French Guiana 2015: How to pack a lab in your luggage

The first field trip of 2015 is underway! (Almost). We’ll be heading off to French Guiana on the 20th to hunt down Bd in the pristine tropical rainforest at Nouragues Natural Reserve where we’ll be hosted by CNRS who run the research station there. It’s pretty remote, and that means taking everything we’ll need to do our research out there with us.
Right now, that means pouring a LOT of plates – 118 in fact. We’ll use these to clean toe-clips we take of unwanted bacteria before trying to culture Bd from them. Also in the kit bag:

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All packed and ready to go!
  • 2x 300 lumens head torches (with added fun strobe light feature because, why not)
  • 2x hammocks and mosquito nets
  • 243x culture tubes filled with media to keep toeclips in
  • 2x dissection kits
  • 1x USB digital microscope – this is brilliant! You plug it into your laptop for up to 400x magnification in the field!
  • Sterile needles
  • Supplies of MS222, a veterinary anaesthetic
  • As many swabs as we can carry
  • Leech socks

The research station is at the heart of the 105,000ha Nouragues Natural Reserve, with a section along the Arataye River with access only permitted for scientific research. To get there, you either need to take a powered dugout canoe from Régina followed by a three hour walk, or you can take a helicopter. We’ve gone for the helicopter…

Location of Nourages Ecological Research Station (

After an overnight stop in Paris, it’ll be a 10 hour flight to Cayenne, a stop over there for the night and finally our helicopter ride to the camp. Updates to follow, internet permitting, following arrival!


4 thoughts on “French Guiana 2015: How to pack a lab in your luggage

    1. Getting them there isn’t a problem, as there’s nothing dangerous or restricted – bringing the samples back needed lots of permits though! Dendrobatidis tinctorius is a CITES listed species, and French law protects everything in the reserve, so we had to get everything signed off by the authorities!


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