The Raja Ampat expedition in 2007 was organized by the National Museum of Natural History Naturalis in Leiden in cooperation with the Research Centre for Oceanography (RCO-LIPI, Jakarta) as part of Ekspedisi Widya Nusantara (E-Win expedition) of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). The research team consisted of scientists from Indonesia, the Netherlands, Palau and the United States. The Raja Ampat islands are located northwest of Bird’s Head' peninsula in Papua, Indonesia. This area has recently gained much media attention due to its high marine biodiversity and the recent discovery of several new species of corals and fish. The expedition was based at Kri Eco Resort of Papua Diving, on Kri Island. The expedition aimed to study cryptic biota, which consist of species that lead hidden lives. They may be difficult to find because of their small size, their successful camouflage or mimicry, or because they live in habitats that are nearly inaccessible or easily overlooked. Some species resemble phylogenetically related species, called sibling species, which can be detected with the help of molecular (DNA) analyses. Use of camouflage is seen in many animals that live in close association with a host. In the case of such interspecific associations, the expedition members also studied the host organisms. Marine lakes, deep land inward bays, narrow channels, and deep sandy bottoms underneath reef slopes are examples of habitats that were studied despite their limited accessibility. All together, many different marine environments were studied.

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National Museum of Natural History Naturalis, Leiden
Staff publications

Hoeksema, B., & van der Meij, S. (2008, January). Cryptic marine biota of the Raja Ampat island group : Preliminary results of the Raja Ampat Expedition (2007), Ekspedisi Widya Nusantara (E-Win) of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). National Museum of Natural History Naturalis, Leiden.