservation research have nothing in common? Think again. In this episode of "Gorongosa Field Notes," ecologist Joshua Daskin and field assistant Flavio Artur Moniz use surveillance photographs collected by the CIA during the Cold War to uncover how a decline in elephant numbers is dramatically altering the landscape in Gorongosa National Park.

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Going Back in Time Four Decades

“The critical thing to understand is that plants out here are the foundation of the ecosystem.”

Baseline observations help scientists measure the health of an ecosystem. A lot has changed since the floodplain had its last review, so it is time for a check up. In this episode of "Gorongosa Field Notes," ecologists Tyler Coverdale and Tyler Kartzinel take a step back in time to recreate vegetation surveys that took place in Gorongosa National Park four decades ago.

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