In late October and November 2003 I joined my PhD advisor Jonathan W. Armbruster, labmate Lesley de Souza, and fellow ichthyologists Mark Sabaj Pérez (ANSP) and Michael Hardman (then at LACM) on a fish collecting expedition to the Rupununi Savannah and upper Essequibo River in southern Guyana. Our team drove from Georgetown, on the coast, to Lethem, on the Brazilian border, and then southeast to the Amerindian village of Parabara, which at that time was the southernmost extent of overland travel in Guyana. From there we traveled in dugout canoes down the Kuyuwini River and then up the Essequibo River to Yukanopito Rapids, where we camped and sampled before retracing our steps back to Georgetown. This trip introduced me to Guyana's spectacular diversity of landscapes, ecosystems, and aquatic biodiversity, which I would return to explore in 2005, 2011, and 2013. For more photos from this expedition, please visit the website put together by Mark Sabaj Pérez here. Specimens from this expedition are now cataloged at AUM and ANSP under field number prefix GUY03. Publications that benefitted from collections and observations made during this fieldwork include the following:
Lujan, N.K. and J.W. Armbruster. 2011. The Guiana Shield. pp. 211-224 In: J. Albert, R. Reis, eds. Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Freshwater Fishes. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Lujan, N.K. 2008. Description of a new Lithoxus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Guayana Highlands with a discussion of Guiana Shield biogeography. Neotropical Ichthyology 6:413–418.
Photo of field team at Yukanopito Falls by M. Sabaj Pérez
This fieldwork was sponsored by NSF grant DEB-0315963, the All Catfish Species Inventory.