Personal Perspectives

Live from the Field: Bali, Indonesia

The sun sets over Sanur in Bali, Indonesia during low tide.
The sun sets over Sanur in Bali, Indonesia during low tide. (Smithsonian Institution)

It’s not everyday that I get to collect and gather data right alongside our Museum’s researchers. So, imagine my recent delight when the opportunity was presented to me to travel half way around the world to Bali, Indonesia to participate in a research and education field project.

While in Bali, I will be participating in the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) project as an “embedded educator”.  From the field, I will be blogging throughout the field excursion to share the research, education, and stories that transpire over a 5-week course. Plus, I get to share the awesome collaborative nature of science- integrating learning, research, and cooperation between Indonesian and American universities and institutions, all to study and support marine biodiversity research in Indonesia and beyond.

The sponsoring organization for the trip, the IBRC, is a consortium of research and education institutions that work on building capacity for biodiversity research and education in Indonesia.  Working to inspire the next generation of Indonesian and US scientists, the IBRC provides innovative solutions to conduct high-tech field and lab research. 

The summer course that I am participating in includes three intensive classes designed to introduce Indonesian and American students to topics in marine molecular ecology, biodiversity, and systematics.  Students participating in the program receive instruction from respected research scientists in these fields of study from UCLA, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. 

I’ll be participating in the first half of the course, focused on scientific diving and marine biodiversity and inventory methods. The courses are designed to give students the tools to understand what biodiversity is, why it is important, and how to measure it. What’s more is students then become the field researchers, collecting and analyzing data that they will use for their own projects in collaboration with participating scientists. 

We begin our first leg of the trip Wednesday morning, packing into a van and heading to the coastal town of Tulamben for the scientific diving class. After an intensive 100-hour course, our team of students will be certified to use scuba diving for scientific purposes, a skill that we will be honing for the rest of the course.   

We are all looking forward to the diving, we keep hearing about the biodiversity of corals, fishes, and other life under the blue waves.  

Follow along with our field expedition, live-from-the-field in Bali, Indonesia

June 2012