Biodiversity researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and US-based California-Davis University are engaged in studies of the flora and fauna in the Mekongga mountains in North Kolaka district, South East Sulawesi.
The biodiversity of the Mekongga mountains is part of the unique feature of the Wallacea region which is also the habitat of various insect species , LIPI researcher Dr. Rosichon Ubaibillah said here Friday.
“A few months ago we already did some research in the mountains and now we are back to do more research ,” he said.
He said the research work was to be done in several phases until 2013 and would also involve some local nature lovers organizations.
“We will also involve local organizations and three students from Haluoleo University (based in Kendari), Rosichon said.
“During the past research activity with Davis University, some new genes and endemic species were in the mountains,” he said.
“We have concluded there are several groups of insects which are associated with microbes that have the potential to produce bio-prospects for certain industries which can produce bio-fuel and medicinal materials such as wood-eating insects (larvae).
These insects are associated with the micro-cellulose decomposer, most likely of new species” Dr Rosichon explained.
He added the research was intended to take stock of the diversity of flora and fauna for the benefit of education and research, conservation as well as for bio-energy and medicines.
The research activities conducted in the Mekongga mountains for one month involved nine LIPI researchers, with three of them coming from California-Davis University. (*)
Antara, November 20, 2010