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Sabah’s coral reefs are home to some of the largest, most varied communities of marine life on earth, with hundreds of species of fish and corals of different shapes and sizes. Apart from their biological significance, these reefs fringe a number of exotic islands which have become important centres for marine research and conservation. This aptly describes the reefs of Teluk Malohom, the place MERC calls home.
Three marine ecosystems can be found in this serene bay – coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds - each with their respective crucial roles in supporting life found both on land and in the water. At the very basic level, these ecosystems provide a source of food and income to humans, act as important habitats for marine life, and protect shorelines from erosion.
Marine life attracts visitors through recreation, be it extraction via sport fishing, or to admire through the lens of a dive mask. Oceanic plant life supports our very ability to breathe by releasing oxygen through photosynthesis.
Recognition of these important ecosystem functions and the myriad of life within them create purpose for MERC. Coral restoration work aims directly at improving the conditions of the reefs. Giant clam propagation aims to return these species to the environment, in turn improving the conditions of the underwater world. Environmental education teaches the uninformed about these functions in hopes to increase support for the plight of these ecosystems.