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Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity: A Current Status


Abstract and Figures

Sarawak lies within the Indo-Malay-Philippine archipelago, which is part of the Indo-West Pacific region. The Sarawak coastline is about 1035 kilometers long, with its coastal marine habitats con-sisting of sandy beaches, mudflats and rocky shores. Sarawak is one of the megadiversity regions in the world. The main objectives of this review are to report on the recorded species diversity of flora and fauna in the Sarawak coastal waters and to identify the threats to management of the coastal bio-diversity. Mangrove forest is dominant along the coastal region of Sarawak. The mangrove forests occupy approximately 60% of the total coastline. Sarawak reefs can be divided into those of northeast and southwest Sarawak regions. The northeast region reefs support rich assemblages of marine life while the southwest region reefs are sparse and undeveloped, lying in heavily silted waters. The most comprehensive species diversity studies are available for phytoplankton, seaweeds, seagrasses, nema-todes, marine fish, reptiles and marine mammal communities. Detailed study on other organisms along Sarawak coastal waters is still lacking, especially for meio-and macroinvertebrates. Major threats to Sarawak coastal biodiversity are the clearing of the coastal mangrove forest for developmental pur-poses, the overexploitation of marine resources, anthropogenic pollution, habitat destruction and hab-itat loss. The effort to manage Sarawak's biodiversity is reflected in the formation of several acts and policies by the Malaysian government. The formation of universities and research centers to educate people on the importance of biodiversity conservation is the proper strategy for tackling the issues of sustainable management of marine coastal resources in Sarawak.
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Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity: A Current Status
Shabdin Mohd. Long*
Aquatic Science Department
Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, MALAYSIA
Sarawak lies within the Indo-Malay-Philippine archipelago, which is part of the Indo-West Pacic
region. The Sarawak coastline is about 1035 kilometers long, with its coastal marine habitats con-
sisting of sandy beaches, mudats and rocky shores. Sarawak is one of the megadiversity regions in
the world. The main objectives of this review are to report on the recorded species diversity of ora
and fauna in the Sarawak coastal waters and to identify the threats to management of the coastal bio-
diversity. Mangrove forest is dominant along the coastal region of Sarawak. The mangrove forests
occupy approximately 60% of the total coastline. Sarawak reefs can be divided into those of northeast
and southwest Sarawak regions. The northeast region reefs support rich assemblages of marine life
while the southwest region reefs are sparse and undeveloped, lying in heavily silted waters. The most
comprehensive species diversity studies are available for phytoplankton, seaweeds, seagrasses, nema-
todes, marine sh, reptiles and marine mammal communities. Detailed study on other organisms along
Sarawak coastal waters is still lacking, especially for meio-and macroinvertebrates. Major threats to
Sarawak coastal biodiversity are the clearing of the coastal mangrove forest for developmental pur-
poses, the overexploitation of marine resources, anthropogenic pollution, habitat destruction and hab-
itat loss. The effort to manage Sarawak’s biodiversity is reected in the formation of several acts and
policies by the Malaysian government. The formation of universities and research centers to educate
people on the importance of biodiversity conservation is the proper strategy for tackling the issues of
sustainable management of marine coastal resources in Sarawak.
Key words: Sarawak, ora, fauna, threats, management.
*Corresponding author: Tel: +6082 583022 / Fax: +6082 583160 / e-mail
Kuroshio Science 8-1, 71-84, 2014
1. Introduction
Malaysia, in particular Sarawak, is one of the mega-
diversity regions of the world. Carpenter and Niem (1998)
noted that marine tropical shore fauna diversity centered
in South-East Asia is ‘greater than any on earth’. Fifty-
three percent of the world’s coral reefs are found in this
region. Sarawak lies within the Indo-Malay-Philippine
archipelago, which is part of the Indo-West Pacific
region. Sarawak is located at latitude 0° 50´ and 5° N and
longitude 109° 36´ and 115° 40´ E (Fig. 1). The Sarawak
coastline is about 1035 km long. It contains an extensive
continental shelf area, areas of high biological produc-
tivity, a high marine coastal biodiversity and a dense
human population along the coast.
2. General Overview of Sarawak Coastal Marine
Sandy beaches, mudast and rocky shores
Sandy beaches and mudats occur along the coastal
area of Sarawak. Sandy beaches are usually exposed
directly to wave action whereas mudflats are located
close to river mouths, are sheltered and receive less
wave action. The organisms inhabiting both habitats
are exposed to high temperature and desiccation. Both
habitats contain fauna that can adapt to the wave action
and instability of the area. Most of the fauna such as bur-
rowing polychaetes, oligochaetes, sipunculans, bivalves
and echinoderms are living at the middle and lower zones
of the beach. Some middle and lower zone areas harbor a
seagrass bed, for example, Sampadi Island and Engriting
beach, Lawas. The seagrass bed is believed to serve as a
habitat and nursery for a variety of invertebrates and sh,
and also provides food for turtles and dugongs. Sandy
beaches at islands such as Satang Besar and Talang-
Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity
talang Islands are recorded as areas for marine turtle
Rocky shores can be seen along the Sarawak coastal
waters. Boulder formations and smaller rocky outcrops
are common along the Sarawak coast. The horizontal
distribution (zonation) of organisms on rocky shores
is based on three major tide levels: high-tide, mid-tide
and low-tide. Each tide level is characterized by certain
organisms such as gastropods (high-tide level), barnacles
(mid-tide levels) and algae (low-tide level). Most of the
organisms are found at the low tide level where the envi-
ronment is less extreme. Rock pools on Sarawak’s rocky
shore support minimal ora and fauna due to a high uc-
tuation of water parameters such as salinity, temperature
and dissolved oxygen.
Mangrove forests
Mangrove is dominant in the environment along
the Sarawak coastline. The mangrove forests of Sarawak
occupy about 60% of the 1035 km long coastline (Chai
1982; Pang 1989; Rahim 2000) and cover about 1.4%
of the total land area (Chai 1982). The total mangrove
forest areas in Sarawak are estimated at 127,736 hectares
(Say 1999). The mangrove ecosystem is located in the
sheltered areas along the Sarawak coast within the major
bays of Rajang River Delta, Limbang, Kuching and Sri
Aman divisions (Chai 1982, Say 1999). Forty species
of mangrove area plants including trees, shrubs, palms,
ferns and epiphytes are reported in Sarawak (Chai 1972,
1975a, 1975b, 1982; Othman 1981, 1999; Murofushi et
al. 1999; Rahim 2000); Ashton and Macintosh 2002).
The mangrove forest in Sarawak has suffered from
human expansion and human activities such as reclama-
tion for housing and industrial estates, conversion for
agriculture land and aquaculture ponds and pollution
through industrialization and urbanization.
Coral reefs
Sarawak’s reefs can be divided into those in
northeast and southwest Sarawak regions (Pilcher and
Cabanban 2000). Coral reefs in Southwest Sarawak
are located around three small islands (Satang, Talang-
Talang Besar, Talang-Talang kecil) and Tanjung Datu. In
Fig. 1: Map shows the location of Sarawak, Malaysia (Source: Google)
Shabdin ML
the northeast, the reefs are located at Luconia shoals off
Bintulu and off the coast of Miri (Pilcher and Cabanban
2000). The northeast region’s reefs support a rich assem-
blage of marine life that includes fish, mollusks and
crustaceans (Pilcher and Cabanban 2000; Ferner 2013).
The southwest region’s reefs are sparse and undevel-
oped, lying in the heavily silted waters that ow from big
rivers such as the Batang Lupar, Batang Sadong, Batang
Kayan, and Sarawak rivers and several other smaller
rivers such as the Sematan, Samunsam, and Sibu Laut.
The major causes of concern in regard to destruction
of Sarawak’s reefs are sedimentation and sand mining
activities. Increased sediment loads from runoff in
upstream areas of many rivers in Sarawak have increased
sediment output by several orders of magnitude over
the last three decades (Pilcher and Cabanban 2000). The
anthropogenic pollution and sediments from the rivers
could be threatening the nearshore reefs.
