Taman Negara Pulau Pinang (Penang National Park) is the only site on Pulau Pinang that supports a large population of the White-bellied Sea-eagle (WBSE) Haliaeetus leucogaster; however, the nesting sites of WBSEs have not been widely studied. As information on the location of WBSE nesting sites is very important for conservation works by local authorities, the objective of this study was to determine the distribution of nesting WBSEs in the coastal dipterocarp forest of Penang National Park. Surveys were conducted from December 2007 to July 2008 and October 2008 to April 2009, covering the breeding season of the species (September-July). The nesting sites were observed by boat along the coastline of Penang National Park and by performing ground surveys along the seashore at accessible areas; the nest survey was conducted three days/month from 0900 to 1500. A total of 34 WBSE nesting sites was located. Most of the occupied nests (seven nests) were found at Muka Head and Pantai Kerachut areas, which exhibit the densest concentration of occupied WBSE habitat in Penang National Park. WBSEs preferred to build their nests around Muka Head, which could be due to the frequent occurrence of whirlpools in the water body around that area. Aquatic animals, such as sea snakes and fish, stunned by the whirlpools would emerge to the sea surface, facilitating the foraging and feeding of WBSEs. Our results indicate that it is important to maintain and improve areas of suitable nesting habitat for WBSEs. Management actions should include (1) the yearly monitoring of known breeding sites throughout Penang National Park during the breeding season to determine breeding success over time, (2) recognising the critical habitat or nest-site selection of WBSEs, (3) establishment of a buffer zone surrounding nesting sites and potential habitat from human disturbance, and (4) encouraging on-going research to further understand this species.
Fruit phenotypes are often hypothesised to be affected by selection by frugivores. Here, we tested two hypotheses concerning frugivore-fruit interactions from the perspective of fruit colours. We measured the spectral properties of 26 fruits and the associated leaves of plants from 2 islands in New Zealand. Visual observations were also performed to record the birds that fed on the fruits. First, we tested the fruit-foliage hypothesis, where fruit colours are assumed to be evolutionarily constrained by their own leaf colour to maximise colour contrast and fruit conspicuousness. We ran a null model analysis comparing fruit colour contrast using an avian eye model. Second, we tested the frugivore specificity hypothesis, where specific fruit colours are thought to be connected with a specific bird frugivore. We performed a regression on the number of bird visits against the fruit colour in tetrahedral colour space based on an avian eye calculation using Mantel's test. The results show that fruit colours are not constrained by their own leaf colours. There is also no relationship or pattern suggesting a link between a specific fruit colour and specific bird visitors. We suggest that although fruit colour is one of the most highly discussed components, it is not the most important single deciding factor in frugivore fruit selection.
Environmental factors can play important roles in influencing waterbird communities. In particular, weather may have various biological and ecological impacts on the breeding activities of waterbirds, though most studies have investigated the effect of weather on the late stages of waterbird breeding (e.g., hatching rate, chick mortality). Conversely, the present study attempts to highlight the influence of weather on the early nesting activities of waterbirds by evaluating a recently established mixed-species colony in Putrajaya Wetlands, Malaysia. The results show that only rainfall and temperature have a significant influence on the species' nesting activities. Rainfall activity is significantly correlated with the Grey Heron's rate of establishment (rainfall: rs = 0.558, p = 0.03, n = 72) whereas both temperature and rainfall are associated with Painted Stork's nesting density (temperature: rs = 0.573, p = 0.013; rainfall: rs = -0.662, p = 0.03, n = 48). There is a possibility that variations in the rainfall and temperature provide a cue for the birds to initiate their nesting. Regardless, this paper addresses concerns on the limitations faced in the study and suggests long-term studies for confirmation.
