We encourage research in a variety of disciplines. Due to its native biodiversity, its diverse habitat types, the dynamics of its recovering wildlife populations, and its complex human history, Gorongosa National Park offers unique opportunities for biological, ecological, hydrological, and social research.
Here you can find a flowchart that describes the process of applying to do research at the Park, and the correct people to get in touch with;
Please read our Gorongosa Research Backgound and Opportunities for more detailed information, and for researchers that are applying, the first step is to submit a short proposal that contains the Title of the Project, Name(s) of the Researcher(s), Institutional Affiliation, Objectives, Methodology, Time Frame and Expected Outcomes. This proposal should be submitted to the Director of Scientific Services, Dr. Marc Stalmans: [email protected]
Also, please read the following Welcome Documents to help you prepare for your time at the Park.
While encouraging all fields of research, the following are of particular management and/or academic interest:
· The balance of large herbivores has changed from pre-war conditions with species such as waterbuck and warthog having a larger relative (and even absolute) contribution to overall wildlife biomass. Will other species be able to increase back to historical levels or will current numbers and ratio of waterbuck inhibit such change?
· Is the grazing succession being gradually re-established with the increase in buffalo numbers? Is this a patch phenomenon (grazing lawns) and at what scale is it happening? Can the spatial restoration of the grazing succession be modeled across the Park?
· How has the decline and recovery in herbivore numbers impacted primary productivity and ensuing wildfires? Are timing, extent, intensity and spatial pattern of wildfires different in parts of the Park with different herbivore densities? How does that impact on woody regeneration and growth? Understanding and modeling fodder flows (both in terms of quantity and nutritional quality for herbivores) in relation to rainfall, pulse-flooding, fire and herbivory.
· Elephant numbers were drastically reduced from the original 2,500 animals to less than 250 animals by the end of the civil war. Currently the elephant population is recovering well with an estimated 800 elephants in the Park. Elephants are distributed unevenly though the Park. How does that impact on seed dispersal, woody species regeneration and growth?
· What are the impacts of hippo from a grazing, fertilizing and mechanical perspective (e.g. channels in the aquatic systems and paths on land)? How has this changed since the decline in hippo numbers? How is the current recovery of hippo reversing any negative trends?
· Comparative feeding and behavioural patterns of the zebra in the historical part of the Park and in the Zambezi sector of the greater Gorongosa landscape.
· Spatio-temporal patterns of eland in the larger Gorongosa-Marromeu landscape with a focus on aggregation and dispersion in function of seasonality.
· Can fine-scale topographical information (LIDAR) be used to model floodplain dynamics at both a fine and intermediate scale to better understand desiccation of portions of the floodplain through accelerated erosion, tree invasion, etc.?
· How are changing land use patterns outside the Park, and the loss of grazing areas that were historically available to wildlife, impacting upon seasonal distribution patterns, resulting in forage bottlenecks and overall limiting wildlife numbers in the Park? What connections / dispersal areas should be restored and/or maintained?
· What are the foraging areas for the different species of water birds found in the large nesting colony on the shores of Lake Urema?
· Feeding patterns of the Marabou stork whose breeding colonies seem to be expanding in the Park.
· How are changing patterns of land use and increased water abstraction outside of the park affecting the flooding regime of the Gorongosa valley?
· Geo-ecological evolution of the different parts of the floodplain – is this landscape drying out and being invaded by woody species and what could be the causal factors?
· Are the areas around Lake Urema becoming more “weedy” and less “grassy” and what would the causal factors be?
· Dynamics of the “Moist Inhamitanga Sand Forest” in the Zambezi sector of the Park.
· Dynamics of the “Limestone Gorge Forest” on the Cheringoma plateau.
· What was the ‘historical’ extent of rainforest on Mount Gorongosa? Can soil patterns, rain shadow and fire shadow extent and relict forest trees in conjunction with habitat information be used to model past forest cover?
· Aspects of biogeography related to the fragmentation of the rainforest on Mount Gorongosa – implications on diversity, persistence, dispersal etc.
· What is / could be the role of riparian corridors between Mount Gorongosa and Gorongosa Park? Should such corridors be re-established, and in what manner, to mitigate the effects of climate change?
For anyone interested in undertaking research in Gorongosa National Park, please send an e-mail to [email protected] Please provide us with a short outline of who you are, what your objectives are, and what you would like to do in the park. We will talk to you about your project idea and assist you with developing a formal project proposal in order for you to secure a research permit.
Applicants should be mindful that research in Gorongosa that deals with animal and plant specimens and/or diseases might require special treatment (legally and ethically). Researchers should allow time for us to work with you on your proposal ideas and may be asked to schedule their research according to other work being conducted in the park. This could mean that a researcher is only allowed to conduct their research several months after they apply for a research permit. Please make special note of this if your research is time-sensitive or seasonal.