Fieldwork preparations: permits, gear and lots of planning
Preparations for fieldwork start many months before your planned departure. After choosing where you want to do fieldwork you must start applying for permits you may be required to have to conduct research legally in that country. Some types of permits you may need include a research permit stating you are allowed to conduct research, a collection permit stating you are allowed to collect specimens, and an export permit stating you are allowed to export the specimens you collected back to the US. In some countries, you need an import and export permit for chemicals you need to bring in or take out of the country. You also need to check if you require a visa to enter that particular country. Processing of these permits and visas can take many months, so you must apply early. Once you are approved for your research activities, and your flights and accommodations are booked, it's time to get all your field gear ready! For me, this means packing a full set of SCUBA gear (wetsuit, BCD, regulators, fins, mask) and gear for collecting sea anemones (including a hammer and chisel!). Needless to say, I rarely travel light for fieldwork. The photo in this post shows some of the gear I am taking with me to Moorea.