PENANG, 29 August 2017 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) through the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) has been identified by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as its strategic partner to collaborate on a research project entitled “Research and Monitoring of the Ecological Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reef Ecosystems”.  

The Lead of the Habitat and Living Marine Resources Program, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Dr. Russell ‘Rusty’ E. Brainard said, CEMACS was selected to collaborate due to its reputation as an internationally recognised centre that contributes enormously in the conservation of coral reefs, in particular the giant clams.

“Furthermore, CEMACS has played a significant role both nationally and internationally in biodiversity and conservation research, which is highly recognised by the ASEAN Biodiversity Centre,” he said.

Russell added that through this collaboration too, NOAA will help position CEMACS globally and provide opportunity for CEMACS to have access working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Western Pacific Subregion (WESTPAC) and be part of the Global Ocean Acidification-Observing Network (GOA-ON), further enhancing CEMACS reputation as one of the centres of excellence in this niche area.

Meanwhile, CEMACS Director, Professor Dato’ Dr. Aileen Tan Shau-Hwai when contacted said, she looks forward to this long term collaboration with NOAA, at least for the next five to ten years, where CEMACS will work closely with NOAA on ocean acidification research and monitoring.

“In fact CEMACS is the pioneer in initiating the ocean acidification monitoring work in the country and is currently leading the work at three monitoring sites, namely one on the Straits of Malacca and one each on the western side (Pulau Bidong) and eastern side (Pulau Gaya) of South China Sea.

“It is envisaged that the CEMACS-NOAA collaboration will provide important data and inputs that would help us better understand and fill knowledge gaps regarding the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems in the South China Sea region,” she added.

“This will also help to strengthen the positioning of CEMACS and USM in the global map.”

Text: Tan Ewe Hoe

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