The mass mortality of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) within 2-3 days was reported by 3 private farms in Bukit Tambun, Pulau Pinang, in February and March 2007. Only cobia with body weights of 3-4 kg were affected. Most diseased cobia swam on the surface and displayed flashing behaviour. All samples were positive for viral nervous necrosis (VNN) with low to medium levels of infection. Infestations by leeches (Zeylanicobdella arugamensis), body monogeneans (Benedenia sp.) and copepods (Caligus sp.) were also found, but no pathogenic bacteria were isolated. All water quality parameters monitored were within optimal ranges for culturing cobia. The main causes of high mortality in cobia remain unclear during the study. However, we believe that the mass mortality of cobia could be probably due to VNN infection and that the rate of mortality will increase further when cobia are subjected to aquaculture-related stresses (e.g., limited space). Traditional cages with a size of 2 (length) × 2 (width) × 1 m (depth) should only be used for rearing cobia below 1 kg in weight given the species' natural behaviours. In addition, cobia fingerlings should be screened for VNN prior to stocking them in cages.
Three Malaysian ginger cultivars (Bukit Tinggi, Tanjung Sepat and Sabah) were collected and examined for genetic polymorphisms using microsatellite DNA primers. The single microsatellite oligonucleotide primers (CATA)5, (GATA)5 and (GAC)6 were used in polymerase chain reactions (PCRs). These PCR reactions produced 7 polymorphic bands with an average of 2.334 polymorphic bands per primer, leading to an average polymorphism rate of 17.9%. Cluster analysis revealed 87.50% similarity between Bukit Tinggi and Tanjung Sepat, 64.27% similarity between Bukit Tinggi and Sabah and 56.25% similarity between Tanjung Sepat and Sabah. DNA sequencing of the polymorphic PCR products of Tanjung Sepat ginger revealed the characteristic features of a putative new gene: a core promoter sequence, an enhancer and a transcription start site. Cluster analysis using the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA) was used to construct a phylogenetic tree, which indicated that Bukit Tinggi ginger is genetically more closely related to Tanjung Sepat ginger than to Sabah ginger. Based on the results of this study, we concluded that there is genotypic variation among ginger cultivars, and the microsatellite DNA primers described here are useful for detecting polymorphic DNA in Malaysian ginger cultivars. Additionally, these microsatellite DNA primers may be used as molecular markers for discriminating among select Malaysian ginger cultivars.
In this study, Centella asiatica and surface soils were collected from 12 sampling sites in Peninsular Malaysia, and the barium (Ba) concentrations were determined. The Ba concentration [μg/g dry weight (dw)] was 63.72 to 382.01 μg/g in soils while in C. asiatica, Ba concentrations ranged from 5.05 to 21.88 μg/g for roots, 3.31 to 11.22 μg/g for leaves and 2.37 to 6.14 μg/g for stems. In C. asiatica, Ba accumulation was found to be the highest in roots followed by leaves and stems. The correlation coefficients (r) of Ba between plants and soils were found to be significantly positively correlated, with the highest correlation being between roots-soils (r=0.922, p<005), followed by leaves-soils (r=0.890, p<005) and stems-soils (r=0.848, p<005). This indicates that these three parts of C. asiatica are good biomonitors of Ba pollution. For the transplantation study, four sites were selected as unpolluted [(Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)], semi-polluted (Seri Kembangan and Balakong) and polluted sites (Juru). Based on the transplantation study under experimental field and laboratory conditions, Ba concentrations in C. asiatica were significantly (p<0.05) higher after three weeks of exposure at Seri Kembangan, Balakong and Juru. Thus, these experimental findings confirm that the leaves, stems and roots of C. asiatica can reflect the Ba levels in the soils where this plant is found. Three weeks after back transplantation to clean soils, the Ba levels in C. asiatica were still higher than the initial Ba level even though Ba elimination occurred. In conclusion, the leaves, stems and roots of C. asiatica are good biomonitors of Ba pollution.
