In­ten­si­fy­ing ma­rine re­search ef­forts in Sarawak

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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.

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