Dr. Tim Motley is the Director of Science at Norfolk Botanical Garden and the J. Robert Stiffler Professor of Botany and Associate Professor, Old Dominion University. His position with both institutions is an example of the partnership between the Garden and ODU. The Science Desk will provide periodic updates about Dr. Motley’s projects and programs.
Expedition: Papua New Guinea
For five weeks in early 2009, Dr. Tim Motley was part of a field research team surveying flora in remote areas of Papua New Guinea. The team worked with local naturalists to survey the flora of the little-explored Louisiade Archipelago and compiled a conservation assessment. The team’s leader, Dr. Susan Pell of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden wrote a web based diary of the team’s activities.
The botanical field reconnaissance included both intensive collection of forest plants around Alotau and targeted species enumeration studies. The purpose of the fieldwork is to expand knowledge of the biodiversity of Milne Bay Province. The Louisiade Archipelago is of specific interest because of its large number of native species.
After convening in Alotau, PNG, to provision and confirm final plans, the team departed January 15 on a chartered boat for the three-week exploration of the three main islands of the archipelago: Misima, Rossel, and Sudest. These islands are home to many species found nowhere else in the world. The expedition wrapped up outside Alatou, the capital of Milne Bay Province, which is located on the island of New Guinea.
Data from the project will become an integral part of an online tree flora of New Guinea, and new plant specimens will be housed in the PNG National Herbarium.