Environmental Initiatives



 In 2005 Mark Erdmann was named a senior advisor to Conservation International's Indonesian Marine Program. His specific focus is on improving the conservation and science-based management of the ultra-diverse coastal and marine resources of the Raja Ampat Corridor within the Bird's Head Seascape in Indonesian Papua.

Prior to joining Conservation International, Erdmann was the Marine Protected Areas Advisor for USAID's Natural Resources Management Project in Indonesia, where he has lived for many years. His work with USAID focused on developing the Bunaken National Marine Park co-management initiative in cooperation with villager, marine tourism private sector and government stakeholders and applying lessons learned from this management "laboratory" to reform Indonesia's national MPA policy.

Erdmann's planned postdoctoral research project on Indonesian coral reefs was interrupted by the chance discovery of the coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis, which had, up to that time, been thought extinct. He worked closely with Indonesian authorities to develop a national conservation strategy for the coelacanth. This work culminated in a regional law outlawing the shark nets that occasionally catch coelacanths, a national law declaring the coelacanth a protected species and eventual CITES Appendix I protection.

Erdmann's research interests include stomatopod crustacean ecology and systematics, anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs (especially destructive fishing), connectivity of MPA networks and reef restoration techniques.

For as long as he has lived in Indonesia, Erdmann has been involved in reef surveys throughout Indonesia, discovering and describing 15 new species of mantis shrimp while helping document biodiversity patterns and prioritizing reef systems for conservation interventions. He has also worked collaboratively with several marine geneticists to describe patterns of connectivity between Indonesian reef systems as a basis for the siting of MPA networks in the "Coral Triangle" center of marine biodiversity.



Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
1997 - Coral Reef Ecology and Crustacean Systematics,

B.S., Duke University
1990 - Biology,


North Sulawesi Watersports Association
1998-PRESENT- President and Technical Advisor

North Sulawesi Tourism Promotion Board
2001-2002- Director, International Affairs


2004 - Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation

Equator Prize (one of seven awardees) to Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board and Bunaken Concerned Citizen's Forum
2004 - Equator Initiative, United Nations Development Programme

International Postdoctoral Fellowship
1997 - National Science Foundation

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award
1997 - University of California at Berkeley

Visiting Scientist Fellowship
1996 - Smithsonian Institution

Presidential Fellow
1994 - University of California

Graduate Fellow, UC Berkeley
1991 - National Science Foundation

Most Outstanding Senior in Biology
1990 - Duke University

Phi Beta Kappa
1989 - Duke University

Marine Laboratory Fellow
1989 - Duke University

Summa Cum Laude, 1990
- Duke University


International Society for Reef Studies

Phi Beta Kappa

Sigma Xi


Drew JA, Allen GR and Erdmann MV (2010). Congruence between mitochondrial genes and color morphs in a coral reef fish: population variability in the Indo-Pacific damselfish Chrysiptera rex (Snyder, 1909). Coral Reefs. DOI 10.1007/s00338-010-0586-5

Allen GR and Erdmann MV (2009). Heteroconger mercyae, a new species of garden eel (Congridae: Heterocongrinae) from West Papua, Indonesia. Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology. 15(3): 135-142.

Allen GR and Erdmann MV (2009). Pentapodus numberii, a new whiptail (Pisces, Nemipteridae) from Eastern Indonesia. Zoological Studies. 48(2): 280-286.

Allen GR and Erdmann MV (2009). Reef fishes of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, West Papua, Indonesia. Check List: Journal of species lists and distribution. 5(3): 587-628.

Allen GR and Erdmann MV (2009). Two new species of damselfish (Pomacentridae: Chromis) from Indonesia. Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology. 15(3): 121-134.

Gill AC, Erdmann MV, and Allen GR (2009). Pseudochromis matahari, a new species of dottyback (Perciformes: Pseudochromidae) from Halmahera, Indonesia. Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology. 15(1): 45-48.

