Annual Grant Winners 2003-2004
James Thomas, Ph.D., Oceanographic Center
Barry Barker, Ph.D., Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
Dean Richard Dodge – Oceanographic Center
Dean Norma Goonen – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
Title: Identifying Global Conservation
and Research Priorities in Coral Reefs Using Amphipod Crustaceans:
An Expedition to the Celebes and Banda Sea region of
evidence for large-scale global change in coral reef communities
mounts, scientists and managers continue to view reef biodiversity
through a traditional, narrow lens of coral, fish, and
mollusks. This constrains accumulation of additional informative
data from other highly diverse taxon groups, especially
the myriad small cryptic marine invertebrates. While global
networks of marine protected areas are intended to ensure
long-term survival of coral reefs and associated habitats,
current efforts in this regard lack testable hypotheses
to affirm or measure the value of such actions once taken.
Scientifically testable scenarios and predictions are needed
to identify and protect areas of critical biodiversity.
A new modeling approach to this problem combines geotectonics
and phylogenetic data from coral reef amphipod crustaceans
to identify areas of lineage-based biodiversity. This
model is based on identifying “centers” where
species have accumulated by rafting on geological plates.
Analyzing selected groups of smaller coral reef invertebrates
that lack dispersive larval that more accurately reflects
plate fidelity can test this model. Subsequent efforts are
then focused on reef areas where both geological history
and biodiversity data suggest unusual patterns in biodiversity.
While distribution and taxonomic data are available for
wide areas of the tropical seas, one the most critical
areas, the Malay Archipelago, remains virtually unknown
and uncollected, thus preventing assessment of the region
as a source/sink of biodiversity.
This proposal requests travel and field support funds
to collect amphipod crustaceans from the Banda and Celebes
Seas regions of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Dr. Barry Barker will
design a website portal enabling Environmental Science
and Marine Biology majors to participate interactively
in this research project, thus providing relevant and exciting
experiences in an actual marine research project. A website
and several subject modules will be developed for MST science
students/faculty by Dr. Barker and Dr. Thomas.