Biodiversity Research Institute in the Tropical Forest of Brazil

Video and Photos


The Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio) is a place where research meets conservation. IPBio is an NGO that develops projects in environmental education and scientific research on biodiversity, ecology and on the behavior of species. In addition, IPBio 's mission is to encourage conservation, management and sustainable use of natural resources; promote the development of eco-tourism and cultural projects.

With only 7% of the Atlantic Forest remaining, we are rapidly losing one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. 200 birds and 21 primates are endemic. Conservation is critical.

1) In Research Projects: Bioluminescent Mushrooms; Bioacoustics Project; Tree Inventory and Monitoring; Amphibian Research
2) Reserve Maintenance and Gardening: maintain trails, aquarium and microclimate greenhouse
3) Photographers/Movie Producers: wildlife photography; produce volunteer videos; short documentaries; our videos have been used by Discovery Channel

  • Visiting the town with the highest concentration of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world
  • Gaining hands on experience in the field of research and conservation
  • Participate in exciting activities such as tubing and visiting caves and waterfalls
  • Work for an organization which received accreditation as an advanced outpost of The Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO

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9.59 Rating
based on 104 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 94.23%
  • 7-8 rating 5.77%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
  • Housing 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 25 - 32 of 104
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Yes, I recommend this program

Belter of an adventure

My name is Kieran and I study zoology at the University of the West of Scotland. I found IPBio while searching for places to complete my 3rd year work experience for university. A non-profit voluntary organisation for biodiversity research was perfect for a zoology student. The whole 3 weeks of my stay and volunteering were incredible. I learned a lot about the roles of an eco-volunteer and gained knowledge and skills that I can continue to use throughout my university course. Although my time at the Reserva Betary was primarily for my university work experience, I’d do it all again just for the sake of it. Every day at the Reserva Betary was remarkable, from living in the rainforest, to meeting other likeminded volunteers from all over the world, being a part the amazing team at IPBio and getting a taste of adventure. I’d recommend volunteering here to anyone really, it’s a great experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy the role and the volunteering, but everything else you do, wing it. Wing it all. Had some of the best experiences by just winging it all the time.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Would recommend!!

IPBio is an organization unlike the majority of the research institutes those of us from the global north may be familiar with. The institute is located about 5 kilometers from the nearest town in the middle of the Atlantic Forest. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and dense jungle and to this day I have not met anyone who has not loved it. Every day was spent doing work that I felt was important and fulfilling. This institute offers the opportunity to be one of the first and few researchers to experience what the Atlantic Forest has to offer. There are various positions within the reserve but should you decide to change positions during your stay it is more than likely that you can. They are receptive to feedback and to answering any questions you may have and even receptive to hearing project proposals. All volunteers live in a communal home, sharing bathrooms and a kitchen and work on the reserve. There are meetings each morning where the day's activities are discussed and then groups split up into the different positions at the reserve.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would bring only clothes that I wouldn't mind ruining.
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Yes, I recommend this program

unforgettable life changing experience, forest you took my soul!

It was the most beautiful place I've ever seen! It was simply incredible to explore so many different plants, animals and observe the biodiversity in one place only. I enjoyed having a mixture of film work and "eco biology- work" especially because I could combine my passion for nature and being involved in different projects of the Reserva. The time I spent there exceeded all my expectations!
They are certain rules to follow, If you're not too rebel you will not get kicked out, don't worry, the IpBio Crew was really super super kind, if you just follow the rules :P.

The working experience, was magical and the free time experiences even more magical
Living in the forest felt a bit like Avatar. There are glowing mushrooms and glowing insects, what I've found so fascinating. You see a million shining stars, even the milky way and each day you feel all the beauty of the universe. Everything was well organised, the volunteer's, IpBio Crew Are, and local people I've met were amazing and the moments I spent were just unforgettable, I will keep them in my heart!
The forest showed and taught me one more time, why humans should protect nature, instead of destroying it and how important animals as well plants are for our biodiversity and life on planet earth. A big thank you to the Institute making this trip possible and I hope I can come back and stay longer.

