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Concept: New Guinea


Little is known about the situation of tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea despite its high TB burden, emerging drug resistance and rising HIV co-infection. This review gives an overview on the current situation of TB in PNG and identifies knowledge gaps that should urgently be addressed in the future.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Papuan languages, Torres Strait, German New Guinea, New Guinea Highlands


The unusual clingfish Protogobiesox asymmetricus n. gen, n. sp. is described on the basis of four specimens collected in deep water off the north coast of Papua New Guinea in 2012. The species is characterized by its 9-10 dorsal rays, 8 anal rays, 17-24 pectoral-fin rays, 15 principal caudal-fin rays, 3 gills, third arch with 3 gill rakers, 34-35 total vertebrae, with asymmetrical lateral bending starting behind the skull, bent at an angle of 85°-92°; skull asymmetrical in frontal view; skin naked, surface of head and body without striae; disc without adhesive papillae. A new subfamily Protogobiesocinae is described for this species and Lepadicyathus mendeleevi Prokofiev, 2005, which is redescribed. The new subfamily is compared within the family; keys to the subfamilies of Gobiesocidae and the species within the new subfamily are presented; its phylogenetic relationship to other gobiesocids is inferred based on a multi-locus DNA dataset.

Concepts: Biology, Southeast Asia, Species, Pacific Ocean, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, New Guinea


Two new species of Papuagrion Ris, 1913 are described from Papua Province, Indonesia. These are P. marirobi sp .nov. from Japen Island and P. stellimontanum sp .nov., from the Star Mountains. The new species are, respectively, most closely allied to P. degeneratum Lieftinck and P. digitiferum Lieftinck. They bring the number of Papuagrion species to 28. New locality records of several other species are noted.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, West Papua, Papua, Western New Guinea, Manokwari


Three undescribed stingrays were discovered as part of a broader revision of the family Dasyatidae that formed part of the Chondrichthyan Tree of Life project. This research forms part of a sequence of papers on rays aimed at describing unnamed species for inclusion in a multi-authored guide to rays of the world. The first part of this series focused on a redefinition of genera of the family Dasyatidae. The new Indo-West Pacific taxa are represented by separate genera from three dasyatid subfamilies: Himantura australis sp. nov. (northern Australia and Papua New Guinea), Taeniura lessoni sp. nov. (Melanesia) and Telatrygon biasa sp. nov. (Indo-Malay Archipelago). Himantura australis sp. nov., which belongs to a complex of four closely related reticulate whiprays, differs subtly from its congeners in coloration, morphometrics and distribution. Taeniura lessoni sp. nov. is the second species in a genus containing the widely-distributed T. lymma, which is possibly the most abundant stingray in shallow coral-reef habitats of the Indo-Pacific, with the new species apparently restricted to Melanesia. Taeniura lessoni sp. nov. is distinguishable by the absence of a distinctive pair of vivid blue longitudinal stripes on the dorsolateral edges of the tail which is one of the most distinctive features of T. lymma. Telatrygon biasa sp. nov. belongs to a small, recently designated genus of stingrays represented by four species in the tropical Indo-West Pacific. Telatrygon biasa sp. nov. differs from these species in morphometrics. The new species differs markedly from T. zugei in its NADH2 sequence. Telatrygon crozieri is resurrected as a valid northern Indian Ocean representative of the T. zugei complex.

Concepts: Species, Pacific Ocean, Australia, Genus, Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Stingray, Dasyatidae


An epidemic of Ross River Virus (RRV) occurred in the South Pacific in 1979-1980, but it was not believed to occur endemically outside Australia and Papua New Guinea. We conducted a seroprevalence study to determine whether RRV has circulated in American Samoa after 1980.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Pacific Ocean, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Melanesia, Oceania, New Guinea


For the period 1996-2010, we provide the first indication of the drivers behind mangrove land cover and land use change across the (pan-)tropics using time-series Japanese Earth Resources Satellite (JERS-1) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array-type L-band SAR (PALSAR) data. Multi-temporal radar mosaics were manually interpreted for evidence of loss and gain in forest extent and its associated driver. Mangrove loss as a consequence of human activities was observed across their entire range. Between 1996-2010 12% of the 1168 1°x1° radar mosaic tiles examined contained evidence of mangrove loss, as a consequence of anthropogenic degradation, with this increasing to 38% when combined with evidence of anthropogenic activity prior to 1996. The greatest proportion of loss was observed in Southeast Asia, whereby approximately 50% of the tiles in the region contained evidence of mangrove loss, corresponding to 18.4% of the global mangrove forest tiles. Southeast Asia contained the greatest proportion (33.8%) of global mangrove forest. The primary driver of anthropogenic mangrove loss was found to be the conversion of mangrove to aquaculture/agriculture, although substantial advance of mangroves was also evident in many regions.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, 2006 albums, Radar, New Guinea, Mangrove, Aperture synthesis, Synthetic aperture radar, Mangroves


