Joe Chun-Chia Huang

My major research interests fall in two broad fields of biology: community ecology and biodiversity conservation. Currently, I focus on the diversity and ecological functions of bat assemble in mosaic landscapes of pristine habitats and agriculture lands in Southeast Asia tropics. For my PhD thesis, I am working with Dr. Tigga Kingston (Texas Tech University), Ms. Elly L. R. Jazdzyk (University of Lampung, Mr. Meyner Nusalawo (Wildlife Conservation Society- Indonesia Program), and Dr. Ibnu Maryanto (Indonesian Institute of Sciences) on the impacts of coffee agriculture on ensemble structures, and ecological and economic services of Paleotropical bats in Sumatra, Indonesia.

The biodiversity in tropical zones is threatened by continued deforestation and increasing agricultural activities. Due to the impossibility of protecting all pristine habitats, a new paradigm suggests that diverse agroecosystems can be included as harbors of biodiversity. Implementing this paradigm is not easy. First, the biodiversity value of the agroecosystem needs to be identified and maximized. Second, habitat losses frequently bring farmers into direct conflict with wildlife, and their actions can compromise biodiversity management. It is essential that conflicts be resolved and the values of biodiversity realized.

Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP), which houses 450 terrestrial vertebrate species, is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. However, by 2003, more than 28 % of the protected area had been lost to agriculture following extractive logging. The growing international market for coffee continues to threaten the biodiversity within the park, especially the Indonesia government plans to increase its coffee production 25% by 2025.

Bats are among the most ecologically diverse mammalian order in the world, and considered as providers of some major ecological functions, e.g. pest control and pollination. However, rapid loss of forest in the tropics is likely to have profound consequences for bat diversity at local and regional scales. The great loss of species may also bring to the loss of ecological services associated with bats.

In my thesis project, I ask 1) how bat assemblages (species diversity and functional diversity) changes along coffee agricultural intensification; 2) how coffee agricultural intensification shapes the pest-control services by insectivorous bats; 3) how a new bat-associated non-timber product can favor local farmers economically. My ultimate goal is to mediate the encroachment into BBSNP by increasing farmers’ recognition of the ecological and economic services of biodiversity in their lands and the adjacent park.

CV_Joe Chun Chia Huang_2014

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