John Auga
John Auga

New Guinea Binatang Research Center

  • Field assistant 1994-1996
  • Paraecologist 1996-present
  • Paraecologist Team Leader 2005-present
  • Deputy Director 2007-present


Research Expertise and Experience

Biodiversity surveys using insects as indicator taxa, insect and plant collecting, mounting and labelling, insect morphotyping, curation of insect collections, insect rearing, field ecological experiments, databasing and data management, digital and classic macrophotography, image processing.

Special skills: Cerambycidae of New Guinea


  • English
  • Melanesian Pidgin (Tok Pisin)
  • Ari Traditional Language (Tok Ples)
  • Takia Traditional Language (Tok Ples)
  • Study of species diversity and host specificity of leaf-chewing insects in rainforests (1994-present)
  • Beta diversity of herbivorous insects in New Guinea (2001-2005)
  • Biodiversity surveys of Lepidoptera (2001-present)
  • Insect surveys by Malaise traps (2001)
  • Biodiversity of ants (2001-2003)
  • Lepidoptera survey in Bintuni Bay, New Guinea – Indonesia (coordinated by The Indo-Pacific
  • Conservation Alliance and PT Hatfindo) 2002
  • Lepidoptera surveys in Sandaun, East Sepik and Madang Provinces, 2001-2005
  • Insect survey in Ramu river floodplains, 10 months in the field, 2005-2007
  • Environmental presentations in schools.

  • Science and Technology in Developing Countries: Emerging Trends in the New Millenium, University of Goroka, Goroka, Papua New Guinea, Sept 12-14, 2001.
  • The 4thNew Guinea Biological Conference, Cenderwasih University, Jaypura, Indonesia, August 2002: Isua, B & Auga, J. (2002) Host specificity and species richness of long horn beetles (Cerambycidae) reared from rainforest trees in Papua New Guinea. Poster at 4th New Guinea Biological Conference, Cenderwasih University, Jaypura, Indonesia, August 2002.
  • Association of Tropical Biology Conference, Aberdeen, UK, 2003
  • 5th New Guinea Biological Conference, Goroka, Papua New Guinea, 2003
  • USA (University of Minnesota), Panama (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute), UK (National Museum of Wales, Kew Gardens, University of Sussex), Czech Republic (Czech Academy of Sciences), Indonesia (Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance)


Auga, J., Boen, W. K., Dal, C. D., Manumbor, M. I. & Molem, K. S. (1998) The importance of leaf chewing insects in the lowland rainforest of Papua New Guinea. The New Guinea Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity Digest 5, 5-6.

Leps, J., Novotny, V., Cizek, L., Molem, K., Isua, B., Boen, W., Kutil, R., Auga, J., Kasbal, M., Manumbor, M. & Hiuk, S. (2002) Successful invasion of the neotropical species Piper aduncum in rain forests in Papua New Guinea. Applied Vegetation Science 5, 255-267 [ pdf file 155 kB ]

Novotny, V., Basset, Y., Auga, J., Boen, W., Dal, C., Drozd, P., Kasbal, M., Isua, B., Kutil, R., Manumbor, M. and Molem, K. (1999) Predation risk for herbivorous insects on tropical vegetation: a search for enemy-free space and time. Australian Journal of Ecology 24, 477-483.

Novotny, V., Miller, S. E., Hulcr, J., Drew, R. A. I., Basset, Y., Janda, M., Setliff, G. P., Darrow, K., Stewart, A. J. A., Auga, J., Isua, B., Molem, K., Manumbor, M., Tamtiai, E., Mogia, M. & Weiblen, G. D. (2007) Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests. Nature448:692-695. [ pdf file 449 kB ]

Molem, K., Mogia, M., Kutil, R. & Auga, J. (2001) Scientific and traditional taxonomies of rainforest plants. In Proc. of the ‘Science and Technology in Developing Countries: Emerging Trends in the New Millenium‘ Conference, University of Goroka, Goroka, Sept 12-14, 2001, p. 19.


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