Subject: Students to study wildlife in Asia's youngest country

High Desert Daily Press (Victorville, CA)

VVC instructor readies for groundbreaking tropical research

Students to study wildlife in Asia's youngest country

February 25, 2009 - 4:52 PM <mailto:nlindstrom@vvdailypress.com>NATASHA LINDSTROM Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE • Biology instructor Dr. Hinrich Kaiser waded through the tropical forests and farmlands of Asia’s youngest country ­and liked it so much he’s taking his class on a “field trip” this summer.

For nine days Kaiser explored the land and got to know the leaders of East Timor, and is now ready to take Victor Valley College students to study the fledgling country’s wildlife.

East Timor, which achieved its independence from Indonesia in 2002, is the easternmost of the Lesser Sundra Islands and about 400 miles northwest of Darwin, Australia. The country encompasses only about 5,400 square miles with a population of about 1 million people.

The country’s geography is especially fascinating from a biologist’s perspective, because it sits at the point where Southeast Asian, Papuan and Australian plants and wildlife overlap, Kaiser said.

VVC students will travel to the island to collect some of those wildlife specimens and document their findings for peer-reviewed journals and professional publications.

“Based on the fact that hardly any research had been done in East Timor, we will bring back publishable data,” Kaiser said, adding that students will primarily focus on amphibians and reptiles and their parasites.

Already the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History has expressed interest in hosting some of Kaiser’s East Timor collections.

Some students will join Kaiser through a Tropical Research Initiative certificate program he recently developed, and others may register for only the summer course, titled International Natural History.

Natasha Lindstrom may be reached at 951-6232 or at nlindstrom@VVDailyPress.com.

http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/victorville_11068___article.html/groundbreaking_vvc.html 


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