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APEC-Australia Women in Research
Fellowship 2023
Dr Widiastuti

Home Economy: Indonesia

Host Institution: Australian Institute of Marine Science


Project Title: Finding a suitable settlement and survival substrate for aquacultural applications and coral restoration


Project Outline: Indonesia's coral reef restoration methods are solely applied to the fragmentation of coral colonies. Therefore, coral seedlings may serve as a sustainable method for coral restoration. Developing proper substrates for larval settlement is a crucial parameter for the sexual propagation of corals. Concerning the substrate material, ceramics have the advantage of not causing toxic effects in a marine

environment and long-term durability during coral larval settlement and growth. This research aims to fabricate suitable porous ceramic substrates for coral larval settlement in aquaculture, focusing on material types and composition. Besides the major component, ceramic substrates are added with additive materials such as coconut charcoal, breadcrumb, and aluminum oxide, each with a different composition (5, 15, and 25%). The ceramic substrates are conditioned in the AIMS's National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) to develop a biofilm and recruit CCA for larval settlement induction. The larvae will be collected from Acropora tenuis colonies reared in the SeaSim. The images of the ceramic substrates are observed after larval introduction to assess the larval settlement rate and settlers' survival on different material types and compositions of ceramic substrates. This research will provide a suitable settlement and survival substrate for aquacultural applications and coral restoration through the coral's sexual reproduction method.

Reasons for applying for fellowship: Indonesia has been the world’s largest exporter of live marine ornamental corals since the 1980s, with most specimens being consumed by the USA, Europe, and

Japan. This activity generates economic 200–330 million US$ annually. However, the high demand is not linear with the market supply; hence, it is commonly supplied from aquaculture systems. Moreover, not all stony corals can be cultured due to the limited knowledge of the coral farmers or the physiology of the coral itself, leading to unstainable natural harvesting. Therefore, it is necessary to create sustainable coral aquaculture and restoration methods. The Australian Institute for Marine Science (AIMS) is reputable in developing cutting-edge coral aquaculture and seedling technologies. Hence, having an opportunity to conduct research and training there will significantly enhance my knowledge and skills to share with the stakeholders in Indonesia.


Past Achievements:

  • 2023 - Present: Senior Lecturer at the Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Marine and Fisheries, Universitas Udayana

  • 2023: Travel Grant to present at the 5th Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium, NUS - Singapore

  • 2022: Awardee of DIES ProGRANT Multiplication Training in Indonesia

  • 2022 & 2017: Travel Grant to present at Indonesian- American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium

  • 2021: Awardee of Kurita Overseas Research Grant

  • 2020: Awardee of Science and Technology Research Grant - ITSF (Indonesia Toray Science Foundation)

  • 2019 (December) - 2020 (January-February): Visiting fellow at the National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB), Japan

  • 2019: Awardee of L’oreal - UNESCO for Women in Science National Fellowship

  • 2018: Awardee of Australian Alumni Grant Scheme

  • 2015: Ph.D from the University of the Ryukyus, Japan

  • 2013 (September) - 2014 (March): Visiting student at the Research School of Biology, the Australian National University

  • 2010: M.Sc from IPB University, Indonesia

  • 2005: Bachelor of Marine Science from Universitas Diponegoro, Indonesia

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