CORAL REEF

The Malaysian seas are known as one of the richest ares for marine biodiversity. More than 70 genera of corals are found here and may more species of fish. One of the group’s main objectives is to study and record the marine biodiversity of the marine areas of Malaysia. Based at the university’s Marine and Coastal Research Station, the Coral Reef Research Group carries out several research themes. These include coral reefs and other marine-related work. Coral reef studies include that of coral recruitment, effects of sea surface temperature rise on reefs in the South China Sea, community based management on marine parks and protected areas, and the study of the effects of coastal development on small islands. The effects of sedimentation and increased nutrients on coral reefs is an on-going issue that is being looked at and has been related to ill managed coastal development. The group is also supervising and managing the marine aquaculture activities at the marine station. The focus of the mariculture is on invertebrate culture, mainly the culture of both larvae and adult broodstock of molluscs and echinoderms. An award winning project of the group is oyster culture for the food industry. Three species of oysters cultured are Crassostrea belcheri, C. iradelei and Saccostrea cuculatta. Research is also ongoing on the culture of several species of sea cucumber most notably from the genus Stichopus. The group also trains and certifies its own SCUBA divers.