3. Previous studies
Studies on Sarawak coastal biodiversity were initi-
ated by British scientists during Rajah James Brook’s
time when Alfred Russel Wallace collected thousands
of biological specimens ranging from invertebrates to
Orangutans. Wallace visited Sarawak from November
1854 to January 1856 and did his sampling along the
Sarawak River valley from the foothills of Mount
Santubong to the peat swamps of Simunjan (Tuen and Das
2005). This collecting was then followed by other studies
on various organisms. Table 1 shows the number of spe-
cies recorded in Sarawak coastal waters together with
their sources. The phytoplankton and nematode groups
in Sarawak appear to have a high number of recorded
species when compared with Peninsular Malaysia but are
still far below the number of known species in the world
(phytoplankton: 5400; nematode: 5000) (Mazlan et al.
2005). There are still many groups of organisms that
need to be studied, in particular the small invertebrates
such as meio- and macroinvertebrates. The meio- and
macroinvertebrates contain huge number of animals and
further research should be done to inventory the species
in Sarawak’s coastal waters. However, the lack of tax-
onomists working on various invertebrates’ taxa is the
major drawback to achieving these objectives.
Up until the present day, the majority of comprehen-
sive species diversity studies in Sarawak were for phy-
toplankton (Boonyapiwat 1998), seaweeds (Phang 2007;
Anon 2013), seagrasses (Japar Sidek and Muta Harah
2011), nematodes (Shabdin et al. 2013), marine fishes
(Vidthayanon 1998), reptiles (De Rooij 1915; Musters
1983; Leh 1985; Stuebing 1991; Das and Charles 1993;
Denzer 1996; Tisen and Bali 2002; Das 2004, 2006;
Jensen and Das 2006; Das et al. 2013) and marine mam-
mals (Beasley and Jefferson 1997). Detailed study on
other organisms along the Sarawak coastal waters are
still lacking especially in regard to the meio- and macro-
Organism species number Sources
Phytoplankton 291 (100) *Boonyapiwat (1998)
Seaweeds 104 (209) *Phang (2007); Anon (2013)
Seagrasses 8 (14) *Japar Sidek and Muta Harah (2011)
Mangroves 40 (104) * Chai, (1972, 1975a,1975b, 1982); Othman (1989,1991); Murofushi et
al. (1999); Rahim (2000); Ashton and Macintosh (2002).
Hard coral 203 (480) *** Ferner (2013).
Mollusc: Gastropods 78 (300) *Ashton et al. (2003), Shabdin and Rosniza (2010); Hamli et al. (2013)
Mollusc: Bivalves 31 (100) *Ashton et al. (2003), Shabdin and Rosniza (2010); Hamli et al. (2012)
Crustacea – Decapods 54 (1100) *Bejie (1985); Ashton et al. (2003), Ashton and Macintoch (2002);
Ikhwanuddin et al. (2011).
Crustacea - Copepods 18 (100) *Agatha (2005).
Nematodes 111 (20) *Shabdin et al. (2013).
Marine sh 518 (1500) * Vidthayanon (1998)
Sea horses 4 (50) ** Kuang and Chark (2004)
Reptiles 19 (40) *De Rooij (1915), Musters (1983), Leh (1985), Stuebing (1991), Das
and Charles (1993), Denzer (1996), Tisen and Bali (2002), Das (2004,
2006), Jensen and Das (2006), Tisen and Ahmad (2010), Das et al.
Migratory birds 29(41) #Mizutani et al., (2006); Edward and Parish (1986).
Marine mammals 15 (29) *Beasley and Jefferson (1997), Minton et al. (2011)
Table 1. Sarawak coastal biodiversity checklist. Species recorded in Sarawak and estimated species in Malaysia (in paren-
* Mazlan et al. (2005). ** Lim et al. (2011). *** Affendi and Faedzul (2011). # Bamford et al. 2008.
Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity
Boonyapiwat (1998) reported 291 phytoplankton
species in her study from the South China Sea area II
which includes the state of Sarawak. Out of 310 species,
2 species of blue green algae, 139 species of diatoms and
150 species of dinopagellates were recorded (Table 2).
The frequently predominant species found on the surface
layer of the South China Sea were Ocillatoria erythraea,
Thalassionema frauenfeldii and Pseudosolenia calcar-
Sarawak has a variety of ecosystems such as rocky
shores, sandy bays, mudats, mangroves and coral reefs.
All these provide habitats for the variety of seaweed
species found in Sarawak coastal waters. Phang (2007)
reported twenty-six species of seaweed that only exist
in Sarawak coastal waters. A comprehensive study was
carried out by the Fisheries Research Institute, Sarawak
Branch, from 1996 to 1998 along Sarawak coastal waters
(Anon 2013). This study recorded 36, 27, and 41 spe-
cies of seaweeds from Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta and
Rhodophyta Division respectively (Table 3). One hun-
dred and four species of seaweed were identified and
kept in herbariums of the Fisheries Research Institute,
Sarawak Branch, Bintawa, Kuching (Anon 2013).
Division Family Species
CHLOROPHYTA Acetabulariaceae Acetabularia major
Acetabularia sp.
Dasycladaceae Bornetella sp.
Neomeris annulaia
Anadyomenaceae Anadyomene plicata
Anadyomene stellata
Cladophoraceae Chaetomorpha
Chaetomorpha linum
Cladophora fascicu-
Cladophora patenti-
Phylum Common name Species number
Cyanophyceae Blue Green Algae 2
Bacillariophyceae Diatom 139
Dinophyceae Dinoagellate 150
Table 2. Summary of the coastal phytoplankton reported
by Boonyapiwat (1998).
Table 3. Seaweed species in Sarawak coastal waters (Anon,
Ulvaceae Enteromorpha intesti-
Enteromorpha tubu-
Valoniaceae Valonia utricularis
Boodleaceae Cladophoropsis mem-
Bryopsidaceae Bryopsis hypnoides
Bryopsis pennata
Caulerpaceae Caulerpa lentillifera
C. microphysa
C. peltata
C. serrulata
C. sertularioides
C. taxifolia
C. verticillata
Udoteaceae Avrainvillea erecta
Avrainvillea sp.
Halimeda discoidea
Halimeda opuntia var
Halimeda tuna
Halimeda macroloba
Halimeda simulan
Halimeda sp.
Halimeda sp. 1
Halimeda sp. 2
Udotea abellum
Udotea javensis
Udotea sp.
PHAEOPHYTA Dictyotaceae Dictyopteris deli-
Dictyota dichotoma
Dictyota friabilis
Dictyota mertensii
Dictyota sp.
Lobophora variegata
Padina australis
Padina boryana
Padina minor
Padina sp.
Padina sp. 1
Padina sp. 2
Padina sp. 3
Padina sp. 4
Padina tenuis
Padina tetrastro-
Zonaria sp.
Sargassaceae Sargassum crassi-
folium Sargassum
Sargassum poly-
Sargassum sili-
Sargassum spathulae-
Sargassum sp.
Spatoglossum sp.
Spatoglossum sp. 1
Scytosiphonaceae Rosenvingea orien-
talis Colpomenia
Shabdin ML
Japar Sidek and Muta Harah (2011) listed 8 species
of seagrasses found in Sarawak coastal waters (Table
4). The number of species found in Sarawak represent
57 percent of the total species recorded from Sabah and
Peninsular Malaysia. The seagrass species in Sarawak
were collected from the Bintulu River, the Simalajau
estuary, Talang-Talang Island and Punang-Sari, Lawas.
Seven species were recorded in Punang-Sari, Lawas, and
and it is the place that harbors the highest species number
of seagrassess in Sarawak (Japar Sidek and Muta Harah
2011). Recent study has recorded one species, Halodule
pinifolia, in the intertidal to 5 meter depth which forms
seagrass meadows and covers almost 50 ha on the west
part at Sampadi Island (Jaaman et al. 2011).
