International Collaboration

Collaboration between UC Davis, Universitas Hasanuddin, and MARS inc. Symbioscience’s Sustainable Solutions program

As part of this collaboration I have been involved with a variety of projects in Sulawesi, Indonesia including:

1) Designing and Implementing a long term study exploring restoration techniques for seagrass beds in the densely populated and highly polluted Spermonde islands. Indonesia is a seagrass diversity hotspot. Whereas in many areas seagrass beds are typically composed of one or two species, beds in Indonesia often have several different species growing together. Our project explored which combinations of seagrass species grow best together and would be most suitable for restoration efforts. You can read more about the project here.

2) Working on a k-12 citizen science and outreach project with the goals of documenting the quantity and type of marine debris along the coast, teaching students basic science methodology, and teaching students about the environmental impacts of marine debris and what actions they could take to reduce debris.

3) Helping a team from MARS inc. with monitoring and maintenance of a large-scale coral restoration project in the Spermonde islands. Blast fishing in the area has turned many coral reefs into rumble. The restoration effort lead by the MARS team uses rebar cages, also known as “spiders”, to anchor loose pieces of healthy coral and create the foundation for a new reef.

4) Evaluating the success of a project spearheaded by MARS inc. to provide alternative livelihoods to blast fishing through conversion to ornamental marine species culture. Overfishing and blast fishing are destroying coral reef ecosystems in the Spermonde islands and throughout Indonesia, yet reducing these impacts is challenging when fishing is the primary source of livelihood for many local people. This project aims to reduce the impacts of overfishing, while empowering local people by giving them an alternative source of income. Houses that switch to culturing aquarium species make significantly more income.