Underwater research opportunity in Papua New Guinea, 1997

Shane spater at cellmate.cb.uga.edu
Thu Nov 7 21:17:25 EST 1996

Social behavior of sympatric barracuda species  
- EARTHWATCH VOLUNTEER field research in papua New Guinea, 1997 

First, I apologize for any repetitious cross-postings for those of you  
who happen to subscribe to the same mailing lists as I. 

I'd like to put the word out about an upcoming Earthwatch project I will  
be leading, a program of underwater research to be conducted during June,  
July, and August of 1997.  The setting for this research will be the  
prolific reefs of Papua New Guinea's Madang Province, which lies smack at  
the center of marine biodiversity.  We will gather data through intensive  
underwater observation of barracuda behavior, utilizing SCUBA diving and  
snorkeling, and stay at the Christensen Research Institute, a research  
center which shares a peninsula and 22 acres of former coconut plantation  
with Jais Aben Resort.     

     Twenty species of barracuda prowl the world's seas, including  
species classified as predominantly solitary in nature and those of a  
typically more gregarious bent, which often form huge schools.  We know  
next to nothing about the behavior, and even the basic biology, of most  
barracuda species.  My previous research has focused upon the great  
barracuda (*Sphyraena barracuda*), largest and most cosmopolitan of these  
predators.  Next year's study in Madang, which essentially examines and  
contrasts the social behavior of several barracuda species occurring in  
the same geographic area (sympatric species), will contribute to an  
understanding of group formation and persistence in marine predators.   
Results from this study may have broader application and significance in  
approaching questions dealing with the evolution of sociality.   

For further information, please contact EARTHWATCH directly by telephone  
or through their WWW site (which also includes information on membership,  
more information about this particular project, and other volunteer  
opportunities for field research). 

Earthwatch telephone:	(800) 776-0188 

Earthwatch website:		http://www.earthwatch.org 

Thanks for your interest. 

Shane Paterson 
PhD student, University of Georgia 


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