Around-the-Tropic-World Expedition

  • The Around-the-Tropic World Expedition was organized under the auspices of the Institute of Ecotechnics, and led by Capt. Robert “Rio” Hahn, FRGS, FN86.
  • The purpose of the expedition was to explore and learn how cultures of the tropic world have maintained themselves in ecological harmony with their local environment for hundreds, and in some instances, thousands of years.
  • The major accomplishments of the expedition included the production of a 12 part cultural documentary film series, Journeys To Other Worlds; carrying out studies of medicinal and economic plants; studies of traditional tropical architecture; performing the first collections of marine microorganisms from the Indian Ocean, which were used in research for the Biosphere 2 Project; and training of candidates for the Biosphere 2 Project.
  • The expedition accomplished the first, and to date only, circumnavigation voyage of the R/V Heraclitus, sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in a westerly direction.
  • During the course of the 40-month expedition, the Heraclitus sailed over 30,000 miles and called into 25 ports.
  • The crew which numbered from a minimum of seven to a maximum of 19, included over 100 different people from a dozen nations.
  • Guided by a reef pilot, the expedition re-surveyed the Spanish route through the northern Australian Great Barrier Reef.

Institute of Ecotechnics
Amazon River Expedition

  • The Amazon River Expedition was born out of the Institute of Ecotechnics 1979 “Jungle Conference: Man, Jungles, and Survival,” held in Penang, Malaysia. One of the speakers at the conference, the late Prof. Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University, widely considered to be the father of modern ethnobotany, suggested the Institute undertake the expedition utilizing its research vessel, the R/V Heraclitus, in order to continue research he began on his Alpha Helix (Scripps Oceanographic Institution) expedition.
  • The main purpose of the expedition, organized and managed by Scientific Chief, Capt. Robert “Rio” Hahn, FRGS, FN86, was to collect and document plants of economic and medicinal interest used by native peoples of the NW Peruvian Amazon.
  • The expedition discovered that the knowledge of how to utilize the plants, traditionally passed on by the shaman to their apprentices, was disappearing more rapidly than the plants themselves, since when a shaman died, they often no longer had students to carry on their work.
  • The expedition collected approximately 350 plant species of ethnobotanical interest, and made approximately 1500 voucher specimens under the direction of Expedition Botanist, Robyn Tredwell. These botanical specimens were distributed to herbaria in Iquitos and Lima Peru, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the New York Botanical Garden, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Institute of Ecotechnics Herbarium.
  • In the ship’s phytochemical laboratory, to preserve them for later research, approximately 120 rotovapor extractions were made of the most active and promising medicinal plants.
  • The R/V Heraclitus, utilized as the expedition vehicle and base, sailed from Penang, Malaysia to Belem, Brazil, and then, after converting its sails to a rain catchment device, motored 2,200 miles up the Amazon to Iquitos, Peru, where the expedition carried out research under an agreement with the Peruvian government.
  • The expedition crew was composed of persons from Canada, the United States, Australia, Cyprus, Great Britain, and eventually included native Amazonian Indians.
Copyright 2006 Robert 'Rio' Hahn. All Rights Reserved.