Coral reefs
Ferner (2013) reported 203 coral species and 66
genera of hard corals recorded from the Miri area
(Northeast, Sarawak). Ferner (2013) noted that the high
number of coral species indicates that the Miri reefs,
Sarawak, are on the edge of the ‘Coral Triangle’s area of
highest diversity of coral and this is consistent with its
geographic position near the Philippines and Indonesia,
which are known to be in the ‘Coral Triangle’. The
genera Acropora, Montipora, Fungia, Leptoseris and
Pavona were recorded as having the highest number of
species in Miri reef (Table 5)(Ferner 2013). Coral in the
Miri reefs appeared healthy, although sedimentation of
some of the reefs closest to shore appears to periodically
heavy (Ferner 2013). Coral reefs closest to river mouths
are likely to be near the limits of their tolerance for water
turbidity and die-off due to the high sedimentation rate
in the reef area (Ferner 2013). The southwest reefs are
sparse and undeveloped, lying in the heavily silted waters
that ow from big and small rivers that are located along
the southwest coast of Sarawak (Pilcher and Cabanban
Family Species
Hydrocharitaceae Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle
Thalassia hemprichii (Ehrenb.) Aschers.
Halophila beccarii Aschers.
Halophila decipiens Ostenfeld
Halophila ovalis (R.Br.) Hook.f.
Cymodoceaceae Cymodocea rotundata Ehrenb. & Hempr.
Ex Aschers.
Halodule pinifolia (Miki) den Hartog
Halodule uninervis (Forssk.) Aschers.
Table 4. Summary of coastal seagrass species reported by
Japar Sidek and Muta Harah (2011).
RHODOPHYTA Chaetangiaceae Galaxaura oblongata
Scinaia boergesenni
Scinaia sp.
Delesseriaceae Martensia sp.
Gelidiaceae Gelidiella acerosa
Rhodomelaceae Bostrychia binderi
Corallinaceae Amphiroa anceps
Amphiroa foliacea
Amphiroa fragilis-
Jania capillacea
Jania decussato-
Jania sp.
Corallina sp.
Halymeniaceae Halymenia dilatata
Halymenia maculata
Halymenia sp.
Caulacanthaceae Catenella nipae
Gracilariaceae Gracilaria changii
G. coronopifolia
G. blodgettii
G. edulis
G. salicornia
G. arcuata
Gracilaria sp.
Gracilaria sp. 1
Gracilaria sp. 2
Hypneaceae Halymenia dilatata
Halymenia maculata
Halymenia sp.
Caulacanthaceae Catenella nipae
Gracilariaceae Gracilaria changii
G. coronopifolia
G. blodgettii
G. edulis
G. salicornia
G. arcuata
Gracilaria sp.
Gracilaria sp. 1
Gracilaria sp. 2
Hypneaceae Hypnea esperi
Hypnea spinella
Hypnea sp.
Hypnea sp. 1
Squamariaceae /
Peyssonelia rubra
Rhodymeniaceae Chrysymenia sp.
Solieriaceae Solieria sp.
Ceramiaceae Spyridia lamentosa
Rhodomelaceae Acanthophora spic-
Laurencia lageni-
Laurencia majuscula
Laurencia obtusa
Laurencia papillosa
Laurencia perforata
Laurencia cartilag-
Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity
Free-living Nematode
One hundred and eleven species of free-living nem-
atodes representing forty seven (47) genera and twenty
(20) families are reported from estuarine and marine hab-
itats along the Sarawak coastal waters (Table 6)(Shabdin
et al. 2013). Though the number of species recorded in
Sarawak waters is higher than reported in Malaysia as a
whole, it is far below the total number of species in the
world (5000 species). Very few studies have been con-
ducted in Sarawak on marine and estuarine free-living
nematode species. Considering Sarawak is located in a
centre of biodiversity, more efforts should be made in
recording the nematode species in Sarawak waters.
Genus Species Number
Acropora 21
Montipora 14
Fungia 9
Leptoseris 8
Porites 7
Pavona 7
Acanthastrea 6
Euphyllia 6
Favia 6
Lobophyllia 6
Psammocora 6
Order Family Species
Enoplida Anoplostomatidae Anoplostoma
Chaetonema canel-
Chaetonema cf. longi-
Enchelididae Belbolla assuplemen-
Belbolla teissieri
Calyptronema maxwe-
Calyptronema cf. pul-
Polygastrophora hept-
Ironidae Thalassironus jungi
Trissonchulus cf.
Oncholaimidae Oncholaimus oxyuris
Viscosia cf. antarctica
Viscosia coomansi
Table 5. Summary of corals genera with the greatest
number of species from Miri, Sarawak (Ferner, 2013).
Table 6. Summary of free-living nematodes from Sarawak
coastal waters as reported by Shabdin et al. (2013).
Viscosia erasmi
Viscosia separabilis
Viscosia stenolaima
Viscosia cf. tumidula
Oxystominidae Oxystomina alpha
Oxystomina elongata
Oxystomina pulchella
Thoracostomopsidae Enoplolaimus cf. den-
Oxyonchus australis
Trileptium otti
Trileptium cf. pari-
Tripyloididae Bathylaimus capacosus
Chromadorida Chromadoridae Euchromadora arctica
Neochromadora bilin-
Neochromadora cf.
Parapinnanema har-
Spilophorella papillata
Spilophorella para-
Steineridora adriatica
Comesomatidae Hopperia australis
Paracomesoma dubium
Pierrickia aequalis
Sabatieria cf. alata
Sabatieria celtica
Sabatieria cf. granifer
Sabatieria pulchra
Sabatieria cf. splen-
Setosabatieria hilarula
Cyatholaimidae Paracanthonchus spec
Paracanthonchus cf.
Pomponema ammo-
Pomponema astrodes
Pomponema com-
Pomponema coomansi
Pomponema cya-
Pomponema elegans
Pomponema polydonta
Pomponema syltense
Selachinematidae Gammanema cf. poly-
Halichoanolaimus cf.
Halichoanolaimus cf.
Synonchiella riemanni
Desmodoridae Metachromadora
Metachromadora cla-
Shabdin ML
Metachromadora cf.
Metachromadora vul-
Onyx perfectus
Onyx rugata
Perspiria cf. papillata
Spirinia gerlachi
Spirinia megamphida
Spirinia cf. parasitifera
Spirinia septentrionalis
Monoposthiidae Nudora nuda
Nudora omercooperi
Nudora steineri
Aegialoalaimidae Southernia zosterae
Ceramonematidae Dasynemoides cf. rie-
Desmoscolecidae Desmoscolex longise-
Quadricoma cf. suecica
Monhysterida Xyalidae Cobbia dentata
Cobbia truncata
Daptonema articu-
Daptonema buelkiensis
Daptonema cf. den-
Daptonema exutum
Daptonema mbriatus
Daptonema hirsutum
Daptonema laxum
Daptonema nor-
Daptonema polaris
Daptonema tenuispic-
Daptonema cf. trabecu-
Daptonema vicinum
Rhynchonema cf. brevi-
Rhynchonema impar
Rhynchonema cf.
Sphaerolaimidae Sphaerolaimus balticus
Sphaerolaimus cf.
Sphaerolaimus lodosus
Sphaerolaimus macro-
Sphaerolaimus cf. meg-
Sphaerolaimus cf.
Axonolaimidae Parodontophora brev-
Parodontophora brevi-
Parodontophora danka
Parodontophora paci-
Parodontophora polita
Parodontophora quad-
Parodontophora xenot-
Pseudolella cf. banga-
Pseudolella cf. granu-
Linhomoeidae Terschellingia longi-
Coastal Marine shes
A comprehensive survey on marine fishes of the
coastal area of Sarawak was reported by Vidthayanon
(1998). A total of 518 species from 24 orders and 111
families were recorded through research cruise and
market surveys from various coastal towns in Sarawak
(Table 7). Order Perciformes is dominant as compared
to the other orders. The study also reported 103 and 106
economic species noted in both trawling and market sur-
veys, respectively.
