July 1, 2015
We arrived at Labundo Bundo, Operation Wallacea’s forest site, this morning. Labundo bundo is located 3 hours South of Baubau the main port city. Each village is about 1km long and neighbor each other very closely; however, you may only walk in the village if we were invited. Operation Wallacea researchers were only allowed in Labundo Bundo. Annie, my bunk mate, is from London. We bonded at approximately 5:30 am when we heard the sound of ~100+ chicks and 6 roosters cooing this morning. Our host family starts the day early to say the least. We called our host lady Ibu, the name for Ms. and “Mother” in their language. I am trying my best to learn the language and be able to communicate with the locals. No one knows English besides the researchers here, but their Indonesian dialect seems like only a few words are needed to get ideas across.
We were introduced to Macaques and Bearcuscus native mammals today. Although biologically impossible, the Beacuscus looks like the love child of a 3-toed sloth and a Costa Rican Kinkajou.
Lecture #1: Intro to Indonesia & Biodiversity Immediate Impression- not as difficult as I anticipated Facts: -Indonesia has the 2nd highest number of species after Brazil -“Bahasa Indonesia” name of common language -Wallacea Region: biological hotspot because it is 1)very rich in endemic species 2) has unusual overlap of Australian and Asian Fauna.
Our survey work will include megafauna, 1.2km transects, bat surveys, dynamics of bird communities, herpetofauna, and butterfly communities- this will be the challenge.
Lecture #2: Endemism this is when things got difficult. Concepts to retain: High endemism usually correlates with isolation, usually high rates of speciation, but not necessarily species richness, hence the theory of Island Biogeography.
July 2, 2015
Another US citizen arrived to camp today, turns out she was wait-listed for the Musical Theatre program at CMU a year before I was accepted. We shared passions for both theatre and ecology.
We started jungle training today. The entire group was transported in a cattle truck to the Lambusango forest where La Didi, a honey hunter forest guide, helped build our tent. “La” before a name is the equivalent of saying “Mr.” La Didi, a seventy yr old Indonesian man walked in the forest bare-footed, unharmed by the spiny rattan that littered the floor.
July 3, 2015
We’ve cut more trees on this camping trip than I anticipated