Malaysia’s Largest Seagrass Bed

Date January 1, 2018

By Lim Lay Beng: The Johor Strait is widely known for its major shipping lines and the largest business port in Malaysia. Less known to public are the diverse marine habitats and the wonderful marine biodiversity in the surrounding waters. I made a day trip to Mukim Tanjung Kupang in Johor to discover this beautiful landscape with the passionate volunteers of Kelab Alami and Cicada Tree Eco-Place!

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Palau Merambong is an uninhabited island located along Johor strait near Tuas in Singapore. We took a day trip to learn more about the biodiversity on this island and its surrounding waters. The tiny island offers diverse habitats including a small rainforest, mangroves, sandy beaches and rocky shores. One significant feature of the island is that it sits within the largest seagrass bed in Malaysia! Seagrass meadows are one of the most important marine habitat and are hatching ground for many marine animals such as seahorses, fishes, and prawns. They are also primary feeding grounds for dugongs. Large areas of seagrass beds stabilise the sea floor, protect coastal erosion, produce oxygen, and absorb carbon dioxide for the environment.

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The present challenges faced by these habitats from coastal developments mirror those faced in Singapore waters. High commercial vessel traffic, proximity to petroleum refinery, activities from land reclamation, impacts the quality of the water that are vital for the survival of these habitats. Despite these challenges, Palau Merambong and its surrounding water still surprise visitors with the diverse marine life.

The biggest thing that amazed me was that the unassuming brown waters across the Strait had such beautiful and big seagrass meadows. But I’m also sad because development is slowly killing it. We need to protect and treasure what we have left. – Lim Lay Beng

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Understanding neighboring marine habitats is important as they can be good indicator of the health of our Singapore marine environment. We are connected to Malaysia, not just economically, but also ecologically through the body of water that ties us.

Learn more about seagrasses in Singapore, and find out more about the animals encountered during this trip here.

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