FBQ students have the opportunity to experience doing field research in a wide variety of settings, from domestic to international, and in habitats including marine, desert, savannah, and rainforest. Internationally, student research is facilitated by infrastructure supplied by local research stations. Domestically, FBQ takes advantage of the University of California's extensive network of reserves. Some of the sites are highlighted below.
Arid Zone Research Station, Fowlers Gap, New South Wales, Australia
Fowlers Gap is a 39,000 hectare teaching and research facility of the University of New South Wales. Approximately 100 bird species, four species of large kangaroos, and many species of reptiles live in this arid shrubland. Student research is facilitated be a network of trails and wildlifeŠviewing platforms.
Refugio Bartola, Nicaragua
Refugio Bartola is a lowland rain forest site in Southeastern Nicaragua. Dr. Martin L. Cody, founder of the FBQ program, first took a group of UCLA students to this site in 1994. Subsequent trips were made in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2007. Bartola is a small private reserve located just outside a 0.5 million-acre national park (Indio Maiz) at the confluence of the San Juan and Bartola Rivers. Although the site is quite remote, it requires just one day of travel from Los Angeles. Biologically, Bartola is spectacularly diverse. Over 400 species of birds and 80 species of amphibians and reptiles have been recorded during FBQ trips alone (including some previously undescribed species). Despite the high diversity, many species are quite abundant and thus suitable for behavioral and ecological projects. While the rain forest field stations of Costa Rica and Panama have grown in popularity and cost over the years, Bartola has remained lightly used and affordable. The rustic but comfortable cabins and dining area are conveniently located in a clearing between the riverbank and forest. This means that students can come and go as needed (by foot or canoe) without having to coordinate transportation. The extensive trail system, which was constructed by the first FBQ group in 1994, is mapped and well-marked. The staff provide basic room service and three meals per day, which allows students to focus on their projects and professors and teaching assistants to focus on teaching. In short, Bartola is perfect for field courses, which is why we continue to return to this site every few years.
Jervis Bay, Australia
Located in Booderee National Park, the University of Canberra Field Station gives students access to a variety of terrestrial and marine habitats including eucalypt forest, heath, and rocky intertidal, supporting a rich diversity of birds, mammals and plants and invertebrates.
Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Ecuador
Located in equatorial Amazonia near the Yasun Biosphere Reserve along the Tiputini River, this area boasts the highest diversity of terrestrial species on the planet. Twelve species of primates and more than 520 species of birds have been documented. More than 30 km of trails give students access to a variety of habitats, from swamp to upland rainforest. Students can also get about by canoe, or use the two canopy towers to enable them to pursue research in all strata of the rainforest.
Mpala Research Centre Ranch and Conservancy, Kenya
The Mpala Conservancy is a 48,000 wildlife friendly working ranch in Laikipia, Kenya. More than 75 mammal species and 280 bird species can be found roaming the savanna, providing many opportunities for research as well as exciting wildlife viewing. An elevational gradient as well as grazing exclosures provide additional research opportunities. Mpala has excellent research facilities and a helpful support staff. Classes stay at the River Camp, which is along a beautiful river teeming with wildlife. The camp features furnished walk-in tents, 3 meals a day and other basic services.
Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve
This site is really two adjoining reserves (Valentine Camp and Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory) providing access to lake, stream and a variety of terrestrial habitats, including Great Basin shrubland and grassland, high desert riparian woodland, and riparian meadow, upper-montane forest and chaparral.
Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center
Located in the Granite Mountains in the East Mojave Desert, the 3,600 hectare UC Reserve lies at the junction of four biogeographical provinces. The reserve contains an impressive variety of habitats due to its rugged terrain and varied elevation. The diversity of habitats, plants and animals lend themselves well to student research.
Santa Cruz Island
The island's large size and dramatic topography support diverse plant communities, including grasslands, pine forest, coastal scrub and riparian woodlands. The island provides fantastic opportunities for students to address ecological questions.