When I was leaving Maliau Basin in 2015 after completing the data collection for my masters project, I did not think I would have the opportunity to return to Borneo any time soon… I was wrong!
Between September – December 2016 I went back to the beautiful pristine rainforests surrounding Maliau Basin in Borneo, this time, as an ecological field research assistant with the Natural History Museum, I worked with the Termite Ant Research Team which includes Paul Eggleton, Louise Ashton, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool’s Kate Parr, Hannah Griffiths and Alice Walker.
I spent half my time in the rainforest collecting data from fieldwork including:
- Termite transects
- Leaf litter transects/Winkler Bag sampling
- Ant bait card monitoring
- Predation study on fake grublets
- Wood occupancy surveys
- Hand collecting 2,000 individual ants for molecular gut content analysis
- Ant resource removal experiment
The other half of my time was spent in the Laboratory in the Institute of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) at the University of Malaysia, Sabah (UMS) in Kota Kinabalu working in the Natural Products Chemistry laboratory where I extracted chemicals from soil and seedling samples. I also helped the UMS Friends of Borneensis Outreach Initiative to design a field course for Malaysian School Students in 2017.
Our resource removal experiment revealed that Ants are the major agents of resource removal from tropical rainforests and was published recently in the Journal of Animal Ecology.