The distribution of benthic Foraminifera throughout the coastal waters of Taman Negara Pulau Pinang (Penang National Park), Malaysia was studied to assess the impact of various anthropogenic activities, such as fishing, ecotourism and floating cage culture. Samples were obtained at 200 m intervals within the subtidal zone, extending up to 1200 m offshore at Teluk Bahang, Teluk Aling, Teluk Ketapang and Pantai Acheh. The depth within coastal waters ranged between 1.5 m and 10.0 m, with predominantly muddy substrate at most stations. Water quality analysis showed little variation in micronutrient (nitrite, NO2; nitrate, NO3; ammonia, NH4 and orthophosphate, PO4) concentrations between sampling stations. Temperature (29.6±0.48°C), salinity (29.4±0.28 ppt), dissolved oxygen content (5.4±0.95 mg/l) and pH (8.5± 0.13) also showed little fluctuation between stations. A total of nine genera of foraminifera were identified in the study (i.e., Ammonia, Elphidium, Ammobaculites, Bigenerina, Quinqueloculina, Reopax, Globigerina, Textularia and Nonion). The distribution of benthic foraminifera was dominated by opportunistic groups that have a high tolerance to anthropogenic stressors. Ammonia had the highest frequency of occurrence (84.7%), followed by Bigenerina (50%), Ammobaculites (44.2%) and Elphidium (38.9%). The Ammonia-Elphidium Index (AEI) was used to describe the hypoxic condition of benthic communities at all sites. Teluk Bahang had the highest AEI value. The foraminiferal assemblages and distribution in Teluk Bahang, Teluk Aling, Teluk Ketapang and Pantai Acheh showed no correlation with physical or chemical environmental parameters.
This paper aimed to describe the effects of sand mining on the Kelantan River with respect to physical and chemical parameter analyses. Three replicates of water samples were collected from five stations along the Kelantan River (November 2010 until February 2011). The physical parameters included water temperature, water conductivity, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS) and turbidity, whereas the chemical parameters included the concentration of nitrogen nutrients such as ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. The Kelantan River case study revealed that TSS, turbidity and nitrate contents exceed the Malaysian Interim National Water Quality Standard (INWQS) range and are significantly different between Station 1 (KK) and Station 3 (TM). Station 1 has the largest variation of TDS, TSS, turbidity and nitrogen nutrients because of sand mining and upstream logging activities. The extremely high content of TSS and the turbidity have caused poor and stressful conditions for the aquatic life in the Kelantan River.
Heterologous prime-boost immunisation strategies can evoke powerful antibody responses and may be of value in developing an improved malaria vaccine. Herein, we show that an immunisation protocol that primes Balb/c mice with a recombinant Bacille Calmette-Guérin (rBCG) vaccine consisting of a plasmid encoding a synthetic fragment of the ESAT-6 epitope of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the fragment 2 region II of erythrocyte-binding antigen (F2RIIEBA) and the three repeat sequences of the circumsporozoite protein (NANP)3 of Plasmodium falciparum before subsequently boosting the mice with either two doses of the rBCG clone or with a DNA vaccine expressing the native form of F2RIIEBA generating higher serum anti-F2RIIEBA antibody levels than an immunisation protocol that calls for a homologous prime-boost with two doses of rBCG. These results demonstrate the potential of DNA vaccination in boosting the antibody response to a recombinant vaccine expressing multiple epitopes.
Staphylococcus kloosii, an orange pigment-producing bacterium, was isolated from the respiratory tree of Holothuria (Mertensiothuria) leucospilota (Brandt 1835) from Teluk Nipah, Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia. This report is the first documentation of this Gram-positive strain, referred to as Strain 68 in Malaysia. A partial 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence of the mesophilic strain has been registered with GenBank (National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine) with accession number JX102547. Phylogenetic analysis using the neighbour-joining method further supported the identification of Strain 68 as S. kloosii. The circular strain produced orange pigments on tryptone glucose yeast extract agar (TGYEA) and in nutrient broth (NB) at approximately pH 7. The visible spectra of ethanolic and methanolic pigment extracts of the bacterial strain were considered identical with λmax at 426, 447 and 475 nm and λmax at 426, 445 and 473 nm, respectively. Both visible spectra resemble the visible spectra of lutein, which is a commercial carotenoid; however, further analyses are required to confirm the identity of this pigment. The methanolic extracts of the intracellular pigments comprised at least three pigment compounds: an orange pigment compound (major compound), a yellow pigment compound (the least polar) and a pink pigment compound (the most polar). These findings are the first documentation of the pigment composition of S. kloosii as no such record could be found to date.
