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Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 152510591

Towards a national red-list and conservation strategy for Malaysia’s freshwater mussels (Mollusca: Unionida)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 152510591) - Freshwater mussels - Awarded $9,262 on May 11, 2015

Freshwater mussels (Unionida) inhabit freshwater habitats such as streams, rivers, lakes and ponds, but are unable to tolerate conditions of pollution and/or heavy sedimentation. In Malaysia, recent changes in land-use, including the immense increase in deforestation and oil palm-plantations, are likely to severely impact this important part of many freshwater ecosystems. Nevertheless, due to a lack of data, the vast majority of Malaysia’s 25 native freshwater mussel species has not yet been assessed by the IUCN. We aim to develop a National Red-list of freshwater mussels of Malaysia, as well as Action Plans towards the protection of the most vulnerable species. This will be achieved by collecting data on species diversity and distribution, population health, reproductive status and habitat requirements over two months across all provinces of Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. The National red-list will be published and distributed in online and booklet form. Media, NGOs and authorities will be informed of any new red-listed species, the effects of pollution and particular forms of land-use on red-listed species, and potential knock-on effects on freshwater ecosystems. Outreach events including talks and workshops at schools and museum form an integral part of the project. The project will be led by Dr. Alexandra Zieritz, Research Fellow at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and conducted in collaboration with the IUCN and local partners.

Project document