Tor tor is an important game and food fish of India with a distribution throughout Asia from the trans-Himalayan region to the Mekong River basin to Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. A new cell line named TTCF was developed from the caudal fin of T. tor for the first time. The cell line was optimally maintained at 28°C in Leibovitz-15 (L-15) medium supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum (FBS). The propagation of TTCF cells showed a high plating efficiency of 63.00%. The cytogenetic analysis revealed a diploid count of 100 chromosomes at passage 15, 30, 45 and 60 passages. The viability of the TTCF cell line was found to be 72% after 6 months of cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen (-196°C). The origin of the cell lines was confirmed by the amplification of 578- and 655-bp sequences of 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) genes of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) respectively. TTCF cells were successfully transfected with green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter plasmids. Further, immunocytochemistry studies confirm its fibroblastic morphology of cells. Genotoxicity assessment of H₂O₂ in TTCF cell line revealed the utility of TTCF cell line as in vitro model for aquatic toxicological studies.
The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is one of the world's least known, highly threatened felids with a distribution restricted to tropical lowland rainforests in Peninsular Thailand/Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra. Throughout its geographic range large-scale anthropogenic transformation processes, including the pollution of fresh-water river systems and landscape fragmentation, raise concerns regarding its conservation status. Despite an increasing number of camera-trapping field surveys for carnivores in South-East Asia during the past two decades, few of these studies recorded the flat-headed cat.
The Sumatran orangutan is currently listed by the IUCN as critically endangered and the Bornean species as endangered. Unless effective conservation measures are enacted quickly, most orangutan populations without adequate protection face a dire future. Two main strategies are being pursued to conserve orangutans: (i) rehabilitation and reintroduction of ex-captive or displaced individuals; and (ii) protection of their forest habitat to abate threats like deforestation and hunting. These strategies are often mirrored in similar programs to save other valued and endangered mega-fauna. Through GIS analysis, collating data from across the literature, and combining this information within a modelling and decision analysis framework, we analysed which strategy or combination of strategies is the most cost-effective at maintaining wild orangutan populations, and under what conditions. We discovered that neither strategy was optimal under all circumstances but was dependent on the relative cost per orangutan, the timescale of management concern, and the rate of deforestation. Reintroduction, which costs twelve times as much per animal as compared to protection of forest, was only a cost-effective strategy at very short timescales. For time scales longer than 10-20 years, forest protection is the more cost-efficient strategy for maintaining wild orangutan populations. Our analyses showed that a third, rarely utilised strategy is intermediate: introducing sustainable logging practices and protection from hunting in timber production forest. Maximum long-term cost-efficiency is achieved by working in conservation forest. However, habitat protection involves addressing complex conservation issues and conflicting needs at the landscape level. We find a potential resolution in that well-managed production forests could achieve intermediate conservation outcomes. This has broad implications for sustaining biodiversity more generally within an economically productive landscape. Insights from this analysis should provide a better framework to prioritize financial investments, and facilitate improved integration between the organizations that implement these strategies.
The eagle ray Aetobatus flagellum (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) is redescribed based on new material from the Persian Gulf (Kuwait), Indonesia and Malaysia. A related but distinct species of Aetobatus from the western North Pacific, previously referred to as A. flagellum, is reported. Aetobatus flagellum is a medium-sized eagle ray which attains about 900 mm DW; males mature at approximately 500 mm DW. Aetobatus flagellum appears to be uncommon and restricted to estuary-influenced waters of the Indo-West Pacific. It is caught as gillnet bycatch where its habit of schooling, combined with probable small litter size, may make it particularly vulnerable to impacts from fisheries.
Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources is increasingly affecting the highly biodiverse tropics [1, 2]. Although rapid developments in remote sensing technology have permitted more precise estimates of land-cover change over large spatial scales [3-5], our knowledge about the effects of these changes on wildlife is much more sparse [6, 7]. Here we use field survey data, predictive density distribution modeling, and remote sensing to investigate the impact of resource use and land-use changes on the density distribution of Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus). Our models indicate that between 1999 and 2015, half of the orangutan population was affected by logging, deforestation, or industrialized plantations. Although land clearance caused the most dramatic rates of decline, it accounted for only a small proportion of the total loss. A much larger number of orangutans were lost in selectively logged and primary forests, where rates of decline were less precipitous, but where far more orangutans are found. This suggests that further drivers, independent of land-use change, contribute to orangutan loss. This finding is consistent with studies reporting hunting as a major cause in orangutan decline [8-10]. Our predictions of orangutan abundance loss across Borneo suggest that the population decreased by more than 100,000 individuals, corroborating recent estimates of decline . Practical solutions to prevent future orangutan decline can only be realized by addressing its complex causes in a holistic manner across political and societal sectors, such as in land-use planning, resource exploitation, infrastructure development, and education, and by increasing long-term sustainability . VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Agarwood is a resinous part of the non-timber Aquilaria tree, which is a highly valuable product for medicine and fragrance purposes. To protect the endangered Aquilaria species, mass plantation of Aquilaria trees has become a sustainable way in Asian countries to obtain the highly valuable agarwood. As only physiologically triggered Aquilaria tree can produce agarwood, effective induction methods are long sought in the agarwood industry. In this paper, we attempt to provide an overview for the past efforts toward the understanding of agarwood formation, the evolvement of induction methods and their further development prospects by integrating it with high-throughput omics approaches.
This study explored the conservation values of communally reserved forests (CRFs), which local indigenous communities deliberately preserve within their area of shifting cultivation. In the current landscape of rural Borneo, CRFs are the only option for conservation because other forested areas have already been logged or transformed into plantations. By analyzing their alpha and beta diversity, we investigated how these forests can contribute to restore regional biodiversity. Although CRFs were fragmented and some had been disturbed in the past, their tree species diversity was high and equivalent to that of primary forests. The species composition of intact forests and forests disturbed in the past did not differ clearly, which indicates that past logging was not intensive. All CRFs contained unique and endangered species, which are on the IUCN Red List, Sarawak protected plants, or both. On the other hand, the forest size structure differed between disturbed and intact CRFs, with the disturbed CRFs consisting of relatively smaller trees. Although the beta diversity among CRFs was also high, we found a high contribution of species replacement (turnover), but not of richness difference, in the total beta diversity. This suggests that all CRFs have a conservation value for restoring the overall regional biodiversity. Therefore, for maintaining the regional species diversity and endangered species, it would be suitable to design a conservation target into all CRFs.
Ten polymorphic microsatellite markers have been developed for Gonystylus bancanus (Ramin), a protected tree species of peat swamp forests in Malaysia and Indonesia. Eight markers were also shown to be polymorphic in other Gonystylus species. The markers will enable assessing the amount of genetic variation within and among populations and the degree of population differentiation, such that donor populations can be selected for reforestation projects. They may be used for tracing and tracking of wood in the production chain, so that legal trade in this Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora-protected timber species, derived from specifically described origins, can be distinguished from illegally logged timber.
The jerantinine family of Aspidosperma indole alkaloids from Tabernaemontana corymbosa are potent microtubule-targeting agents with broad spectrum anticancer activity. The natural supply of these precious metabolites has been significantly disrupted due to the inclusion of T. corymbosa on the endangered list of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This report describes the asymmetric syntheses of (-)-jerantinines A and E from sustainably sourced (-)-tabersonine, using a straight-forward and robust biomimetic approach. Biological investigations of synthetic (-)-jerantinine A, along with molecular modelling and X-ray crystallography studies of the tubulin-(-)-jerantinine B acetate complex, advocate an anticancer mode of action of the jerantinines operating via microtubule disruption resulting from binding at the colchicine site. This work lays the foundation for accessing useful quantities of enantiomerically pure jerantinine alkaloids for future development.
The number of endangered coral species is increasing over the past decades due to multiple stresses and threats. Euphylliidae corals are among the species heavily targeted for the marine aquarium trade due to their colourful appearance and aesthetic importance. However, their distribution in Peninsular Malaysia has not been thoroughly investigated. Present study aims to investigate the diversity and abundance patterns of euphylliid species at 36 reef sites in Marine Protected Areas of Tioman, Redang and Payar Islands. Video transect surveyed a total of 671 euphylliids individuals belonging to six species from three genera. The diversity and evenness indices of euphylliids were significantly higher (P
For many threatened species the rate and drivers of population decline are difficult to assess accurately: species' surveys are typically restricted to small geographic areas, are conducted over short time periods, and employ a wide range of survey protocols. We addressed methodological challenges for assessing change in the abundance of an endangered species. We applied novel methods for integrating field and interview survey data for the critically endangered Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), allowing a deeper understanding of the species' persistence through time. Our analysis revealed that Bornean orangutan populations have declined at a rate of 25% over the last 10 years. Survival rates of the species are lowest in areas with intermediate rainfall, where complex interrelations between soil fertility, agricultural productivity, and human settlement patterns influence persistence. These areas also have highest threats from human-wildlife conflict. Survival rates are further positively associated with forest extent, but are lower in areas where surrounding forest has been recently converted to industrial agriculture. Our study highlights the urgency of determining specific management interventions needed in different locations to counter the trend of decline and its associated drivers.