Order Family number Species number
Orectolobiformes 1 2
Carcharhiniformes 3 12
Rhinobatiformes 1 1
Torpediniformes 1 2
Rajiformes 1 2
Myliobatiformes 5 10
Anguilliformes 4 11
Clupeiformes 3 20
Aulopiformes 1 7
Ophiiformes 2 4
Siluriformes 2 9
Osmeriformes 1 1
Zeiformes 1 1
Myctophiformes 1 1
Gadiformes 2 2
Beloniformes 3 8
Atheriniformes 1 1
Beryciformes 2 3
Gasterosteiformes 5 9
Lophiiformes 4 9
Scorpaeniformes 4 25
Perciformes 50 309
Pleuronectiformes 7 27
Tetraodontiformes 6 42
TOTAL 111 518
Table 7. Summary of marine fish species reported by
Vidthayanon (1998).
Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity
Coastal reptiles
Twenty one species of reptiles are found in Sarawak
coastal waters. Out of that sixteen are species recorded
in mangrove ecosystem such as crocodiles, terrapins,
lizards, geckos, skinks, monitors and snakes (De Rooij
1915; Musters 1983; Stuebing 1991; Das and Charles
1993; Denzer 1996; Das 2004; 2006; Jensen and Das
2006; Das et al. 2013) (Table 8). Five species of turtles
are recorded along the Sarawak coast (Leh 1985). Leh
(1985) noted that only three species are commonly
found in Sarawak waters, namely Chelonia mydas,
Eretmochelys imbricata and Caretta caretta. Leh (1985)
noted that Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback turtle)
is seldom seen in Sarawak waters. However, lately
Dermochelys coriacea is also reported in Sarawak waters
and are included in the conservation program held by the
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (Tisen and Bali 2002).
Turtle are reported to lay their eggs on Talang-Talang
and Satang Islands, Sarawak.
Marine mammals
Studies on marine mammals in Sarawak coastal
waters were started in 1901 when Lydekker (1901) pub-
Species Common name
Crocodylus porosus Estuarine crocodile *
Batagur borneoensis Painted terrapin **
Draco cornutus Flying lizard ***
Gekko smithii Smith’s (green-eyed) gecko #
Hemiphyllodactylus typus Indopacic tree gecko #
Apterygodon vittatum Borneo skink ##
Emoia atrocostata Mangrove skink ###
Varanus salvator Common water monitor @
Boiga dendrophila Mangrove snake @@
Cerberus rynchops Dog-faced water snake @@
Gerarda prevostiana Gerard’s water snake @@@
Fordonia leucobalia Crab-eating water snake @@
Acrochordus granulatus Little lesnake @@
Xenelaphis hexagonotus Malaysian brown snake @@
Enhydrina schistosa Beaked sea snake @@
Ophiophagus hannah King cobra +
Chelonia mydas Green turtle ++
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill turtle ++
Caretta caretta Loggerhead turtle ++
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback turtle +++
Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley turtle +++
Table 8. Reptiles found in Sarawak mangrove forests and
adjacent waters.
* Tisen, and Ahmad (2010), ** Jensen and Das (2006), *** Musters (1983),
# Das and Charles (1993), ## Denzer (1996), ### Das (2004), @ De Rooij
(1915), @@ Stuebing (1991), @@@ Das et al. (2013),+ Das (2006), ++ Leh
(1985), +++ Tisen and Bali (2002).
lished his work ‘Notice of an apparently new estuarine
dolphin from Borneo’. In later years, several historical
records were put together by scientists on the marine
mammals of Sarawak coastal waters (Gibson-Hill 1950;
Beasly and Jefferson 1997). More recent studies focus on
the distribution of cetaceans in Sarawak coastal waters
(Jaaman 2006; Bali et al. 2008; Minton et al. 2011).
Fourteen species were reported by Beasly and Jefferson
(1997) and one species (Tursiops aduncus) was recorded
by Minton et al. (2011) in Sarawak coastal waters (Table
9). Three species of dolphins are common in Sarawak
waters, namely Tursiops aduncus, Sousa chinensis and
Orcaella brevirostris (Minton et al. 2011). Dugong
dugon (sea cow) was rst reported present in Cape Datu,
Lawas and Limbang, Sarawak (Jaaman et al. 2011) and
was also reported in Teluk Serabang, near Samunsam
Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarawak prior to the 1960s (Jaaman
et al. 2000). Fourteen individuals of Dugong dugon were
reported seen in Limbang Division Sarawak and Brunei
Bay, Sabah during a 2007 aerial survey (Jaaman et al.
2011). Dugong dugon is an endangered species due
to hunting and habitat destruction (seagrass). Previous
studies on marine mammals were focused on the taxono-
mies of the groups. A recent study by Minton et al. (2011)
deals with the distribution and populations of small ceta-
ceans. A more comprehensive study should be carried
out to see the relationship of the marine mammals and
their interaction within and between ecosystems (Mazlan
et al. 2005).
Table 9. Summary of marine mammals reported by Beasly
and Jefferson (1997).
Species name Common name
Balaenoptera musculus Blue whale
Balaenoptera physalus Fin whale
Balaenoptera edeni Bryde’s whale
Megaptera novaeangliae Humpback whale
Physeter macrocephalus Sperm whale
Kogia breviceps Pygmy sperm whale
Orcinus orca Killer whale
Globicephala macrorhynchus Short-nned pilot whale
Grampus griseus Risso’s dolphin
Tursiops aduncus Bottlenose dolphin *
Lagenodelphis hosei Fraser’s dolphin
Sousa chinensis Indo-Pacific humpback dol-
Orcaella brevirostris Irrawaddy dolphin
Neophocaena phocaenoides Finless porpoise
Dugong dugon Dugong
* Species recorded by Minton et al. (2011).
Shabdin ML
4. Threats to Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity
Mangrove ecosystem
Development of the coastal mangrove forest is a
major threat to mangrove ecosystems in Sarawak. These
include the conversions of mangrove ecosystems into
aquaculture pond and eco-tourism industries, reclamation
of mangrove forest into housing estates, and industrial
complex and commercial ports which lead to habitat
losses. The reclamation and conversions of mangrove
forest will cause habitat degradation along the Sarawak
coastal waters and deprived them of the functions per-
formed by the mangrove ecosystem in coastal protection
and serving as a nursery ground for aquatic fauna.
Commercial sheries
An increase of the population density will lead to
continuing pressures on the Sarawak coastal marine eco-
systems. An increase in the demand for commercially
important fishes will lead to over exploitation of the
marine sh resources due to uncontrolled use of trawling
gears. The continuing exploitation of fishery resources
above the levels of maximum sustainable yield will
result in the disruption of species composition through
the increase in trash fish landing (by catch yield) and
recruitment failure of the commercially important marine
species (Mazlan et al. 2011). Invasiveness of introduced
species in the natural environment is another important
issue to be addressed in protecting the Sarawak coastal
marine species. Tilapia mosambica is a freshwater
species in its native country but can adapt well tp the
brackish water habitat and its presence will affect the
survival of the local resident species.
Coral reefs ecosystem
The coral reefs ecosystem in Sarawak has long been
under threat due to natural hazards and anthropogenic
pollution in the coastal waters. The coral reefs near Miri
and Simalajau are suffering coral bleaching due to envi-
ronmental and human factors (The Star 2010). Coral
death is also caused by the corallivores species such as
Acanthaster planci. However, this mortality is relatively
minor assuming there is no population outbreak of the
crown-of-thorns starsh.
The major threats to coral reefs in Sarawak are
anthropogenic pollution such as sedimentation and sand
mining (Pilcher and Cabanban 2000). The increase in
sediment load due to runoff in upstream areas of many
rivers in Sarawak could be a threat to the nearshore
reefs. Most of the reefs in Miri lie within 8-9 km of the
Miri and Baram River mouths (Pilcher and Cabanban
2000). The primary threat to the reefs of Talang-Talang
Islands comes from sediment loading in the water which
originated from the Kayan and Sematan Rivers (Pilcher
and Cabanban 2000), whereas sedimentation at Satang
Island reefs is transported by currents from Sibu Laut,
Rambungan and Sampadi Rivers. High sediment loads
in many rivers of Sarawak are related to forest removal
and land development. Most of the dead corals in those
islands are covered with sediment and macroalgae
(Pilcher and Cabanban 2000).
