Lectures at UNIPA in Manokwari

Today, we went to the University of Papua (UNIPA) to present our work and to give lectures and tutorials. We were warmly welcomed by the Dean of the Marine and Fisheries Department, Dr. Mudji Rahayu, and a researcher at the group: Mrs. Dessi. Dessi grew up in California, where she also completed her studies. Her Master’s project had led her back to Indonesia, and now she is working on the conservation of sea turtles from her office in Manokwari.

After a pleasant conservation, we started our lectures. About 30 people were present, both students and lecturers. They were very attentive and asked a lot of very good questions after each lecture, which was great! We talked about marine lakes in general, presented our own field work, and gave a lecture on jellyfish lakes and the projects we are are setting up right now. Jellyfish lakes are very rare, and we still know very little about how the populations of Mastigias papua fluctuate. Therefore, WWF has funded us to set up a long-term monitoring project. In this way, students from UNIPA can visit some jellyfish lakes each month for about a year, in order to count their abundance, qualify their morphology and monitor the habitat itself. We explained this project to them, and hope that they will participate! We ended with two tutorials on data collection and data analysis.

The day was very enjoyable, and Dessi helped us a lot by translating what we were saying every couple of sentences. Our Bahasa Indonesia is still not good enough to give an entire lecture in it, (even though we got very good at asking whether the marine lake has crocodiles in them, to the great amusement of the boatmen). After the day had ended, we took a group picture with everyone and went back to our hotel.

Tomorrow we leave West-Papua to go to Jakarta. Here, we will meet with researchers from LIPI, who will safely store our samples until someone can bring them to Holland.