The endangered proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is a sexually highly dimorphic Old World primate endemic to the island of Borneo. Previous studies focused mainly on its ecology and behavior, but knowledge of its vocalizations is limited. The present study provides quantified information on vocal rate and on the vocal acoustics of the prominent calls of this species. We audio-recorded vocal behavior of 10 groups over two 4-month periods at the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah, Borneo. We observed monkeys and recorded calls in evening and morning sessions at sleeping trees along riverbanks. We found no differences in the vocal rate between evening and morning observation sessions. Based on multiparametric analysis, we identified acoustic features of the four common call-types "shrieks," "honks," "roars," and "brays." "Chorus" events were also noted in which multiple callers produced a mix of vocalizations. The four call-types were distinguishable based on a combination of fundamental frequency variation, call duration, and degree of voicing. Three of the call-types can be considered as "loud calls" and are therefore deemed promising candidates for non-invasive, vocalization-based monitoring of proboscis monkeys for conservation purposes.
Balancing economic development with international commitments to protect biodiversity is a global challenge. Achieving this balance requires an understanding of the possible consequences of alternative future scenarios for a range of stakeholders. We employ an integrated economic and environmental planning approach to evaluate four alternative futures for the mega-diverse island of Borneo. We show what could be achieved if the three national jurisdictions of Borneo coordinate efforts to achieve their public policy targets and allow a partial reallocation of planned land uses. We reveal the potential for Borneo to simultaneously retain ∼50% of its land as forests, protect adequate habitat for the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Bornean elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis), and achieve an opportunity cost saving of over US$43 billion. Such coordination would depend on enhanced information sharing and reforms to land-use planning, which could be supported by the increasingly international nature of economies and conservation efforts.
Geographically isolated populations of endemic orchids have evolved and adapted to an existence within specifi c ecological niches. These populations are highly susceptible to anthropogenic
infl uences on their microhabitats. The primary objective of conservation programs is the restoration of endangered populations to their ecologically sustainable levels, and the fi rst stage in the process of conservation involves estimation of molecular diversity at the level of the population. The approach described in this article involves the application of RAPD, Microsatellites and Chloroplast DNA markers for the characterization of the genetic structure of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum and Phalaenopsis gigantea, two endangered and endemic orchids of Sabah. This study has isolated a total of 96 microsatellite loci in P. rothschildianum and P. gigantea, 42 specifi c primer pairs have been designed for amplifi cation of microsatellite loci and are currently being applied to screen the breeding pools. The Chloroplast DNA regions amplifi ed by the primer pairs trnH-psbA and trnL-trnF exhibit distinct polymorphisms and can be used to establish phylogenetic
relationships. The ability of microsatellite loci to cross-amplify selected varieties of orchids has been determined. The molecular markers developed will be applied to estimate population diversity
levels and to formulate long-term management strategies for the conservation of endangered species of orchids of Sabah.
Molecular techniques involving the application of DNA based molecular markers for the conservation and management of endemic and endangered species have assumed significance as
genome sequencing projects have generated an extensive database which can be mined for informative genomic regions. Scientific approaches towards conservation involve several stages, which encompass determination of appropriate genomic regions for characterization, design and testing of specific molecular markers, screening of multiple populations and statistical treatment and
interpretation of data. Population data can be utilized to develop controlled breeding and relocation programs aimed at ensuring that genetic diversity within populations of endangered species is
sustained within the context of an overall conservation program. The information derived as a result of this approach can be applied to establish a scientific and legal framework for the conservation of endemic species. Species specific genomic markers can be applied to enforce the implementation of CITES within the guidelines of a national biodiversity conservation policy.