The clearing and reclamation of mangrove forest
in the coastal areas will lead to habitat loss for many
reptiles species found in Sarawak. Conservation efforts
by government agencies such as the Sarawak Forestry
Corporation are focusing on the sea turtles rather than on
other reptile species in the mangrove forests. Sea turtles
in Sarawak are highly endangered species due to their
slow reproduction rate and habitat destruction (Anon
2009). The major threats to turtles in Sarawak waters are
incidental capture by shermen’s shing gear, over har-
vesting for meat and eggs, and natural predators of the
newly hatched turtles. All turtle species in Sarawak are
fully protected species and included in the state’s conser-
vation program.
Marine mammals
Marine mammals such as Dugong dugon are cur-
rently facing threats due to seagrass degradation and
habitat loss. Seagrass degradation is due to sedimenta-
tion and pollution from coastal development and palm
oil plantations (Jaaman et al. 2011). Though seagrass
is known as hardy and robustly pioneering, it cannot
tolerate highly silty and turbid water. The murky water
along the Sarawak coast is possibly due to the high
human population and intensive coastal development
activities. The immediate impact from sedimentation
and water pollution (untreated waste disposal) may have
severely degraded seagrass meadows along the Sarawak
coast and consequently directly impacts the dugong
feeding grounds. Further threats to dugongs are inci-
dental catches by shermen, hunting for dugongs as food
and unsupervised tourism (Jaaman et al. 2011). The other
Sarawak Coastal Biodiversity
marine mammals such as dolphins, porpoises and whales
are not under critical threat due to the nature of their
swimming habits.
5. Sarawak Biodiversity Conservation and
Management Program
Malaysian commitment to biodiversity is reflected
in the formation of several policies, centres and direc-
torates related to environment and biodiversity. Among
the policies are the Fisheries Act of 1985, the National
Policy on Biological Diversity 1998, and the National
Biotechnology Policy 2005. The establishment of cen-
tres and directorate to manage the biodiversity such as
the National Biodiversity Centre 2012 and the National
Oceanography Directorate under the Ministry of Science
Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) are spearheading
biodiversity management in Malaysia. The National
Biodiversity Centre is focusing on the inventory of
biodiversity such as flora, fauna and marine biodiver-
sity. In Sarawak, the commitment of the state govern-
ment to manage the biodiversity is reflected in several
ordinances and acts such as the Sarawak Biodiversity
Ordinance 1997 and the Sarawak National Parks and
Nature Reserves Ordinance 1998 (Chapter 27). Sarawak
has several laws and other legislation related to biodi-
versity and conservation. These include the following:
the Sarawak Forestry Corporation Ordinance of 1995,
the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998, the National
Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance 1998, the Wildlife
Protection Rules 1998 and the National Parks and Nature
Reserves Rules 1999. Continuous efforts have been made
by several state government agencies and universities to
discover and gather the latest information on the state of
biodiversity in the Sarawak coastal waters. These include
scientic expeditions, independent research, seminars and
conferences. The Sarawak government through various
agencies has taken active responses in addressing various
environmental issues. Various policies are formed to
tackle different threats posed to the environment and its
biodiversity with the specic aims of balancing human
demands on biodiversity resources. Following the World
Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which
was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, the Sarawak
State Government enacted the Natural Resources and
Environment (Amendment) Ordinance, 1993; the
Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB)
was established on 1st February 1994. The formation of
the NREB of Sarawak under the Ministry of Resource
Planning and Environment was purposely to tackle envi-
ronmental issues. The NREB’s main objective is to pro-
tect and enhance the environmental quality in Sarawak.
The NREB had imposed an Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA) and a Natural Resource Environmental
Audit on all development projects in Sarawak coastal
waters. The requirement of an EIA for a prescribed
coastal development activity in Sarawak is mandatory for
all coastal development projects. In Sarawak the manage-
ment of forests including an inventory of ora is under
the jurisdiction of the Sarawak Forestry Department
(SFD) while bio-prospecting of natural products is con-
trolled by the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC). All
National Parks (NP) including two marine National Parks
(Talang-Satang NP and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs NP) are
managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).
Sarawak has enough rules and regulations to safeguard
its biodiversity and natural resources. However, the
enforcement of these rules and regulations can be further
improved in the future.
The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) embarked
on a reef ball project in order to protect the inter-nesting
habitats and migratory routes of turtles from the traps
posed by the trawlers’ nets. The formation of Sarawak
Reef Balls Working Group (SRBWG) has had tremen-
dous impact on turtle conservation efforts. The use of
reef balls as a tool for turtle conservation in Sarawak is
the rst in Asia. Enforcement against illegal trawlers is
not effective because the trawlers can always spot the
patrol boat rst and ee immediately. Its sharp and rough
surface along with its two tonnes weight made the reef
ball a suitable tool for ripping the trawler nets that entan-
gled it. This will keep trawlers away from the sea turtle
inter-nesting habitats (Tisen and Bali 1999). Reef balls
were deployed randomly in areas that were identied as
the inter-nesting swimming grounds for turtles during
their nesting season through a radio and ultrasonic telem-
etry study (Tisen and Bali 1999). Since 1998, a total of
2284 reef ball units have been deployed by the Sarawak
Reef Balls Working Group (SRBWG) along the Sarawak
coast. Prior to 1998, around 70 to 100 dead turtles sus-
pected of having originally been caught in trawler nets
were found annually in the area stretching from Sematan
to Telaga Air beaches (Tisen and Bali 1999). Following
the deployment of reef balls, there has been a marked
reduction in the number of dead turtles with only about
20 turtles found each year (Tisen and Bali 1999).
The SFC is also involved in the conservation
projects for marine mammals, especially dolphins and
dugongs. Aerial and boat surveys of Irrawaddy dol-
phins were carried out by the SFC in collaboration with
Shabdin ML
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) offshore and along the
Sarawak’s coastal waters. The dolphin population survey
also covered four big rivers in Sarawak, namely the
Saribas, Lupar, Lassa and Rajang rivers. In recent col-
laborations between SFC, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
(Unimas) and Sarawak Shell Berhad, Irrawaddy dolphin
studies were conducted in the Kuching, Bintulu and
Miri coastal areas, which recorded 15 species including
one new species, Tursiops truncates, along the waters
of the Sarawak coast (Bali and Tisen 2013). The SFC
also monitors the dugong population and its feeding
habitats in seagrass meadows at Kuala Lawas, Sarawak.
The strategies of dolphin and dugong conservation proj-
ects are to create public awareness to local people and
fishermen on the importance of these animals through
national and local media. The expected outcome of these
conservation projects is the involvement of the local
community in conserving the coastal marine resources of
The conservation of coral reefs and seagrasses is
another project led by the SFC in collaboration with local
universities. Coral reefs in northeast Sarawak include
Miri-Sibuti National Park and Simalajau National Park
whereas Talang-Satang National Park and Tanjung Datu
National Park are located in the southwest of Sarawak.
Several coral management activities were conducted in
the National Park such as annual reef cleaning with vol-
unteers and other government agencies, reef health moni-
toring and research collaboration with local universities.
Seagrass monitoring is also regularly conducted in Kuala
Lawas, Talang-Satang NP, Serabang Bay, Sematan and
Sampadi Island, Kuching, Sarawak. Among the activities
done were monitoring the seasonal changes in species
composition, species density, species distribution and
water quality in the seagrass area. An expedition with
local universities to explore new seagrass areas was also
conducted in the coastal waters. The nal aim of all these
projects is to create awareness among the local commu-
nities and hope that participation from them will materi-
alise in the future.
Education is an effective tool for helping to gen-
erate public awareness on the importance of biodiversity
to natural resources in Sarawak. In order to tackle the
higher education issues, the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
(UNIMAS) was established on 24 December 1992 after
the declaration of vision 2020 by Malaysian govern-
ment. The Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
(FRST) was established in July 1993 and become one of
the pioneer faculties in UNIMAS with offered academic
programmes focusing on science, management, and
sustainable utilization of natural resources in Sarawak.