P. J. Mous, J. S. Pet, Z. Arifin, R. Djohani, M. V. Erdmann, A. Halim, M. Knight, L. Pet-Soede, G. Wiadnya . 2005. Policy needs to improve marine capture fisheries management and to define a role for marine protected areas in Indonesia. Fisheries Management and Ecology 12:259.

Danke J, Miyake T, Powers T, Schein J, Shin H, Bosdet I, Erdmann M, Caldwell R, and Amemiya C. 2004. Genome resource for the Indonesian coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis. Journal of Experimental Zoology 301:228-234

Erdmann MV and Bishop M. 2004. Summary of results and discussions from ITMEMS 2 Theme 12: Enforcement Sessions. Proceedings of the Second International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium, Manila, The Philippines

Erdmann MV and Boyer M. 2003. Lysiosquilloides mapia, a new species of stomatopod crustacean from northern Sulawesi. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 51(1): 43-47

Erdmann MV and Merrill PR. 2004. Multiple-use zoning in marine protected areas: Bunaken National Park case study. WWF Canada Technical Report on MPA Multiple Use Zoning

Erdmann MV, Merrill PR, and I Arsyad. 2004. Developing a decentralized user fee system for sustainable conservation financing of Bunaken National Marine Park.. Proceedings of the Second International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium, Manila, The Philippines

Ahyong ST and Erdmann MV. 2003. The Stomatopod Crustacea of Guam. Micronesica 35:315-352

Erdmann MV and Boyer M. 2003. Lysiosquilloides mapia, a new species of stomatopod crustacean from northern Sulawesi. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 51(1): 43-47

Barber PH, Palumbi S, Erdmann MV and Moosa MK. 2002. Sharp genetic breaks among populations of Haptosquilla pulchella (Stomatopoda) indicate limits to larval transport: patterns, causes, and consequences. Molecular Ecology 11:659-674

Erdmann MV, Pet-Soede L and A Cabanban. 2002. Destructive Fishing Practices.. Best BA, Pomeroy RS, and Balboa CM : Relevant Findings from the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium: Implications for Coral Reef Management and Policy. USAID/WRI, CI, and ISRS

Moore M and Erdmann MV. 2002. EcoReefs: A new tool for coral reef restoration. Conservation Biology in Practice 3(3): 41-44

Vagelli AA and Erdmann MV. 2002. First comprehensive ecological survey of the Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni. Environmental Biology of Fishes 63(1): 1-8

Barber PH and MV Erdmann. 2000. Molecular systematics of the Gonodactylidae (Stomatopoda) using mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase C (subunit 1) DNA sequence data. Journal of Crustacean Biology 20(2): 20-36

Barber PH, Palumbi SR, Erdmann MV, and MK Moosa. 2000. A marine Wallace's line? Nature 406:392-693

Erdmann MV. 2000. Destructive fishing practices in Indonesian Seas. In: Seas at the Millenium: An Environmental Evaluation (Sheppard C ed.) 2, p. 392-393

Risk MJ and MV Erdmann. 2000. Isotopic composition of nitrogen in stomatopod (Crustacea) tissues as an indicator of human sewage impacts on Indonesian coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 40(1): 50-58

Erdmann MV, Moosa MK. 1999. A new home for Old Fourlegs: the discovery of an Indonesian population of living coelacanths. Jurnal Pesisir dan Lautan (Indonesian Journal of Coastal and Marine Resources 2(1): 12-20

Erdmann MV. 1999. An account of the first living coelacanth known to scientists from Indonesian waters. Environmental Biology of Fishes 54:439-443

Holder MT, Erdmann MV, Wilcox TP, Caldwell RL and DM Hillis. 1999. Two living species of coelacanth? Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 96: 12616-12620

Erdmann MV and RB Manning. 1998. Nine new stomatopod crustaceans from coral reef habitats in Indonesia and Australia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 46(2): 615-626

Erdmann MV, Caldwell RL, and MK Moosa. 1998. Indonesian "king of the sea" discovered. Nature 395:335

Jameson SC, Erdmann MV, Gibson GR, and KW Potts. 1998. Development of biological criteria for coral reef ecosystem assessment. Atoll Research Bulletin 450:102

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