International Collaboration

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

As part of this collaboration I helped lead 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 how planting different numbers and combinations of seagrass species influenced success of restoration efforts. We found that plots with a greater diversity of species had better seagrass survival and growth. Species diversity is often especially important in areas like the Spermonde islands, which experience a variety of stressors, including high nutrient input, scouring from boat anchors, storms, and marine debris. 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.


This collaboration was funded by PEER (USAID/NSF Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research) and SEED (UCD) grants.