Intensifying marine research efforts in Sarawak
KUCHING: Marine research efforts in the state will be stepped up as project sites for Rimba ( Research for Intensified Management of Biorich Areas) Sarawak research platform will be extended to include Miri- Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park ( MSCRNP).
A memorandum of understanding ( MoU) to enable this was signed between Sarawak Forestry Corporation ( SFC) and Curtin University Malaysia ( Curtin) recently.
According to a press release, Curtin joined the Smithsonian Institution, the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the NUS Lee Kong Chian Museum of Natural History by contributing its expertise in marine sciences and paleoenvironmental studies.
At the signing ceremony were SFC’s chief executive officer ( CEO) Wong Ting Chung, SFC’s deputy general manager Oswald Braken Tisen, Curtin’s Pro Vice- Chancellor and CEO Professor Jim Mienczakowski and Curtin Malaysia Research Institute ( CMRI) director Professor Clem Kuek.
MSCRNP is the fifth Rimba Sarawak project site. Nanga Segerak and Nanga Bloh in Lanjak- Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, Nanga Delok in Batang Ai National Park and Ulu Sebuyau National Park were the initial project sites announced at the launch of the project on Aug 20, 2015 by the late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
Mienczakowski said Curtin had increased its engagement with the biodiversity in the north of Sarawak with large investments in research in Baram Catchment and MiriSibuti Coral Reefs National Park.
“In Coral Reefs National Park, the Curtin Malaysia Research Institute funds researchers on various projects to provide data for research-informed conservation of that bio- rich area where the coral and fish diversity match those in the Coral Triangle,” he said.
“Holistic research concerning MSCRNP would be conducted wherein focus areas would not be limited to the waters where the Miri- Sibuti reefs are but would include inland areas of the Baram River which eventually f lows to the South China Sea,” he added.
Wong indicated that the research proposed by Curtin was what SFC needed to document the plethora of biodiversity components of national parks in Sarawak.
“It is hoped that the research findings will in due course help us formulate management plans for the sustainability of the national parks concerned, starting with Miri- Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park.”
Kuek revealed that projects in the Coral Reefs National Park include studies on the sustainability of park- sizing via quantitative surveys of fish and coral populations, effect of sedimentation from Baram River on coral development, and paleogeochemistry to reconstruct ancient climate regimes to place offshore Miri as another location to reference the history of climate change.