29th August 2002




A university learning adviser from Hull did some learning of his own on a two-week scientific expedition in Indonesia.


Rob Carter (33) spends his working day helping Computing students at the Cottingham Road campus of the University of Lincoln.


But this summer he mastered scuba diving and studied coral reef ecology as a volunteer on Operation Wallacea in the Wakatobi marine national park.


I wanted to travel this summer but I also wanted to do something useful, to help the environment and give myself a greater awareness of whats going on in other parts of the world, said Rob, who lives on Victoria Avenue.


I was browsing on the Internet and Operation Wallacea looked ideal. I spent two weeks learning to scuba dive and studying marine ecology and corals, and now Ive learned enough to be able to work with a scientist if I decide to go back next year.


Operation Wallacea has been running wildlife research and community development projects, both land and sea-based, in south-east Sulawesi for the last six years.


In the 1850s the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace discovered that many unique species had evolved on the islands of the Wallacea region. There are over 100 bird species in the area which are found nowhere else in the world and 90 per cent of the mammals on Sulawesi (excluding bats) are unique to the island.


The role of Operation Wallacea is to survey as much of this remote area as possible before logging, overfishing and pollution threaten the diversity of the region.


The trip gave me an appreciation of how people interact with their environment and cause problems, said Rob. We looked at how the locals interact with the reef and how they sometimes fish using destructive techniques like cyanide and dynamite.


Id definitely recommend it as Wakatobi is the sort of place that would be hard to visit as a tourist I left London on a flight to Singapore on the Wednesday and didnt arrive on Hoga island until Sunday morning!


To find out more about Operation Wallacea visit the website at www.opwall.com


For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincoln (tel: 01522 886042) email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk