Talk: Pygmy seahorses

Date: 4 July (Friday)
Venue: Hall 4, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC)
Time: 5pm to 6pm
Speaker: Yeong Yee Ling

The Pygmy seahorses (Hippocampus bargibanti and H. denise) have only been discovered and named in the last decade. These tiny, elusive creatures are masters of camouflage – their body colouration and ornamentation matches exactly with their gorgonian hosts.

The uniqueness of these seahorses has garnered vast attention from divers and they are highly valued by the diving industry. In Sabah, anecdotal evidence claimed that one sea fan with a colony of pygmy seahorses had been frequented by some 100 divers per day. Such disturbances, caused especially by photographers who take close up snapshots with intense flashlights, could adversely impact the species currently listed as “Data Deficient” by the IUCN. Several sightings of the pygmy seahorses at a few islands in Sabah were reported, but virtually nothing is known about the population status and possible threats. There are also no policies in place for their protection.

Yeong Yee Ling, who is currently conducting a study on pygmy seahorses at the islands of Sabah, will be giving a talk on these elusive creatures at the Malaysian International Dive Expo 2008 (MIDE 2008).

Yee Ling, a native of Kuala Lumpur, chose to study Marine Life since 2000, after a vacation with her family at the beautiful island of Pulau Redang. She went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (formerly known as KUSTEM). Awarded the Dean’s List in five consecutive semesters in her degree, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology with First Class Honours in 2007. Currently a postgraduate student in Marine Biology, she conducts research on pygmy seahorses. She hopes to document the distribution, habitat requirements and possible threats to the pygmy seahorses. Lastly, she is also a committee member of Save Our Seahorses (SOS) in Malaysia.

Come and join us for this interesting talk. For more information, please contact Khatijah of Marine SIG (013-7708204, ija_02@yahoo.com). For more information on MIDE 2008, visit http://www.mide.com.my.

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