A total of 34 bacterial isolates were obtained from soil samples collected from Changar Hot Spring, Malang, Indonesia. Of these, 13 isolates produced a zone of hydrolysis in starch-nutrient agar medium and generated various amylases in liquid medium. One isolate was selected as the best amylase producer and was identified as Bacillus licheniformis BT5.9. The improvement of culture conditions (initial medium pH of 5.0, cultivation temperature of 50°C, agitation speed of 100 rpm and inoculum size of 1.7 × 10(9) cells/ml) provided the highest amylase production (0.327 U/ml).
Nine soil samples from nine buildings infested with Coptotermes gestroi in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, were tested for the type of soil texture. The soil texture analysis procedures used the hydrometer method. Four of nine buildings (44%) yielded loamy sand-type soil, whereas five of nine buildings (56%) contained sandy loam-type soil.
Fungal endophytes are found inside host plants but do not produce any noticeable disease symptoms in their host. In the present study, endophytic Fusarium species were isolated from roots of lawn grass (Axonopus compressus). A total of 51 isolates were recovered from 100 root segments. Two Fusarium species, F. oxysporum (53%) and F. solani (47%), were identified based on macroconidia and conidiogenous cell morphology. The detection of endophytic F. oxysporum and F. solani in the roots of lawn grass contributes to the knowledge of both the distribution of the two Fusarium species and the importance of roots as endophytic niches for Fusarium species.
A total of six wild broodstocks of tiger prawns, Penaeus monodon, were found positive for White Spot Virus (WSV) with an IQ2000 detection kit. Using histopathology, the intranuclear inclusion of haemocyte due to WSV infection was observed in the epithelium cells of the antennal gland, stomach and gills. This result confirmed that the wild broodstocks were positive with WSV without showing any white spot. Additionally, histopathological examination also revealed an accumulation of haemocytes around the hepatopancreatic tubules resulting from bacterial infection. Encapsulation and nodule formation, as well as related necrosis, were also observed around the hepatopancreatic tubules infected with a metazoan parasite. Encysted tylocephalum larval cestodes were observed in the hepatopancreas, with haemocytic aggregation being observed around the infected tubules. These findings showed some bacterial and parasitic infections which, in addition to the viral infection itself, could contribute to the 80% mortality rate in wild broodstocks infected with WSV.
Bird surveys were conducted in the Bukit Kepala Gajah limestone area in Lenggong, Perak from July 2010 to January 2011. The study area was divided into three zones: forest edge, forest intermediate and forest interior. A point-count distance sampling method was used in the bird surveys. The study recorded 7789 detections, representing 100 bird species belonging to 28 families. Pycnonotidae, Timaliidae and Nectariniidae were the dominant families overall and showed the highest number of observations recorded in the study area whereas Motacillidae showed the fewest observations. The bird species were grouped into three feeding guilds: insectivores, frugivores and others (omnivores, carnivores, nectarivores and granivores). The species richness of insectivorous birds differed significantly among the forest zones sampled (Kruskal-Wallis: α=0.05, H=10.979, d.f.=2, p=0.004), with more insectivorous birds occurring in the forest interior. No significant differences were found among the zones in the species richness of either the frugivore guild or the composite others guild.
Chironomus javanus (Kieffer) and Chironomus kiiensis Tokunaga were redescribed from materials collected from a rice field in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. The larvae can only be distinguished after careful preparation and examination using a compound microscope, but the pupae were not useful to differentiate C. javanus from C. kiiensis. The adult specimens showed clear body and wing characteristics for rapid and accurate identification.
The Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the only sea turtles with recorded landings in the Pulau Pinang coastal area. The Green Turtle has been the most abundant and widely distributed sea turtle in this area since it was first surveyed in 1995. Statistical analysis by the Pulau Pinang Department of Fisheries on the distribution of sea turtles from 2001 through 2009 has identified Pantai Kerachut and Telok Kampi as the most strongly preferred beaches for Green Turtle landings, with records for almost every month in every year. Green Turtle tracks and nests have also been found along the coast of Pulau Pinang at Batu Ferringhi, Tanjong Bungah, Pantai Medan, Pantai Belanda, Telok Kumbar, Gertak Sanggul, Moonlight Beach, Telok Duyung, Telok Aling, Telok Bahang and Telok Katapang. The Olive Ridley Turtle is present in smaller numbers; landing and nesting have only been recorded on a few beaches. There are no previous records of Olive Ridley landings at Pantai Kerachut and Telok Kampi, but tracks and nests have been found at Telok Kumbar, Tanjong Bungah, Pantai Medan, Telok Duyung and Gertak Sanggul. A Turtle Conservation Centre has been established at Pantai Kerachut to protect these species from extinction in Pulau Pinang. This paper presents details of the records and distribution of sea turtles in Pulau Pinang from 1995 through 2009.
To investigate the distribution of Anacardiaceae in Teluk Bahang Permanent Forest Reserve (TBPFR) in Pulau Pinang, all trees with a diameter at breast high (DBH) ≥ 5 cm were enumerated in a study site constituting 0.4 ha of the reserve. Seventy five individuals of Anacardiaceae (14% of all trees) are recorded. These individuals represent 4 genera and 5 species, namely, Mangifera pentandra, Mangifera macrocarpa, Gluta elegans, Campnosperma auriculatum and Swintonia floribunda. The mean density of Anacardiaceae within the study plots is 7.50±8.14 (mean±S.D.) per ha whereas the basal area (BA) calculated is 0.97 m(2)/0.40 ha. The importance value (IVi) for Anacardiaceae is 81%. The estimated total aboveground biomass (TAGB) for Anacardiaceae is 24.24 ton/0.40 ha. A total of 333 Anacardiaceae saplings with a DBH < 5 cm are recorded. These saplings have been identified as juveniles of the genera Gluta (9.99%), Swintonia (84.90%) and Mangifera (5.11%).
The palm oil industry has played an important role in the economic development of Malaysia and has enhanced the economic welfare of its people. To determine the environmental impact of the oil palm seedling at the nursery stage, information on inputs and outputs need to be assessed. The oil palm nursery is the first link in the palm oil supply chain. A gate-to-gate study was carried out whereby the system boundary was set to only include the process of the oil palm seedling. The starting point was a germinated seed in a small polyethylene bag (6 in × 9 in) in which it remained until the seedling was approximately 3 to 4 months old. The seedling was then transferred into a larger polyethylene bag (12 in × 15 in), where it remained until it was 10-12 months old, when it was planted in the field (plantation). The functional unit for this life cycle inventory (LCI) is based on the production of one seedling. Generally, within the system boundary, the production of an oil palm seedling has only two major environmental impact points, the polybags used to grow the seedling and the fungicide (dithiocarbamate) used to control pathogenic fungi, as both the polybags and the dithiocarbamate are derived from fossil fuel.
A field study was conducted at two localities on Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, during two consecutive mango flowering seasons in 2009 to identify variations in the species composition of thrips infesting treated and untreated mango (Mangifera indica L.) orchards. The CO2 immobilisation technique and the cutting method were used to recover different thrips species from mango panicles and weed host plants, respectively. The mango panicles and various weed species within the treated orchard were found to harbour four thrips species from the family Thripidae. These species were identified as Thrips hawaiiensis (Morgan), Scirtothrips dorsalis (Hood), Frankliniella schultzei (Trybom) and Megalurothrips usitatus (Bagnall). The weed species Mimosa pudica, Cleome rutidosperma, Echinochloa colonum, Borreria laevicaulis, Veronia cinerea and Asystasia coromandeliana served as additional hosts to these thrips. Six thrips species were found in the untreated orchard. These species included Thrips palmi (Karny), Haplothrips sp. (Amyot and Serville) and the four thrips species found in the treated orchard. A brief description of the larvae for each genus is provided.