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Scientific research team in New Guinea

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(Statement by the Minister for External Territories, the Hon. C.E. Barnes, M.P.)

A scientific research team will spend eight months in Papua and New Guinea conducting three separate research projects, the Minister for External Territories, Mr Barnes said today.

Mr Barnes said that members of a biological expedition from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography had begun arriving in Papua and New Guinea.

Part of the expedition would be based on the research vessel, "Alpha Helix" which would remain in coastal waters around Madang until December.

While some of the experiments would be land-based most would be conducted on board the 300 ton "Alpha Helix", expected to arrive in Madang early in June.

The expedition will be almost wholly self-contained, and will conduct three research programmes, each of about 10 weekst duration.

The first programme, led by Dr George A. Bartholomew of the University of California, Los Angeles, will pursue a series of comparative physiology and behavious studies.

The second programme, under the direction of Dr Charles G. Sibley of Yale University, will carry out studies on the comparative bio-chemistry of vertebrate proteins.

The third programme, under the leadership of Dr John Buck, of the National Institutes of Health, will investigate the complex phenomenon of bioluminescence - the heatless light produced by fire flies, luminous fungi, certain

fish and other organisms.

Although American-financed, almost a third of the scientists in the expedition are from Australia and New Guinea. They come from Universities, the C.S.I.R.O. and museums.

Personnel from Papua and New Guinea include Dr. J. Womersley, Chief, Division of Botany, Department of Forests, Lae; Mr. Graeme George of the Hallstrom Park Bird of Paradise Sanctuary, Baiyer River; Mr. William S. Peckover of Port Moresby; Dr. Morris Rapson, Division of Fisheries, Port Moresby; and Dr. John Walsh, Institute of Higher Technical

Education, Lae.

Mr. Barnes said that in 1966 a similar expedition based on the "Alpha Helix" carried out a successful series of biological experiments on the Barrier Reef. He said he hoped

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that the New Guinea enterprise would also be a success.

Results of the expedition's work will be passed to Australian and Territory scientists.



24 April, 1969.