Vacancy Bioluminescent Mushroom Researcher in Brazil

Ad type: volunteer opportunities
Company: Biodiversity Research Institute
City: São Paulo, Brasil
Workplace street: Estrada Iporanga – Apiaí, Km 6, Iporanga - SP - Brasil
Category: Research
Employment: On Site
Work schedule: Full Time
Posted: 10 Aug 2018
Requirements for the applicant
Education: No requirement
Work experience: Entry level
Driving license: No
Foreign languages: English - Intermediate
Job description

IPBio is looking for a long-term volunteer/s (minimum 3 month stay but preferably 6 months) to assist in our bioluminescent mushroom program.

About IPBio: 

The Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio) is a place where research meets conservation. IPBio is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that develops and supports projects in environmental education and scientific research on biodiversity, ecology as well as on the behavior of species of fauna and flora of Brazilian ecosystems.


Read the volunteer package: 

Read our Newsletter:

Watch our Volunteer Videos:

Check out our Website:



Bioluminescent mushrooms are mushrooms that have a green glow (wavelength of 520–530 nm) which derives from a biological process internal to the mushrooms. There are approximately 100 species of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world although this number is consistently rising as new species are found. Brazil contains a total of 15 species PETAR, the State Park in Iporanga where our reserve is located, 12 species have been found placing our region as the region with the highest concentration of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world.



Bioluminescent mushrooms are only abundant during the summer when the humid conditions are favorable to their development. IPBio wishes to develop a protocol which allows us to grow them in the lab under controlled conditions so they are readily available all year long. This would allow: researchers to study them over longer periods; students on school trips to visualize the mushrooms during their winter trips (when they do not grow naturally) and potentially have an impact on tourism in Iporanga through initiatives such as the development of a “Museum of Bioluminescence”. Moreover, IPBio seeks to find new species of mushrooms as it is widely believed in the scientific community that more species will be found in the coming years due to increased research in this area.

In addition, IPBio partnered with the Laboratory of Bioluminescent Fungus of the Chemistry Institute from the University of Sao Paulo who wish to develop a culture bank. These cultures will serve to preserve the species and to conduct studies to attempt to understand the evolution and the emergence of bioluminescent fungi on Earth.

For more photos:


Role Description:
  • Cultivation Program: This is our major focus and is mainly lab work. Testing and optimizing the process of cultivation requires experiments related to: substrate compositions, sterilization method, inoculation method, fruiting techniques etc. This is a relatively under researched topic so the volunteer would have to do independent research/reading to attempt to find out what factors lead to growth.
  • Searching for news species of bioluminescent mushrooms: a past volunteer found a 6 new species of bioluminescent mushrooms and found the first blue glowing larva of South America.
  • Photographing mushrooms.
  • Supporting with the preparation of material for an eBook called “Mushrooms of the Atlantic Forest”.



For the lab based work an education in biology, microbiology or biochemistry would be a huge benefit; however, we are willing to accept a non-biologist who is very interested, willing to learn and who would stay 6 months so they have time to train. We require this volunteer to be independent and to take initiative.


Life at IPBio:

Our town is called the Cave Capital of Brazil so volunteers often visit our state parks to explore the caves. Hike into the dense forest and visits to waterfalls are also common activities. Bouy cross, big balloons, are used to drift down the rivers, some of the river route are 3 hours long! After work volunteers can swim on the reserve deck, organize dinners, watch movies, read and go wildlife watching. On the weekend we often have a barbeque or organize dinner at a restaurant. Often there are social events or parties in the community that volunteers can go to.


Accomodation and Living:

Volunteers will stay at the Darwin Guest House, situated on the reserve itself, which accommodates up to 14 people in 8 rooms. Two rooms are collective rooms and 6 rooms are single rooms. All rooms have air conditioning, closet space and electricity outlets. Individual rooms have a desk with a chair. The house has 4 bathrooms with hot showers, a washing machine and has a fully equipped kitchen where volunteers can cook. A cleaning lady provides basic cleaning services for public areas and will provide fresh bed linen once a week. However, it is also the volunteer’s responsibility to maintain and clean the house; we take this very seriously. Shops are located in the town of Iporanga 6km away from the reserve, which you can walk to or get a taxi, where there are various shops where you can by all the supplies you will need from groceries to toiletries. There is an organic small herb and vegetable patch volunteers can use in the gardens.



You must speak either English or Portuguese at an intermediate level. You must be over 18.


How to Apply: 

Email us your CV/resume and clearly state the position (or positions) you are intertested in to and we will get in touch with our volunteer package containing further details! We respond to all applicants within a week so if you can´t find a response please check your spam folder a week after you apply.

Contact Information
Choose a CV to send
File format: docx, doc, rtf, odt, pdf (2 MB maximum)
You do not have an account, please, register.
+ Cover Letter
I agree to the owner of the website and the company that posted the vacancy to process my personal data in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Personal Data” (more details)
About an employer
The Institute for Biodiversity Research (IPBio) is a place where research meets conservation. IPBio is a nonprofit NGO that develops and supports projects in environmental education and scientific ... read more