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Research in Indonesia

Starting in June 2013, I will be participating in a canopy research project on the Island of Buton, Indonesia.

The research proposal is as follows:
Patterns of Arboreal Herpetofauna species richness and community composition on Buton

Introduction

Tropical forests typically support a rich arboreal reptile, snake and frog fauna. However, studies of tropical herpetofauna communities are invariably ground-based, and no studies have been published that directly sample arboreal herpetofauna or attempt to evaluate its diversity. Despite extensive research on the forest herpetofauna of Buton Island over the past 13 years, little is known about species that are predominantly arboreal. Preliminary and anecdotal observations made during tree climbs during the past few years indicate that many species occupy the canopy that are rarely, or never, detected by conventional ground-based sampling methods. One species of lizard has only ever been seen from the canopy, and there may be others yet to be detected. This sampling bias reflects the logistical and technical difficulty, and cost, of sampling the canopy with adequate intensity, as this requires specific training, skills and equipment. Never the less, canopy sampling is required if a complete understanding of tropical herpetofauna communities is to be gained. We propose to commence a systematic study of arboreal herpetofauna on Buton, with the following objectives:

1. Document species occupying the forest canopy, building on existing ground-based studies on Buton

2. Relate patterns of species richness and community composition to habitat characteristics and forest structure

3. Evaluate influences of forest disturbance on the arboreal herpetofauna diversity

4. Trial and evaluate new sampling methods

5. Ultimately integrate ground-based and arboreal sampling datasets to model disturbance impacts on community organization.

I thought it would be beneficial to the project to gain some support and press from WWF. Any suggestions, support, funding or press you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Grant (talktogranthere@hotmail.com) or I (benfrose@gmail.com) can be contacted regarding this. Thanks, Ben
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