Conservation knowledge

CORAL reefs are an important ecological and economic resource in many countries, providing a range of valuable ecosystem service to millions of people.

As part of the Coral Triangle, an area recognised as having the world’s highest marine biodiversity, one estimate puts the value of coral reefs in Malaysia as high as RM50 billion per year, but despite their economic and aesthetic value, coral reefs are being damaged by a variety of both local and global threats.

As part of a commitment to contribute to conserving nature particularly coral reefs, Management & Science University (MSU) sent its students on an environmental and community engagement expedition recently. The three-day programme from July 28 to 30 took a group of 44, including a number of alumni and lecturers, to Pulau Gelok and Kampung Rhu Sepuluh in Terengganu.

The “MSU Eco-Marine Youth Expedition, My Coral 2.0” programme was organised by the International Medical School (IMS) involving students of Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor in Medical Sciences, Bachelor and Diploma in Outdoor and Leisure & Adventure Management.

Last year, the first edition of the same programme aimed to develop the biodiversity of marine ecosystems in Pulau Gelok, while protecting and repopulating damaged reef areas through conservation programmes such as coral reef restoration projects.

The programme itinerary comprised community health service, mangrove tree planting, coral planting, beach cleaning, and learning about sea turtle conservation.
The community health service programme took the group to the island’s Kampung Mangkok, where the students and doctors conducted medical checkups on the villagers.

Additionally, a briefing session on coral reef conservation activities was shared by the marine biologists from Dorken Reef Resources, where participants were provided with information on the current development of coral propagation in Pulau Gelok.

According to programme director, Puteri Maz Safura Mohd Khalili, a 2nd year Bachelor in Medical Sciences student, this programme is a continuation of the first edition held in 2016, with the main effort being aimed at the restoration and rehabilitation of coral reefs, and at the same time educating participants on ways to protect the diverse marine ecosystem.

“I believe by educating young people about the importance of the environment in the early stages, it can help to enhance the students and community with a higher awareness on the importance of safeguarding the environment in daily life,” said Dr Nurul Syafinaz Rosli, an MSU alumni who participated in the programme.