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  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

Cleaner fish play an important role on coral reefs around the world. Recent studies have shown that the health of reef fish and the biodiversity of reef systems increase when cleaners are abundant. The Wakatobi National Park is unusual in that three species of cleaner wrasse are present on its reef. The most abundant is the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) which has been fairly well studied. Much less research effort has focused on the ecology of the other two species: Blackspot Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides pectoralis) and the Bicolour Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides bicolor). Another species, this time a fang blenny, mimics the most dominant cleaner species (L. dimidiatus) in colouration pattern and morphology, but rather than providing an important ecological service it attacks and bites clients waiting at cleaner stations. One study could look at how this ‘cheating’ behaviour survives and quantify the incidence rates of cheats versus genuine cleans. Another project could explore the client pool making use of cleaning stations, including whether there is a hierarchy of service quality given to different taxonomic groups. Research could also focus on investigating niche differentiation through resource partitioning amongst the different cleaner species, or could be based around the complexities of cleaning behaviour and advertising strategies.
*Does not require data to be collected by diving, although you could still dive in your spare time.

Extended Dissertation Summary

If you would like to do a dissertation or thesis with us but your university hasn’t started dissertation planning or the project selection process, that’s no problem. You can cancel your expedition with zero cancellation charges up until the 15th of April of if you provide documentation from your university saying that they won’t support completing a dissertation project with us.

Indonesia - Wallacea Marine Research Objectives

There is a triangle of reefs in Eastern Indonesia that have the highest diversity of hard coral genera, the proxy commonly used to assess overall diversity of coral reefs, anywhere in the world. The Hoga Island Marine Station is located in the heart of the Wakatobi Marine National Park. Over the last 20 years, a series of scientists have been based at this site during the Opwall survey seasons and as a result, this is now the most published site in the Coral Triangle. For the last 15 years a series of constant monitoring sites around Hoga and eastern Kaledupa have been monitored for macroinvertebrates, fish communities, coral cover and community structure. The 2021 season will complete this monitoring plus some additional projects.

  • Develop an independent research project and write a formal proposal
  • Dive on a range of reefs around Hoga island
  • Complete a week-long training course on Indo-Pacific coral reef ecology
  • Learn to identify common Indo-Pacific fish
  • Collect data using in-water behavioural observations of cleaning stations
  • Learn how to organise and analyse large data sets
  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights into and out of Jakarta
  • Cost of internal travel to and from the start and end point of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. This costs around £300 or $375 on average. Extra nights’ accommodation can be quoted
  • Visa costs of $35 for a VOA (31-60 days, with extension), £50 for a social visa (60+ days, with extension) plus £45(VOA) or £60 (Social Visa) for the extension. Please get in touch with someone from Opwall for more detailed advice.
  • Dive equipment rental – £60 or $90 per week for a full dive kit. If you only wish to snorkel and want to hire snorkel equipment, the cost is £30 or $45 per week. Please note that wetsuits cannot be provided – you should bring your own.
  • Park entrance fees – £20 or $29
  • PADI manual and PIC card (if you are completing your Open Water qualification) – £69 or $87 approx.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • Spending money for snacks/drinks/laundry – Indonesian rupiah only.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified

Climate

At the marine sites during the day, the weather is normally sunny and warm (around 30 degrees Celsius), and the night temperatures drop to around 20-25 degrees Celsius. Being on the coast means there is often a pleasant breeze so it does not always feel this hot. It rains rarely, but when it does it tends to be very heavy for short periods of time.

Fitness level required

Low-Moderate. Some fitness is required for in water activities, but conditions are relatively easy.

Creature comforts

The Hoga Island Marine Station is an established facility that lies within the Wakatobi Marine Park of eastern Indonesia. The station was rebuilt in 2016 and supports a dive centre, lecture theatre, wet-lab as well as a large dining room and kitchen facility. Simple huts owned by members of the local fishing community surround the station and serve as guest accommodation. The island supports reliable phone signal that allows limited internet access.

Locations

  • Indonesia
  • Hoga Island Marine Station

Want to get involved with this project?

Preparation

Want to get involved with this project?

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com