The appearance of people associated with the Lapita culture in the South Pacific around 3,000 years ago marked the beginning of the last major human dispersal to unpopulated lands. However, the relationship of these pioneers to the long-established Papuan people of the New Guinea region is unclear. Here we present genome-wide ancient DNA data from three individuals from Vanuatu (about 3,100-2,700 years before present) and one from Tonga (about 2,700-2,300 years before present), and analyse them with data from 778 present-day East Asians and Oceanians. Today, indigenous people of the South Pacific harbour a mixture of ancestry from Papuans and a population of East Asian origin that no longer exists in unmixed form, but is a match to the ancient individuals. Most analyses have interpreted the minimum of twenty-five per cent Papuan ancestry in the region today as evidence that the first humans to reach Remote Oceania, including Polynesia, were derived from population mixtures near New Guinea, before their further expansion into Remote Oceania. However, our finding that the ancient individuals had little to no Papuan ancestry implies that later human population movements spread Papuan ancestry through the South Pacific after the first peopling of the islands.

Concepts: Asia, Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Oceania, New Caledonia, Polynesia, New Guinea


Deep-Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) from terrestrial mines is one of several large-scale industrial activities now taking place in the deep sea. The scale and persistence of its impacts on seabed biota are unknown. We sampled around the Lihir and Misima island mines in Papua New Guinea to measure the impacts of ongoing DSTP and assess the state of benthic infaunal communities after its conclusion. At Lihir, where DSTP has operated continuously since 1996, abundance of sediment infauna was substantially reduced across the sampled depth range (800-2020 m), accompanied by changes in higher-taxon community structure, in comparison with unimpacted reference stations. At Misima, where DSTP took place for 15 years, ending in 2004, effects on community composition persisted 3.5 years after its conclusion. Active tailings deposition has severe impacts on deep-sea infaunal communities and these impacts are detectable at a coarse level of taxonomic resolution.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Oceanography, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Ocean, Mining, New Guinea, Milne Bay Province


Maritime adaptation was one of the essential factors that enabled modern humans to disperse all over the world. However, geographic distribution of early maritime technology during the Late Pleistocene remains unclear. At this time, the Indonesian Archipelago and eastern New Guinea stand as the sole, well-recognized area for secure Pleistocene evidence of repeated ocean crossings and advanced fishing technology. The incomplete archeological records also make it difficult to know whether modern humans could sustain their life on a resource-poor, small oceanic island for extended periods with Paleolithic technology. We here report evidence from a limestone cave site on Okinawa Island, Japan, of successive occupation that extends back to 35,000-30,000 y ago. Well-stratified strata at the Sakitari Cave site yielded a rich assemblage of seashell artifacts, including formally shaped tools, beads, and the world’s oldest fishhooks. These are accompanied by seasonally exploited food residue. The persistent occupation on this relatively small, geographically isolated island, as well as the appearance of Paleolithic sites on nearby islands by 30,000 y ago, suggest wider distribution of successful maritime adaptations than previously recognized, spanning the lower to midlatitude areas in the western Pacific coastal region.

Concepts: Human, Indonesia, Japan, Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea, Pleistocene, New Guinea, Prehistory


The range of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is expanding globally, raising the threat of emerging and re-emerging arbovirus transmission risks including dengue and chikungunya. Its detection in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) southern Fly River coastal region in 1988 and 1992 placed it 150 km from mainland Australia. However, it was not until 12 years later that it appeared on the Torres Strait Islands. We hypothesized that the extant PNG population expanded into the Torres Straits as an indirect effect of drought-proofing the southern Fly River coastal villages in response to El Nino-driven climate variability in the region (via the rollout of rainwater tanks and water storage containers).

Concepts: Mosquito, Aedes, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Asian tiger mosquito, New Guinea, Torres Strait, Arafura Sea