Our team at Manu Biological Station works every day to preserve one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

We are carrying out many scientific projects, developing our sustainable crops and fishponds while supporting and working alongside indigenous and local communities


Gold mining is one of the biggest environmental issues in Peru, threatening the health of the Amazon ecosystem, its biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous communities and locals.
Mercury (Hg) is used in great quantities to bind the gold particles and, therefore, to extract the precious metal from the rivers’ sediments. After that, it is burned and released to the atmosphere or discarded in the river systems. Along the Madre de Dios river, one of the longest rivers in Peru, 100.000 hectares have already been deforested and approximately 180 metric tons of liquid and gaseous mercury are released into the ecosystem every year.
The goal of our project is to understand how mercury contamination in the Peruvian Amazon is affecting the climatic, ecologic, and cultural services of this key region, and to identify how these impacts should be considered with regards to indigenous livelihoods and conservation efforts. In order to make this possible, we work alongside local and indigenous communities in the Kosñipata Valley.

We strongly believe in the importance of sharing scientific knowledge with the public and we are developing a series of meetings and workshops with the nearby communities, schools and Universities to discuss the mercury problematic and to find short- and long-term solutions.

Our team of researchers is operating in the field at Manu and along the Madre de Dios River, sampling a high variety of organisms, and in the Mercury Laboratory at Manu Biological Station, where the analyses are run using a LUMEX/DMA? Mercury Analyzer.

Our current research is aimed at measuring mercury contamination and bio-accumulation in the South-American largest copro-necrophagous beetle, Coprophanaeus lancifer (subfamily Scarabaeinae).

Does a carrion feeder bio-accumulate more mercury, compared to fully coprophagous species? Our first study confirms it! 

The next step consists in repeating the sampling, taking into account more variables and species and understanding whether high mercury levels affect reproduction and/or mortality rates. 

Contact us if you want to join our team and have a lasting impact on Amazon conservation efforts!

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest caused by illegal gold mining

Coprophanaeus lancifer