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5 Amazing Field Research Locations

Limiting a list of possible field research sites to only five seems almost like a crime, considering all planet Earth has to offer

Rachel Muenz

Rachel Muenz, managing editor for G2 Intelligence, can be reached at

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View from Bartolome IslandView from Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands.

Field research can be both the most difficult and enjoyable part of a scientist’s job. Getting to see fantastic scenery, travel to new places, and observe creatures in their natural habitats are all plusses that are balanced out by challenges such as the physical strain of travel in tough environmental conditions and the dangers of working in remote areas. 

If I were a researcher, here are five places I’d want to do field work, in no particular order and using no particular criteria: 

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1. Charles Darwin Research Station, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island Galapagos, Ecuador 

This one may be a bit cliché, but the Galapagos hold some of the most fascinating animals on our planet. And of course there’s the role they played in Charles Darwin developing his theory of natural selection. The research station is dedicated to conservation efforts in the Galapagos, so as a researcher or volunteer there, it would also be a great opportunity to contribute towards such efforts. 

A caver stands next to a cave pool in Lechuguilla CaveA caver stands next to a cave pool in Lechuguilla Cave.Photo Credit: NPS Photo/Gavin Newman

2. Carlsbad Caverns, National Park New Mexico, Carlsbad, NM

Really, any cave would be cool to do research in, but the Carlsbad Caverns are especially breathtaking with their stalactites, columns, and pools. They, like many other caves, also offer the opportunity to study bats, but they also include Lechuguilla Cave, the deepest limestone cave in the United States, where scientists have identified over 1,200 strains of microbes from sulfur deposits, corrosive residues, soils, and pools. 

Rainbow at WayqechaView of Manu National Park from Wayqecha Biological Station.Photo Credit: Trond Larsen, Amazon Conservation Association


3. Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station, Kcosnipata Valley, Cusco, Peru 

Like the Charles Darwin Research Station, the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station also gives researchers the chance to contribute to important conservation efforts. Not to mention that the landscape is absolutely stunning; the research station with its backdrop of misty mountains and dense rainforest looks more like a fancy resort. And, of course, being in a biodiversity hotspot, you’d get the chance to see all kinds of crazy-looking animals and plants. 

research at USGS Hawaiian Volcano ObservatoryVolunteers with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory get the chance to see the desolate beauty of a volcanic landscape every day.Photo Credit: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory 

4. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawai`i

Who wouldn’t want to work on active volcanoes? As a researcher at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, you’d get to help out with both earthquake and volcano monitoring and look out on landscapes of twisted rock that seem like they come from another planet. Definitely an interesting place to work.

Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland and Labrador, CanadaBurnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.Photo Credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson, Wikimedia Commons


5. Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

It may be the most Arctic location on the island of Newfoundland in Canada, but it also includes unique plant species such as Burnt Cape cinquefoil and fascinating geological features such as frost polygons. Thirty of its over 300 species of plants are rare, so researchers here have a chance to see plants most of us likely will never lay eyes on as well as be part of efforts to conserve them. Like the other field research locations on this list, it also provides many breathtaking views.

Limiting a list of possible field research sites to only five seems almost like a crime, considering all planet Earth has to offer. Where would you want to do field research if you could go anywhere in the world?  Or, where’s the coolest place you’ve already done field research?