Exploration and Speciation in the Volcanoes of the Indonesian Ring of Fire

Led by Dr. Smith, an international team of researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Broward College, and 15 other institutions in 11 countries, will fill in a massive gap in global biodiversity awareness through a large scale inventory of reptiles (snakes, lizards, crocodiles and turtles) and amphibians (frogs and caecilians) from the Javan and Sumatran montane forests of Indonesia. As of today, the biodiversity of these tropical montane highlands is very poorly known. Previous work hints that these areas may be some of the most species rich on earth, and may contain vast numbers of endemic species with restricted ranges.

These species represent the largest number of vertebrate animals yet to be discovered and described by scientists.The survey will likely discover hundreds of new species from this poorly known area of the world and will result in educational and research partnerships between Indonesia and the USA. As a benefit to the scientific community, the project will produce modern specimen repositories and web-based resources for identification and conservation management, and for genetic and biodiversity work.

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