1st year u/g students, 2nd year u/g students, 3rd year u/g students
Student Responsibilty with support from IIP and/or Host Organization
International Internship Program
About: Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. Bioversity International has a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. Bioversity International delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. They work with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.Their organization is active in over 100 countries worldwide, with more than 300 staff working from some 20 country offices.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns, as part of a project team, will be assigned a research project and learn more about issues concerning international agricultural research for development, particularly sustainable conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity for food and agriculture. IIP interns will gain experience in carrying out desk studies, literature searching, compilation and analysis of information, database work, and writing reports, papers, and public awareness materials. IIP interns placed at Bioversity in Peru will work on one or more of the following projects:
Analysis of gold mine restoration data - Successful restoration of gold mine spoils has long been seen as a highly complex and expensive undertaking. This paradigm has now been broken by Forestpa, a Colombian restoration company that has developed a highly effective method for socially-inclusive, ecologically-sound and profitable restoration of land devastated by gold mining. The objective of this IIP internship will be to analyze data on tree diversity and biomass, collected from >100 plots established in restored forest on land previously degraded by gold mining and livestock grazing, 5 and 10 years after initiation of the restoration activities. Bioversity wants to test whether there is a difference in recovering rates of tree diversity and biomass between land previously degraded by grazing or gold mining and whether there is any relationship between diversity and biomass production. The IIP intern will produce a summary of principal findings and a literature review.
Data collection on tree functional traits for restoration decision support tool - Bioversity has been leading the development of a decision-support tool to assist restoration practitioners with the selection of appropriate species combinations and seed sources that increase resistance against locally prevailing stress factors at restoration sites (eg fire, erosion, soil compaction…) and are best matched with restoration goals (e.g. carbon sequestration, recovery of original vegetation, watershed protection etc). In a first stage, the tool has been developed for the restoration of Colombian tropical dry forest, and is available at www.restool.org. The tool partly relies on the association of functional traits of different tree species and (i) resistance against biotic and abiotic stress factors and (ii) specific restoration objectives. The objective of this IIP internship is to carry out a literature review, in combination with consultation of experts (principally telephone and email) to extend and validate our preliminary list of associations between functional traits and species´ resistance against stress factors and their contribution to restoration objectives. A secondary task will consist in collecting data on the functional traits for a concrete list of tree species.
Analysis of food plant use from local to global scales - An interesting area in the study of the nutritional and medicinal usefulness of plants concerns the investigation of how global and local patterns in plant use and knowledge relate to one another. For example, Moerman et al (1999) and Saslis-Lagoudakis et al. (2011) uncovered common patterns in ethnomedicinal usage by cultures from different areas all over the world. A question that largely remains unanswered if similar patterns can be found for edible plant species. The objective of this internship will be to investigate the over-and under-representation of certain plant families as sources of food at the global, national and local level, by means of existing databases selected for each of these three levels. This IIP intern will work on data quality control and actualization of the taxonomy of species included in the databases, and time permitting, collection of additional databases through literature searches.
Analysis of the relationship between tree genetic and tree functional diversity data from Colombian dry forest - Bioversity has recently carried out a study in Colombian tropical dry forest which aimed to characterize the variation of neutral genetic diversity (SSR and ISSR markers) and diversity of leave and wood functional traits of 10 different tree species in different populations sampled across the country. The objective of this IIP internship will be to analyses these data to explore the existence (or not) of a correlation between different parameters that characterize genetic and functional trait diversity.
Maritime routes of crop dispersal between Mesoamerica and Peru in Pre-Columbian times: building the evidence base - A growing number of studies seems to suggest that there were maritime trade routes between southern Mexico and northern Peru (two major centers of crop diversity) in Pre-Columbian times which may have played an important role in the exchange of domesticated plant and animal species between Mesoamerica and South-America. Examples of potential exchange from north to south and south to north along such routes include cacao (Theobroma cacao), peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) cherimoya (Annona cherimola), hairless dogs (eaten by the Aztecs). However to date no systematic review exists of studies that can help to validate the scale and intensity of the exchange of plant and animal domesticates. The IIP intern will carry out a review of current literature on the subject and an analysis of secondary data.
Towards a strategy for effective in situ and on-farm conservation of Theobroma cacao in Peru - An ongoing Ph.D. project aims to establish a typology of cacao cultivation systems in Peru and understand the type and amount of cacao diversity conserved by the different cultivation systems in order to develop a long-term strategy for in situ and on farm conservation of cacao genetic resources. The IIP intern’s project would contribute to this research through field work in one or more cacao cultivation systems at pre-selected locations in Peru.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in Ecology, Biology, Forestry, Agroforestry, Agriculture, Ethnobiology are encouraged to apply. Skills in writing, communication and analysis would be an asset. Technical skills in database management and analysis, quality control and experimental design would be an asset. Spanish is strongly recommended.