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Hunting fossils in Indonesia

September 7, 2010
1

Hunting fossils in Borneo!

Posted by Lil S Sep 7, 2010

Hello, over the next couple of months me and other scientists from the Natural History Museum are going to tell you about our field trip to Indonesia. We're going there to look at fossil tropical marine creatures from 20 million years ago and we will try to work out how they lived and how environmental change might have effected them.

 

At the moment we are getting our equipment together, having our injections, applying for visas and buying trousers-for-explorers (the ones that turn into shorts - yikes!). It's all quite exciting and we hope we'll be ready in time to fly out ion the 18th September.

 

We'll fly via Singapore to Jakarta in Java and then spend a week learning about stratigraphy in Bandung, just south of Jakarta. This is a teaching trip for Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers, so I'm looking forward to learning with them. Stratigraphy, for example, is the study of when and how rocks were laid down and what you can say about past environments by studying them.

 

After Java we'll fly to Balikpapan, which is a city in Kalimantan, western Borneo. From there we will travel north to Samarinda and start our field work. As far as I know, this will involve travelling to wherever rocks of the right age are exposed and looking to see what they contain, like corals or molluscs.

 

We will be posting pictures, video and text to this page throughout our trip, so log in to Nature Plus to hear the news of our adventures!

 

Meet the Natural History Museum explorers:

Ken.jpgjeremy.jpgJonTodd.jpg

            Dr Ken Johnson                                      Dr Jeremy Young                     Dr Jon Todd

           Corals researcher                                Microfossils researcher          Molluscs researcher

Nadia.bmp Emanuela.bmpLil.jpg

Miss Nadia Santodomingo      Miss Emanuela Di Martino         Dr Lil Stevens

      Corals researcher                    Bryozoans researcher       Curator and palaeobotanist

 

The Mission:

We will work with people from other European and Indonesian institutions looking at how changes in the environment have affected coral reefs and shallow tropical marine ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrasses. This area has been a marine diversity hotspot for the last 20 million years and we want to look at the corals, molluscs, bryozoans, algae, and microfossils to understand how these organisms have interacted, evolved and adapted over that time. We will also study the dynamic geology of the area and the effects of ocean currents that flow from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Our discoveries will help us to understand why tropical marine ecosystems host a high biodiversity,and will be used to address issues associated with human disturbance and global climate change.

 

If you would like to read more about the project, go to the Indo-Pacific Ancient Ecosystems Group