What would you improve about this program?
For me everything was super perfect, there was nothing to improve for me personally!
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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing time!

I had a wonderful time at the Betary reserve. I chose the eco-volunteer role as I would like to get into conservation work in the future and wanted to have some experience with field work.

It was a great opportunity to learn about the biodiversity of the Mata Atlantica forest and to get involved in on-going research. The eco-volunteer programme included several different projects and I really enjoyed learning about the area's biodiversity from all various angles.

The location itself is beautiful and the staff were kind and welcoming. The group of volunteers I stayed with were lovely and when we were not working we would do lots of things together, such as enjoy weekend trips to beautiful locations nearby.

I had an unforgettable time at the Betary Reserve and I would definitely recommend it.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Out of my comfort zone, and grateful!

After 5 weeks as an amphibian researcher I can say being here has taught me so much. My background is in microbiology but working with tadpoles is nothing I've ever done before. There's many chances to think freely and create your own projects. It is also such a unique place that your experiences here capture your attention but also the attention of future employers as well. My favorite activities were working with the tadpoles and going on excursions on the weekend with all the other volunteers. You get to learn and experience not only the Brazilian culture, but also the culture of all the volunteers from all of the world. I would recommend making it a priority to get to know the biologists and staff that work here; they are so passionate and have real life experience with conservation work.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
What you get out of it is up to you, take advantage
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Yes, I recommend this program


After staying here for four months, I would highly recommend this program to any nature-lover, as during the program you are constantly in contact with the astounding amount of biodiversity the Atlantic rainforest offers, and not just during working as a volunteer, but pretty much 24/7, as that you live directly upon the reserve. the staff here are friendly, easy-going, and are also incredibly knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, and so every time you work with them, it’s a learning experience. The work in the program is engaging, and what I found impressive, is that it is also always evolving; volunteers can suggest improvements to pre-existing projects as well as suggest new projects to add to the program, so that it is constantly improving. I would suggest that if you are going for about or over two months to get involved with a project, as some project can get a little repetitive after about 8 weeks. Also, there are seasonal differences which can affect the viewing of certain wildlife; for instance in the late summer here you are more likely to see many various species of frogs, but most likely will not see any of the monkey species, but in the winter it will in reverse.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
if you are staying around or over two months, get involved in a project as activities after 8 weeks can become repetitive
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Yes, I recommend this program

Lots of different activities

I spent one month at the betary reserve and had an amazing experience. I got to take part in lots of surveys and also work in the amphibian laboratory. I enjoyed having a mixture of lab and fieldwork and particularly enjoyed being in the river, catching fish for the fish inventory. My favourite part was working in the amphibian laboratory, supporting with the various tadpole studies. I had no real experience in a laboratory before so it was an invaluable opportunity for me. I learned so much and it was exciting to be part of practical research. The atmosphere is very supportive, with the staff really listening to your ideas.There was a lot of free-time, which sometimes dragged, but the location is beautiful and you can always go to the local town or there are some restaurants/bars down the road.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
When a tree snake fell out of a tree onto the decking in front of us with a huge smacking noise!
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Yes, I recommend this program

A once in a lifetime experience!

I spent almost 4 months at Reserva Betary as an amphibian researcher. These 4 months were the best 4 months of my entire life. Surrounded by all this nature and biodiversity, I felt like I wanted to stay here forever. The researches that are going on are very interesting. As an amphibian researcher, you spend quiet some time in the lab with frogs and tadpoles, the remaining time you will spend outside. I think this is a great balance. I met some amazing people and made some great memories that I will carry the rest of my life. The house where volunteers stay in, is very comfortable. There is a lot of kitchen equipment available and the location is very beautiful. My favorite spot was the river. I loved swimming and chilling there after a hard day of work. I would definitely recommend this experience!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We went to Cananeía in our free time. There, I swam with dolphins in the sea. They come very close! It's amazing to see. We also saw some alligators in town.