Students can specialise in science and management of
flora and fauna, aquatic biology, biotechnology, and
resource chemistry. In order to enhance the education
process in biodiversity, the Institute of Biodiversity and
Environmental Conservation (IBEC) was launched by
UNIMAS in 1994. The IBEC objectives are to promote
an understanding of the ecological principles and the
benefits of biodiversity resources to mankind, and to
promote the wise management and use of the Sarawak
biotic wealth in ways that do not adversely affect the
environment. IBEC program are focussing on research at
post-graduate level that will promote the acquisition and
dissemination of knowledge in environmental science
and technology. The overall programmes in FRST and
IBEC focus on biodiversity towards establishing highly
educated, skilled and dedicated natural resource man-
agers, biological conservationists, environmental educa-
tors and teachers capable of contributing and providing
leadership for the sustainable development of Sarawak’s
biotic wealth (Abdullah et al. 2005).
The Malaysian government is also in the pro-
cess of developing a draft of Integrated Coastal Zone
Management (ICZM) in order to address problems of
pollution, biological diversity, and deterioration and
exploitation of sheries resources. A pledge to develop
an Integrated Coastal Zone Management policy is
suggested in order to resolve the conflicting uses and
ensure sustainability of coastal resources. Though the
suggested ICZM policy is still at a drafting stage, pilot
projects have been carried out in Pulau Pinang, Sabah
and Sarawak from year 1996 to 2000 (CZMU 1996).
Therefore it appears that the ICZM is a priority area for
policy development in the near future.
6. Conclusion
Considering Sarawak as a mega-biodiversity state,
more extensive studies of ora and fauna in the coastal
waters should be done to explore the unreported species
present in the area. Major hurdles in proceeding with the
idea of doing more study on biodiversity are the lack of
taxonomists, in Sarawak in particular and in Malaysia as
a whole. The lack of publications in ecology and basic
biology on marine and estuarine organisms also are prob-
lematic for enhancing the coastal biodiversity studies. An
increase in information on coastal biodiversity, including
biology and ecology, are needed in order for Sarawak to
have better conservation management for future genera-
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... Nearshore coral reefs along the north central section of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, are highly diverse with an estimated 518 fish species (Shabdin, 2014) and 203 hard coral species from 66 genera (Elcee Instrumentation Sdn Bhd, 2002). Sarawak is a deforestation hotspot with only 3% of its forest cover intact (Bryan et al., 2013). ...
... Subsequent Reef Check surveys in 2010 and 2014 concluded these same reefs were experiencing multiple stressors, but were in 'fair' condition (~40% HCC;Reef Check Malaysia, 2010. However, despite these surveys, there is limited quantitative data on coral health and biodiversity (Shabdin, 2014), and more importantly no comprehensive assessment of environmental drivers of reef health. For example, the Baram River (10 km north of the reef complex), is known to discharge 2.4 x 10 10 kg yr −1 of sediments into the coastal zone (Nagarajan et al., 2015), such that sediment and nutrient influx are considered to be the greatest threat to these poorly studied reefs (Pilcher & Cabanban, 2000;Ferner, 2013;Shabdin, 2014). ...
... However, despite these surveys, there is limited quantitative data on coral health and biodiversity (Shabdin, 2014), and more importantly no comprehensive assessment of environmental drivers of reef health. For example, the Baram River (10 km north of the reef complex), is known to discharge 2.4 x 10 10 kg yr −1 of sediments into the coastal zone (Nagarajan et al., 2015), such that sediment and nutrient influx are considered to be the greatest threat to these poorly studied reefs (Pilcher & Cabanban, 2000;Ferner, 2013;Shabdin, 2014). Without thoroughly quantifying sediment impacts on corals, no conclusions can be made on coral tolerance levels, the drivers of community composition and future resilience to both local and global pressures. ...
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For reefs in South East Asia the synergistic effects of rapid land development, insufficient environmental policies and a lack of enforcement has led to poor water quality and compromised coral health from increased sediment and pollution. Those inshore turbid coral reefs, subject to significant sediment inputs, may also inherit some resilience to the effects of thermal stress and coral bleaching. We studied the inshore turbid reefs near Miri, in northwest Borneo through a comprehensive assessment of coral cover and health in addition to quantifying sediment-related parameters. Although Miri’s Reefs had comparatively low coral species diversity, dominated by massive and encrusting forms of Diploastrea, Porites, Montipora, Favites, Dipsastrea and Pachyseris, they were characterized by a healthy cover ranging from 22 to 39%. We found a strong inshore to offshore gradient in hard coral cover, diversity and community composition as a direct result of spatial differences in sediment at distances
... The National Biodiversity Centre is focusing on the inventory of biodiversity such as flora, fauna and marine biodiversity. In Sarawak, the commitment of the state government to manage the biodiversity is reflected in several ordinances and acts such as regulations to safeguard its biodiversity and natural resources (Shabdin, 2014). However, the enforcement of these rules and regulations may be further improved in the future by taking into account subjective social aspects from the local community. ...
... There is a numerous cases reported from the previous studies on environmental degradation that leads to biodiversity loss. For instance, the mangrove forest in Sarawak has suffered from human expansion and human activities such as reclamation for housing and industrial estates, conversion for agriculture land and aquaculture ponds and pollution through industrialization and urbanization (Shabdin, 2014). ...
Research Proposal
Biodiversity provides humans with food, water, oxygen, energy, detoxification of waste, stabilization of earth's climate, medicine, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and many more thing. Sarawak is a blessed state with 14 National Parks and Gunung Mulu National Park (GMNP) is one of them, which is the only Sarawak's National Park that has been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site. There would be no population of humans without biodiversity. The study will elucidate the biodiversity awareness among local community in Sarawak and its relation to well-being through their perspective. Specifically, the aim of this study is to examine the level of awareness (knowledge, attitude and experience) among local community of Sarawak, particularly in GMNP towards biodiversity conservation; to study the relationship between local community's biodiversity conservation awareness and their subjective well-being; to determine the local community's willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation in GMNP. The actual data collection will be conducted on local community in GMNP, Sarawak. The face-to-face interview with the help of a validated questionnaire will be facilitated. This study will be employed quantitative and qualitative approach. The questionnaire, which included closed-ended and some open-ended questions will be distributed to the household representatives by stratified sampling technique. The open-ended interview will be conducted to the key informants such as head of ethnic, park rangers and visitors as source of data triangulation in this study. Consequently, this research also will enable the government and other agencies concentrate on the factors that enables society become more aware on biological diversity.
... Other important reef areas can be found off Sandakan and several locations on the west coast of Sabah. In Sarawak, reefs are located off the coast of Miri (Miri-Sibuti), Bintulu (Luconia), and Kuching (Talang-Satang and Tanjung Datu) (Shabdin 2014). For Peninsular Malaysia, the reefs in the SOM are few and far between. ...
In summary for Southeast Asia: Philippines. Over the last decade, mean coral cover showed strong declining trends in the South Philippine Sea and the Sulu Sea, with marginal declines in the North Philippine Sea, Visayas Region (inland seas) and the Celebes Sea. Coral cover increased in the West Philippine Sea from 10% in 2008 to 32% in 2018. Overall, the cover data reported here are higher than a recent report by Licuanan et al. (2019), mainly because most of the sites surveyed here are located within marine protected areas. Between 2015 and 2017, coral bleaching was reported in 36 (54%) of the 66 coastal and island provinces surveyed. Most of the confirmed bleaching reports were in 2016 (79%), when bleaching incidences were reported almost year-round, although most reports (81%) were of low to mild bleaching. Moderate to severe coral bleaching was reported between April and October in 2016. The following year also saw bleaching, but reports were generally of low to mild bleaching.
... Cuttlefish, squid and octopus are the major groups of cephalopods. The diversity of this group is presumably higher than the current records, which are surprisingly low, despite Malaysia being part of the high biodiversity region of South East Asia (Shabdin 2014). This group of mollusks consists of a large number of taxa occurring exclusively in shallow to deep water marine environments (Hildenbrand et al. 2021). ...
