This Saturday a team of 6 kayakers from UK universities will fly out to Venezuela for a 2 month kayak expedition.  We aim to kayak many first descents in the North West of the country and on return to the UK, promote the region as a world class paddling destination.

The team left to right; Rob Moffatt, Sandra Hyslop, Jonny Hawkins, Joe Rea-Dickins, Arthur Norton, Sam Sawday
Training for the expedition
During the trip we will be collecting diatom samples from rocks in the rivers that are inaccesible by foot.   These samples will be posted to the  Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colombia for analysis where scientist will determine what diatom species are present.  The purpose of the research is to gain an up to date database of diatom species across America.

Diatoms are very sensitive to changes in water chemestry so are useful indicators of water quality. For this reason Government agencies are making more use of diatom data.  However, the lack of detailed knowledge of American diatoms means that diatoms from European assemblages are used instead which leads to inaccurate results.  Our project contributes to a greater understanding of American diatom species.


Diatoms of different shapes and sizes can be used to determine water quality once scientists know what conditions each species prefers.
For more infomation about the expedition visit the team’s website and team blog.
For infomation about the diatom project visit the University of Colorado infomation page.

Jonny Hawkins