A team comprised of researchers from Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) and University of Rhode Island (URI) as part of a collaboration between Indonesian and U.S. universities with a focus on increasing the country’s food security and self-sufficiency by supporting the advancement of livestock biotechnology and conservation of coral reef fisheries in Indonesia, called Animal Biotechnology and Coral Reef Fisheries (ANBIOCORE), traveled to the eastern Indonesian region of Raja Ampat in Papua to investigate the impact of commercial fishing, and the various management strategies used by local communities to support species biodiversity, and identify the key components of the food web that support important species within coral reef fisheries.
The survey was conducted in the Dampier Strait, which has diverse fisheries management zones, including tourism, core zone, open access, and customary law. “We are looking for hidden diversity in coral reef ecosystem and we are sampling waters from different depth, from the bottom sediment, mid water, and surface,” said Dr. Hawis Madduppa from Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) who led the team.
In the locations of Sawandarek, Yenbubba, and Yenwapnor, the team conducted an underwater visual census (2 transect @50 meter) for reef fish abundance and biomass. In other areas, such as Paniki Besar and Golf Island, the team dove in open access zones where they witnessed the destruction caused by fishing activities.
For some researchers, they can work with eDNA sampling and DNA gut content from fish and from water. “What we want to do with the data is analyze the fish production potential,” said Dr. Austin Humpries from URI.
From these activities, the researchers was able to collect bioecology data, including coral cover, benthic abundance, biomass, and abundance of reef ishes . They also manage to get water quality or nutrient data, eDNA from 3 different layers, rugosity, and DNA gut content from fish catch by fisherman.