New Citizen Science Departures With Exodus
Exodus Travels has launched a special collection of Citizen Science departures as part of its work with NatureMetrics.
The new initiative will enable client involvement in environment DNA (eDNA) sample collection across 20 of its trips throughout the world. These samples will play a vital role in building the eBioAtlas, a joint initiative of IUCN and NatureMetrics, which aims to monitor biodiversity worldwide in order to map the distribution of various species and contribute to global knowledge of ecosystems through genetics and cutting-edge technology.
In October 2021, Exodus announced its Nature First commitment and set the goal of becoming Nature Net Positive by 2024. This means that when creating and running its trips, not only will negative impacts on natural ecosystems be reduced, but it will proactively seek to support nature’s restoration and regeneration. Its focus is to reduce the negative impacts of travel, including carbon emissions, waste and pollution, and ecosystem exploitation.
Kasia Morgan, Group Head of Sustainability for Exodus Travels, explained that: “As an adventure travel company with a mission to improve life for people, places and planet, we’re excited to work with NatureMetrics on the innovative eBioAtlas project to enable our clients to collect freshwater samples on their global adventures, thereby using our business model to contribute towards this crucial work for the long-term conservation and restoration of biodiversity.”
Guests on the new Citizen Science trips will be able to collect eDNA samples from freshwater sources in incredible locations, which will then be examined to collate the eBioAtlas, a distribution map of various species. Traces of DNA are left in different environments, such as waterways, wetlands, and forests, so using the innovative eDNA technique, it is possible to know the species present in different ecosystems, as well as their migration habits.
Water samples will be packaged and sent to NatureMetrics’ laboratory in the UK for analysis. Every guest on a Citizen Science departure will receive a report from NatureMetrics explaining what species have been within the vicinity of where the water samples were taken.
Mike Morris, Head of Program for the eBioAtlas initiative for NatureMetrics, said that: “Information within the eBioAtlas will provide important data for companies, NGOs, policymakers, and communities alike. eDNA surveys democratise the acquisition of biodiversity data.”
Samples will provide vital information for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is the world’s most comprehensive guide on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungi, and plant species. Guests can contribute to identifying sites in need of biodiversity protection and restoration, as well as increasing the understanding of endangered species around the world.
In the lead up to the launch of this initiative, Exodus has produced a new mini documentary entitled Footprints of the Forest, which was filmed and directed by Olly Pemberton and features leading wildlife biologist Lizzie Daly. Set in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, the film showcases the eBioAtlas project, explains how samples are taken, and details how visitors will be involved on the Citizen Science Departure trips.
For more more on the program, go to https://www.exodustravels.com/ca/sustainable-travel/places-and-planet/ebioatlas