Research supported by MERC typically focuses on understanding ecosystem and social/cultural change in the context of the dynamic environment of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve (MMGR). MERC takes an interdisciplinary approach to large and complex research questions that address these discipline specific components:
- Environmental Conservation
Research projects coordinated to glean findings of long-term ecological monitoring studies, including research on big mammals, birds, marshes, soil, grazing and grasses recovery. The Mara River system is an area of particular concern, and cross-study collaboration are needed to assess the impact of tourism on the health of the Mara watershed. Another is the impact of grazing on the MMGR and Maasai community land, and cross-study collaborations on land management and private conservancies.
Research conducted on the impacts of off-road tourism, lodges and other tourist facility on the ecology of the Mara, wildlife and the economic, environmental and social health of local communities, on the carrying capacity of the Mara to support tourist facilites, the current state of employment in the industry and training opportunities for local people, and the fee structure of the MMGR and its relationship to revenue generated.
- Pastoralism and Agriculture
Research collected and conducted on the Impact of different economies on soils, wildlife, and the economic sustainability, cultural survival and health of the Maasai communities in land surrounding the MMGR
- Culture and Society
Research collected and conducted into the cultural impacts of land loss in Maasailand, unemployment, the impact of education on society and culture, on gender and age group identity.
Research collected and conducted into the effectiveness of education system in Maasailand, the types of education most needed by the community, graduation rates from Primary and Secondary schools, underserved areas, and how education can be a means to cultural survival rather than an undermining force.
- Land Rights and Management
- Research conducted into land sales, private conservancies, historical injustices regarding land, and past and present park management.
- Climate Change
Maasailand is being impacted by increased droughts and flooding and other reflections of changing weather patterns, and any research on this subject is very welcome.