The goals of this research are to describe the richness, study the status, and explain the spatial/temporal patterns in the biodiversity of Raja Ampat. The primary goals of the research are: 1) to conduct inventories of fish, corals, and snails representative of reef community biodiversity, particularly marine invertebrates, microbes, and viruses that vary across gradients of anthropogenic stress; 2) to conduct long-term monitoring of marine biodiversity status of Raja Ampat; 3) to study the processes governing the creation and maintenance of the Raja Ampat marine biodiversity as a result of higher diversity packing into the same unit area, or a result from spatial/temporal habitat variability or neutral processes.
These activities include collecting organisms and sampling populations, characterizing them using a variety of approaches, determining patterns of biodiversity, and applying these patterns to general problems in systematic and evolutionary biology such as phylogenies, biogeography, and functional morphology. Overall. These activities will also strengthen research capacity of the State University of Papua with support University California, Los Angeles.
To reach these goals, the study builds on strong partnerships with UCLA, developed during a portion of a previous NSF PIRE award (sci.odu.edu/impa/ctpire.html). This project will also build partnerships with Brawijaya University, research institutes (Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center and Indonesian Institute of Science), and conservation organizations, to provide the intellectual and physical resources to achieve our research aims as well as ensure that these results support conservation planning and the sustainability goals of the Coral Triangle Initiative.