Project Leader

Muhammad Wiralaga Dwi Gustianto

Muhammad Wiralaga Dwi Gustianto

Who I am

I was born and raised in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. My interest in the ocean began when I was a child and I watched ocean and wildlife animal documentaries on television every day. Because of these I grew to love the ocean and decided to study marine science. In my early years at university, my interest was marine conservation, with a particular focus on elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). While learning about elasmobranchs in class, outside the classroom I worked with GAIA Conservation, a local community that focuses on the conservation of marine megafauna. I also took part in various training, field research and conservation initiatives to increase my knowledge and skills in relation to elasmobranchs. In 2021 I completed my thesis and began working with Elasmobranch Project Indonesia. I hope and believe that one day I will be a professional elasmobranch conservationist and researcher in Indonesia.

Where I work

I am a research coordinator for Elasmobranch Project Indonesia (EPI), a local NGO that aims to map the biodiversity and distribution of elasmobranch species through citizen science, research and campaigning. Much of the work is on the giant guitarfish Glaucostegus typus in Karimunjawa, Central Java, but for this project we will work in Raja Ampat, West Papua, on the Raja Ampat epaulette shark Hemiscyllium freycineti. The biodiversity of Raja Ampat is one of the richest in the world and the Raja Ampat epaulette shark is endemic to this area.

What I do

As a citizen science project, Elasmobranch Project Indonesia (EPI) receives elasmobranch data photos and I assist the team to verify and analyse the data. I also lead and support the development of research or a project with EPI’s team and am responsible for implementing the research or project in the field.

For this particular project, the team will try to collect population and distribution information about the Raja Ampat epaulette shark through capture-mark-recapture and photo identification. Our team will create the Raja Ampat epaulette shark database and the citizen science platform and guidelines for the public. Elasmobranch Project Indonesia will provide ecological information and promote citizen science as a long-term conservation effort.

My project

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