Branch AGM and Talk: Seagrass Blindness: Why it matters more than we think


We'd like to invite MNS members to attend a talk on "Seagrass Blindness: Why it matters more than we think" by Jillian Ooi Lean Sim, PhD from the Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya. The MNS Selangor Branch AGM will follow the talk. There will be an Election of Branch Committee Members for the term 2019 – 2021.


"Marine conservation in Malaysia is coral reef-centric and seagrass-blind. Our reefs command the attention they deserve in terms of funding and media attention, but it is time to extend the spotlight to sea grasslands - an equally splendid ecosystem that provides critically important environmental services to us but remains largely hidden from the public eye.

In this talk, I will walk you through the splendour in our sea grasslands in the form of the cryptic and iconic creatures that live and feed there. I will introduce you to the work that our team does in researching how seagrass provides unique services that sustain life in the seas.

You will hear about the threats to this ecosystem in Malaysia, and the challenges that seagrass researchers face in their work. You will be asked to consider what you can do as a citizen scientist to help overcome seagrass blindness so that this declining ecosystem may once again reclaim our shorelines, and earn a place in our imagination and affection."


Jillian started out as an environmental social scientist who found prolonged human contact quite unsuited to her nature, and so shifted to studying marine plants. While doing seaweed ecology for her Master’s degree at the University of Malaya, Jillian was drawn to the lush seagrass meadows she encountered in Johor. She went on to pursue a PhD in Seagrass Biogeography at the University of Western Australia, where she worked on understanding how different species of seagrass respond to different environmental pressures.

When Jillian returned to Malaysia in 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Malaya, she directed her attention toward raising the public profile of seagrass. Consequently, she focused on exploring its role as habitat and feeding grounds for fish and dugongs.

When Jillian is not watching seagrass grow, she plays and composes for the Malay gamelan, and is the Artistic Director of the Rhythm in Bronze Gamelan Ensemble. She considers the Sea her primary source of musical inspiration.


12:30pm - Registration & Lunch

1:30pm - Talk by Jillian Ooi, PhD

2:30pm - MNS Selangor Branch AGM

5pm - Tea

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