Capacity Building for Fish Taxonomy in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, including the Indo-Malayan Archipelago, is known as the region with the highest marine fish diversity in the world, with about 3,000 shorefish species (Carpenter and Springer 2005). Although this region has been studied by ichthyologists for more than 200 years (e.g., Pieter Bleeker, Max Weber, Lieven F. de Beaufort, John E. Randall, and Gerald R. Allen), many new fish are still being reported (Eschmeyer and Fricke 2011). When researching the history of ichthyology in the region, it became clear that taxonomic studies on fish were done primarily by ichthyologists from other regions, including Europe, the United States, and Japan. There are various reasons why fish taxonomy has not been conducted by local scientists. It appears that impediments to local fish taxonomy resulted from inadequate resources for fish taxonomy including few ichthyologists, few fish collections, and limited references including a lack of field guides to local fish. When considering the importance of sustaining biodiversity in this region, there is little doubt that capacity building for taxonomy should be a priority to understand and conserve the biodiversity of the region.
KeywordsNational Museum Coral Reef Fish Local Fish Field Guide Fish Diversity
I thank the members of the Fish Team, who each made a great contribution to the JSPS CMS project. On behalf of the Fish Team, I thank the JSPS and the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, for providing us with funds for fieldwork and publications. My thanks also go to the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo in Japan, the LIPI in Indonesia, the Phuket Marine Biological Center in Thailand, the University of the Philippines in Visayas, Philippines, the Universiti Kebangsaan and the Universiti Putra Malaysia in Malaysia, and the Institute for Marine Environment and Resource and the Research Institute for Marine Fisheries in Vietnam for their continuous help for the Fish Group. I thank Edward Murdy of the National Science Foundation for kindly reading the manuscript and offering helpful comments.
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