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Morni WZW, Hassan R, Abit LY, Latif K. 2022. A checklist of cephalopods from continental shelf of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Biodiversitas 23: 3203-3208. Cephalopods can be discovered in all the oceans of the world ranging from shallow to deep oceans. It is a naturally inhabited seawater medium and indirectly limits the number of research regarding the species composition of the cephalopods group. Previously, samples of cephalopods were collected from selected stations in Sarawak Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) using an otter trawl net with a stretch mesh size of 38 mm at the cod end. All samples used in this study were the by-catch of trawling activities during National Demersal Fish Resource Survey in Sarawak (16 August until 6 October 2015). Trawling operations were conducted beyond 12 nautical miles from the coast, and the area was divided into three depth strata, I) 20-50 m; II) 50-100 m; and III) 100-200 m. In total, 16 species of cephalopods were found to inhabit Sarawak waters, representing five families and eight genera. The present findings found that there was a higher number of species recorded in-depth strata I (14 species) in comparison to strata II (12 species) and III (11 species). Six species of the cephalopods captured in this study were the first recorded in Malaysian water, namely Amphioctopus marginatus, Amphioctopus rex, Ommastrephes bartramii, Sepia brevimana, Sepia vietnamica and Sepia prashadi. Thus, the information on cephalopod diversity and distribution at different depth strata will be useful for updating the current database on Malaysian marine species diversity.
... Sarawak is one of the top 25 global biodiversity hot spots [21]. Costus speciosus (J. ...
... The South China Sea (SCS) large marine ecosystem (LME) contains significant biodiversity and habitats with vital impact on the global marine fisheries (Teh et al 2019). Sarawak lying within the Indo-Malay-Philippine archipelago with around 1035 km long coastline is one of the mega-diversity regions of the world (Long 2014). ...
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The sustainable use of fisheries resources is a major concern for coastal resource management. Malaysia is endowed with vast coastal fisheries resources which contribute about 1% to national GDP. Sarawak is the major state of Malaysia having high potentials for coastal fisheries. This study was conducted from December 2018 to May 2019 to inquire the status of the coastal fisheries and to identify gaps for further research and measures for sustainable fisheries. The study was undertaken through desk-based review and analysis of secondary data along with a focus on the primary fish landing data collected directly from fishers’ catches and Gnian (type of Estuarine Set Bag Net-ESBN) fish sampling. FAO production data (1950-2011) for fishing zone 71 (data of Sarawak-Sabah fishing zone) showed a sharp incremental trend (70100 to 682004 MT; R = 0.992). According to DoF data from 2000 to 2016, the Sarawak fishery was mainly contributed by coastal catches which is about 70% of the total catch, and a clear monthly fluctuation was observed in fish catches from Sarawak coast. In the same dataset (DoF 2000-2016), there was constant landing from March to August whereas declining trends from September to February. Data from case study site (Daro) exhibited 40.9 MT catch in 2018 and varied every month from the lowest 3004 kg (November) to the highest 3693 kg (March). Fishing efforts in terms of fishermen, vessels and gears were steadily increased over the period of year 2000 until 2016. The main contributing species/groups by weight were prawn and shrimp (39%) followed by Bornean grenadier anchovy (15%), and eeltail catfish, crabs and Gangetic anchovy (4%). There were 78 contributing species/group/guilds including fresh water, estuarine and coastal fishes showed in historic database of Daro via the catch assessment forms. However, there were only 34 species found to be contributing to catch during 2018. Out of 34 species, 23 were found contributing regularly (12 months) whereas the other 11 species were found contributing seasonally to catch. The study during surveys in Daro in April 2019 discovered 27 species. The ecological variation in seasonal pattern might be the driving factor for these species contributing variation to catch.
... The river water in this state of Sarawak may be an ideal place for processing and producing low-cost drinking water using low-pressure membranes as suggested by Manson et al. (2018). Approximately 60% of its coastline is covered by mangrove forests (Long 2014) which grow in coastal saline or brackish water. Almost all of the brackish water belongs to channels found in deeper waters that are possibly influenced by the invasion of rivers from Sarawak's mainland rivers such as the Rajang River and Baram River. ...
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Water purification from brackish water sources has been acknowledged as one of the most promising ways to produce drinkable water in water-scarce areas. In this study, an ultra-low pressure reverse osmosis (ULPRO) membrane was numerically and experimentally investigated to produce drinking water by the removal of sodium chloride salt which provides further validation of the model from a practical perspective. An enhanced predictive model based on the Donnan–Steric Pore Model with dielectric exclusion (DSPM-DE) incorporating the osmotic effects was formulated in process simulation. The feed pressure and concentration were optimized as input variables and interaction between them was observed, while salt rejection and water recovery rate were taken as response attributes. The results obtained on the ULPRO membrane showed that the performance depends on the charge, steric, and dielectric effects. Furthermore, the enhanced model was validated with the experimental data attained from a laboratory-scale filtration system with good accuracy in the salt rejection and water recovery results. Comparing the enhanced DSPM-DE with the existing solution diffusion model reveals that the enhanced model predicts the membrane performance better and thereby qualifies itself as a reliable model for desalination of brackish water using ULPRO membrane. HIGHLIGHTS An enhanced DSPM with a dielectric exclusion model for ULPRO membrane is developed.; Predicted ULPRO membrane performance for low operating pressure of 1 to 4 bar.; Predicted ULPRO membrane performance for brackish water at salinity up to 2,000 ppm.; Model validated through experimental data for salt rejection and water recovery with good accuracy.; Enhanced model predicts salt rejection better than using solution diffusion model.;
... The total length of shoreline in Malaysia is approximately 4800 km (Hassan and Rahmat 2016 ). Sarawak has the second largest coastal area with a shoreline of about 1035 km, starting from Telok Melano at southern region all the way up to Lawas located at northern region of Sarawak (Long 2014 ). Urbanization and agricultural are rapidly increased in coastal areas as they are rich in natural resources (Senevirathna et al. 2018 ). ...
Coastal erosion along Sarawak shoreline is getting serious in recent years due to the impact of climate change and global warming. Strong waves had washed away the land along the shore or beach and thus threatens the infrastructures that were constructed along Sarawak shoreline. Department of Irrigation and Drainage had adopted many methods to protect the shoreline including seawalls, breakwaters, geotextile tubes, concrete mass Labuan blocks, amour rocks and etc. The cheapest and most economic protection method is using armour rock. Besides, amour rock was found to be strong, durable, long-lasting, able to absorb and dissipate the waves before hitting on the shore. However, appropriate size of amour rocks to protect the shore is unknown. Therefore, this research is carried out to determine the appropriate armour rocks sizes for protecting the shoreline against the waves along Sarawak shoreline. The design methodologies are including determination of tidal levels, design wind speed, wind set-up, wave period, sea level rise, wave set-up, breaker height and lastly design armour rock sizes range. Shoreline Protection Manual and Hudson’s formula were adopted in this research to determine the appropriate sizes range of armour rocks. The study area was subdivided into 7 regions. Results revealed that southern part of Sarawak shorelines requires larger armour rock sizes compared to the northern region. The nominal size ranges of armour rocks for regions 1 and 2 are found to be 2112 mm, 1734 mm for region 3, and 1173 mm for regions 4, 5, 6 and 7. Results also revealed that the required armour rock sizes increase with the increment of Mean High Water Spring, nearshore slope gradients and structure slope. Besides, results also concluded that smaller amours rocks is sufficient to react against smaller waves, while bigger waves required bigger rocks for protecting the shoreline.
... more than 30 migratory waterbird species (Parish 1987, Orenstein et al. 2010, Bakewell et al. 2017). It has a diversity of coastal environments, ranging from rocky shores, intertidal flats and sandy beaches, to large areas of mangrove forests (Shabdin 2014), including some of the most important areas of coastal wetlands within both Malaysia and Southeast Asia, such as the Baram Estuary and Bako-Buntal Bay (Li et al. 2006, Yeap et al. 2007, MacKinnon et al. 2012, Bakewell et al. 2017, BirdLife International 2020, Mehlman et al. 2020. In particular, the extensive intertidal flats spanning the coastline of Bako-Buntal Bay in southwest Sarawak ( Fig. 1) are among the most important sites for staging and over-wintering waterbirds on Borneo, supporting not only high shorebird diversity, but also globally significant congregations of threatened species such as Great Knot, Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer, Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis and Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes (Yeap et al. 2007, Mann 2008, Bakewell et al. 2017. ...