The endangered Asian tapir (Tapirus indicus) is threatened by large-scale habitat loss, forest fragmentation and increased hunting pressure. Conservation planning for this species, however, is hampered by a severe paucity of information on its ecology and population status. We present the first Asian tapir population density estimate from a camera trapping study targeting tigers in a selectively logged forest within Peninsular Malaysia using a spatially explicit capture-recapture maximum likelihood based framework. With a trap effort of 2496 nights, 17 individuals were identified corresponding to a density (standard error) estimate of 9.49 (2.55) adult tapirs/100 km(2) . Although our results include several caveats, we believe that our density estimate still serves as an important baseline to facilitate the monitoring of tapir population trends in Peninsular Malaysia. Our study also highlights the potential of extracting vital ecological and population information for other cryptic individually identifiable animals from tiger-centric studies, especially with the use of a spatially explicit capture-recapture maximum likelihood based framework.
Mammalian carnivores play a vital role in ecosystem functioning. However, they are prone to extinction because of low population densities and growth rates, and high levels of persecution or exploitation. In tropical biodiversity hotspots such as Peninsular Malaysia, rapid conversion of natural habitats threatens the persistence of this vulnerable group of animals. Here, we carried out the first comprehensive literature review on 31 carnivore species reported to occur in Peninsular Malaysia and updated their probable distribution. We georeferenced 375 observations of 28 species of carnivore from 89 unique geographic locations using records spanning 1948 to 2014. Using the Getis-Ord Gi*statistic and weighted survey records by IUCN Red List status, we identified hotspots of species that were of conservation concern and built regression models to identify environmental and anthropogenic landscape factors associated with Getis-Ord Gi* z scores. Our analyses identified two carnivore hotspots that were spatially concordant with two of the peninsula's largest and most contiguous forest complexes, associated with Taman Negara National Park and Royal Belum State Park. A cold spot overlapped with the southwestern region of the Peninsula, reflecting the disappearance of carnivores with higher conservation rankings from increasingly fragmented natural habitats. Getis-Ord Gi* z scores were negatively associated with elevation, and positively associated with the proportion of natural land cover and distance from the capital city. Malaysia contains some of the world's most diverse carnivore assemblages, but recent rates of forest loss are some of the highest in the world. Reducing poaching and maintaining large, contiguous tracts of lowland forests will be crucial, not only for the persistence of threatened carnivores, but for many mammalian species in general.
A clear understanding of population structure is essential for assessing conservation status and implementing management strategies. A small, non-migratory population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea is classified as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment constrained by a lack of data, including limited understanding of its relationship to other populations. We analysed 11 microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA sequences extracted from 67 Arabian Sea humpback whale tissue samples and compared them to equivalent datasets from the Southern Hemisphere and North Pacific. Results show that the Arabian Sea population is highly distinct; estimates of gene flow and divergence times suggest a Southern Indian Ocean origin but indicate that it has been isolated for approximately 70,000 years, remarkable for a species that is typically highly migratory. Genetic diversity values are significantly lower than those obtained for Southern Hemisphere populations and signatures of ancient and recent genetic bottlenecks were identified. Our findings suggest this is the world's most isolated humpback whale population, which, when combined with low population abundance estimates and anthropogenic threats, raises concern for its survival. We recommend an amendment of the status of the population to "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List.
Fisheries bycatch is a widespread and serious issue that leads to declines of many important and threatened marine species. However, documenting the distribution, abundance, population trends and threats to sparse populations of marine species is often beyond the capacity of developing countries because such work is complex, time consuming and often extremely expensive. We have developed a flexible tool to document spatial distribution and population trends for dugongs and other marine species in the form of an interview questionnaire supported by a structured data upload sheet and a comprehensive project manual. Recognising the effort invested in getting interviewers to remote locations, the questionnaire is comprehensive, but low cost. The questionnaire has already been deployed in 18 countries across the Indo-Pacific region. Project teams spent an average of USD 5,000 per country and obtained large data sets on dugong distribution, trends, catch and bycatch, and threat overlaps. Findings indicated that >50% of respondents had never seen dugongs and that 20% had seen a single dugong in their lifetimes despite living and fishing in areas of known or suspected dugong habitat, suggesting that dugongs occurred in low numbers. Only 3% of respondents had seen mother and calf pairs, indicative of low reproductive output. Dugong hunting was still common in several countries. Gillnets and hook and line were the most common fishing gears, with the greatest mortality caused by gillnets. The questionnaire has also been used to study manatees in the Caribbean, coastal cetaceans along the eastern Gulf of Thailand and western Peninsular Malaysia, and river dolphins in Peru. This questionnaire is a powerful tool for studying distribution and relative abundance for marine species and fishery pressures, and determining potential conservation hotspot areas. We provide the questionnaire and supporting documents for open-access use by the scientific and conservation communities.