2010 | FCRR 18(3)
Edited by Maria Lourdes D. Palomares and Daniel Pauly.
I was informed by the authors of this report that this contribution is part one of a two-part final report of the results of a SeaLifeBase mini-project funded by the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (Los Baños, Philippines) whose goals were to improve the coverage of marine biodiversity, notably of invertebrates, of Southeast Asia. Also, this project was to make the assembled data on nomenclature, geography, biology and ecology available online through the SeaLifeBase website (www.sealifebase.org) and the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity’s information sharing service (www.aseanbiodiversity.org/biss). The latter is a regional node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, devoted to repatriating biodiversity data to Southeast Asia. Part 1 of this final report includes 4 contributions on national and regional biodiversity accounts, 2 papers on life history and a paper on tourism and management of the biodiversity it depends on and affects. Part 2 of this series will include 4 additional regional biodiversity accounts (on the South China Sea) and 2 contributions on biology. In the process of performing this task, the SeaLifeBase team unearthed a trove of information which comprises important studies of invertebrate groups, and which, as part of SeaLifeBase, contributes to a comprehensive picture of marine biodiversity of Southeast Asia, in particular, the South China Sea. In addition, a few ‘relict’ manuscripts were unearthed, e.g., on the flatfishes of the Philippines (Cabanban et al., this volume), which had not found their way into the scientific literature, and merited being included in this two-part series. SeaLifeBase’s focus on this region, the world’s center of marine biodiversity, also identified important information gaps, concerning groups which had not been studied adequately, e.g., the smaller species of cuttlefishes, which are usually lumped with the larger species when reported in fisheries catch statistics and are therefore not properly studied (Palomares and Dar, this volume). Other, apparent, information is created when Southeast Asian scientists publish in their own languages, e.g., Thai, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia or Chinese. Biodiversity databases such as SeaLifeBase (and FishBase for that matter) are limited in the capture of data published in non-English languages. However, this can be overcome, as exemplified by the work of Huang et al. (this volume) for the marine biodiversity of China. I congratulate the editors and authors of this report for their efforts in helping to overcome the various obstacles which have so far prevented the emergence of a full account of marine biodiversity in Southeast Asia.
Ussif Rashid Sumaila
Director and Associate Professor, The Fisheries Centre