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Bako-Buntal Bay in Sarawak, Malaysia is among the most important coastal wetlands for migratory shorebirds in Borneo, and in insular Southeast Asia. However, since the multi-year waterbird surveys of the Sarawak coast during 2010–2012, there has been little published work on migratory shorebirds here. Our study assessed the status and populations of migratory waterbirds utilizing two sites within Bako-Buntal Bay: (1) the extensive mud and sand flats of Buntal Bay used as a neap tide roost site, and (2) the man-made (ash) ponds at Sejingkat regularly used as spring tide roost sites. We counted waterbirds twice a month from October 2018 to March 2019, and compiled monitoring data from the Asian Waterbird Census and other surveys starting in either 2006 or 2007. We found a total of 32 waterbird species in Buntal and 31 species in Sejingkat, including globally significant numbers of four threatened species: Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis (EN), Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris (EN), Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer (EN), and Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes (VU). Our study showed that the total counts of waterbirds at Buntal, and especially Sejingkat, have increased consistently from 2006–2007 to 2019, particularly with an increasing trend for Far Eastern Curlew and a sudden increase in Great Knot numbers in 2019. Using flag resightings, we established connections between our study sites and sites along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, e.g. Chongming Island in Shanghai, China and Kamchatka in Russia. We are unsure of the factors driving the increase of shorebird numbers, but hypothesize a possible decline in habitat extent and quality elsewhere on Borneo or in the wider Southeast Asian region. Our work demonstrates the continued importance of Bako-Buntal Bay for shorebirds, especially the Far Eastern Curlew, in Southeast Asia, and the need for sustained conservation measures.
... Along the coast in Sarawak, mangrove forests cover 60% of the total coastline. The mangrove forests in Sarawak have suffered from human expansion (agriculture and aquaculture) and pollution through industrialisation and urbanisation [46]. The primary cause of water quality degradation in Sarawak rivers and coastal waters is due to the release of excessive particulate and dissolved substances as a result of changing land cover and land use practices [54,55]. ...
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Coastal water quality degradation is a global challenge. Marine pollution due to suspended sediments and dissolved matter impacts water colour, biogeochemistry, benthic habitats and eventually human populations that depend on marine resources. In Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo), peatland-draining river discharges containing suspended sediments and dissolved organic carbon influence coastal water quality at multiple locations along the coast. Optical remote sensing is an effective tool to monitor coastal waters over large areas and across remote geographic locations. However, the lack of regional optical measurements and inversion models limits the use of remote sensing observations for water quality monitoring in Sarawak. To overcome this limitation, we have (1) compiled a regional spectral optical library for Sarawak coastal waters, (2) developed a new semi-analytical remote sensing model to estimate suspended sediment and dissolved organic carbon in coastal waters, and (3) demonstrated the application of our remote sensing inversion model on satellite data over Sarawak. Bio-optical data analysis revealed that there is a clear spatial variability in the inherent optical properties of particulate and dissolved matter in Sarawak. Our optical inversion model coupled with the Sarawak spectral optical library performed well in retrieving suspended sediment (bias = 3% and MAE = 5%) and dissolved organic carbon (bias = 3% and MAE = 8%) concentrations. Demonstration products using MODIS Aqua data clearly showed the influence of large rivers such as the Rajang and Lupar in discharging suspended sediments and dissolved organic carbon into coastal waters. The bio-optical parameterisation, optical model, and remote sensing inversion approach detailed here can now help improve monitoring and management of coastal water quality in Sarawak.
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A new record of the homalopsid snake, Gerarda prevostiana is presented from a mangrove-dominated patch in the vicinity of Kampung Bako, Sarawak, East Malaysia, and this comprises the first published record from the Sundaic Island of Borneo. A possible second locality for the species is a ca. 6.68 km site to its northeast, Kampung Buntal, based on an unlocated museum specimen. The species is widespread in mainland Southeast Asia, with additional records to the west (the Indian Subcontinent) and east (the Philippines Archipelago), but was previously unrecorded from the islands of the Sundas. The secretive habits of the species, including the occupancy of mud lobster (Thalassinia spp.) mounds in mostly inaccessible, swampy habitats may be a reason for its perceived rarity and few published records.
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Sarawak comprises of vast areas of wetland which is the habitat of huge number of edible gastropods. Among the wetland faunal composition, the edible gastropod is one of the important sources of animal protein for the local communities. This diversity of edible gastropod was studied from seven Divisions of Sarawak namely Kuching, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri, Limbang and Lawas. Samples were collected from the wet market and catches from local fishermen. A total of 21 species representing 11 families and 16 genera of edible gastropods were identified from Sarawak. Cerithidea spp. was represented by three species while both Nerita and Pomacea were made up of three and two species each. Others were each represented by one single species. Six edible gastropod species belonged to the freshwater habitat while seven and eight species were recorded from brackish and marine habitats, respectively. Cerithidea and Pomacea showed wide geography amongst the Division and also highly distributed. Edible gastropods have high market value in the state of Sarawak and contribute significantly to the livelihoods of the certain indigenous communities in the state.
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The diversity of edible bivalve was conducted from August 2010 to July 2011 covering1 eight Divisions i.e., Kuching, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri, Limbang and Lawas of Sarawak, Malaysia. Samples were collected from native market and fishing village during the study period. All edible bivalves inhabit either in brackish or marine environment and comprised 19 species from 10 families namely Meretrix meretrix, M. lyrata, Paphia undulata, Circe scripta, Solen regularies, Solen lamarckii, Pharella acutidens, Amusium pleuronectes, Anadara granosa, Pholas orientalis, Gluconome virens, Plaeuna placenta, Crassotrea lugubris, Isognomon ephippium, Polymesoda erosa, P. bengalensis, P. expansa, Anodonta woodina and Pilsbryoconcha exilis. The diversity of edible bivalves was found highest in Kuching and Bintulu compared to other Divisions studied in Sarawak. The bivalve species at Sarawak could have economic potentiality in terms of protein source, livelihoods of local tribes and economic value. Study suggests that if the high conservation and management of edible bivalve diversity could establish in the coastal and wetland area of Sarawak, a remarkable and vast economic return could achieve.
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The seas surrounding Malaysia is one of the largest continental shelf areas in the world contain very productive and diverse habitat and should therefore be the centre for marine biological research and data collection. Though there have been some studies on marine biodiversity dated back to mid 30's, the data collection and information gathered are however far from satisfaction. The process of data collection is in progress by time and though the process of mega-biodiversity recording is somehow jeopardized by inadequacy of taxonomists in the country. Nevertheless, the status of marine biodiversity studies around Malaysian waters is examined towards a better approach for future prospects in research and management of this valuable yet fragile ecosystem.
Buku ini memaparkan kekunci untuk identifikasi gastropoda dan bivalvia yang terdapat di perairan pantai Sabah dan Sarawak, Malaysia Timur. Penerangan bersama gambar gastropoda dan bivalvia turut dimuatkan di dalam buku ini. Buku ini diharap dapat membantu dan memudahkan pelajar pusat pengajian tinggi, pusat penyelidikan dan pelajar sekolah yang berminat dalam kajian moluska marin di Malaysia.
The taxonomic study on free-living nematodes had been carried out in Sarawak coastal waters to clarify the systematic and distribution of nematodes in Sarawak. This is the first taxonomic study conducted in Sarawak. A total of one hundred and eleven (111) species, representing forty seven (47) genera and twenty (20) families were identified from twenty four study sites along the Sarawak coastal waters. All species are first recorded in Sarawak, and were grouped according to their habitat (sediment type) of the station under study. All species were described and illustrated with detailed taxonomic notes and discussions. Pictorial keys of identification for species were also produced.