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Vol 47, February 2020

The arrival of Portuguese man o' war to Terengganu shore this year has induced ‘excitements’ amongst locals and scientists alike. The occurrence of this ‘jellyfish’ in our shoreline is not new but this year the numbers has increased and it can be found in many beaches. First occurrence were reported in early February 2020 in Pantai Pulau Kekabu Marang followed by Pantai Pengkalan Maras and Pantai Telok Ketapang, Kuala Nerus.

Based on genetic study, Portuguese man o' war can be divided into two species which is Physillia phasalis from the Atlantic Ocean and P. utriculus from Pacific and the Indian Ocean. The wide distribution of P. physalis and the high level of genetic variations within the species suggested that it might consist of substantial cryptic species (Pontin and Cruickshank, 2012). Initial findings from Pantai Pulau Kekabu man o' war had confirmed that the species is P. physalis and further genetics research is underway to determine the connection of samples from Terengganu with worldwide samples of P. physalis.

Man o war is not a real jellyfish but a siphonophore which is a colony or organism that live together and function like an organism and is more related to coral and sea anemone then jellyfishes. The sail is filled with gas and allow it to float on the surface while the tentacles are submerged underwater. It cannot move on its own and has to rely on the wind and waves for movement. Strong winds will cause it to wash ashore and come into contact with human. The tentacles has nematocyst (stinging cell) that can deliver a painful sting and the pain can last for a few days.  It is advisable to wash the infected area with water to get rid of the unfired nematocysts. The area can be treat with vinegar, hot water (45°C) or ice pack. Immersion in 45°C hot water for 20 minutes was recommended based on previous study conducted (Loten et al., 2006).
In conjunction with the Malaysian Technology Expo (MTE) 2020, UMT STEM Foundation Centre have participated in Asian Youth Innovation (AYI) Award.  Despite being the youngest participant, they have won two golds from ‘STEM Port 4.0’ and ‘Oob-Bull-Jack’ project and a silver from project ‘Geranium Air Freshener’ innovation project. The Gold winner award ‘Oob-Bull-Jack’ was also granted a special award by the Croatian Inventors Network.

Held in Putra World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur from 20th to 22nd February 2020, MTE exhibited inventions and innovations from over 17 countries.  where industries and professionals from around the world gather in learning about latest inventions thus leading to shaping a culture of excellence. This expo has benefitted the STEM Foundation Centre students by enhancing their soft skills, networking and at the same time gaining vast experience and knowledge from other participants and exhibitors.
Source: Assoc. Prof. Dr Laili Haji Che` Rose, Director STEM Foundation Centre

On the 2nd February 2020, about 50 staff and students of the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development attended a large state event of about 350 people for the environmental awareness at the Setiu Wetland. With the Terengganu Government officials, local communities, NGOs and school children, we participated in observing wetland nature, planting of mangrove trees, colouring competition, rubbish collection and releasing of terrapins. The Director of the Terengganu State Park, Tengku Mohd Arfin A. Rahman welcomed all the participants for the event that was officiated by the State Secretary Dato' Mohd Zahari Md Azahar. Since the tourism industry had contributed RM1.47 billion to the state of Terengganu, the existence of nature-based facilities could attract niche visitors who are interested in biodiversity.

The recently-renovated boardwalk allowed us to access, and enjoy the rich wetland biodiversity in the heart of the Setiu Wetland. Tiny fiddler crabs welcomed us at the entrance whilst larger mudflat crabs were seen amongst mangrove roots. In the watercourses, there were many small fish. If you are lucky you may be able to see otters and various wetland birds.

The highlight of the event was probably the release of terrapins into the lagoon. So many schoolchildren, as well as adults, wanted to release them and take pictures of them, forming a large crowd along the lagoon shore. We hope that the event contributed to raising environmental awareness amongst the young people, some of whom may grow up to work for biodiversity and the local community through conservation and sustainable development around the Setiu Wetland and Terengganu.

Sources: Assoc. Prof. Dr Nobuyuki Yamaguchi; and Prof. Taj BIO-D TROPIKA. The visual documentation is available in YouTube Taj Abdullah UMT Channel


On February 1, 2020, a workshop was held in the seminar room of the Faculty of Science and Marine Environment (FSSM), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT). The workshop was jointly organised by the Persatuan Penternak Arnab Pedaging Terengganu (APT), Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development (BIO-D TROPIKA) as co-host with the State Department of Veterinary Services.
A total of 65 participants from local entrepreneurs, small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), youths and B40s attended a one-day workshop. The workshop was officiated by the state veterinary Director, Dr Mohd Termizi Mohd; and was also attended by the Director of BIO-D TROPIKA, Prof Taj; Deputy Chairman of Malaysian Rabbit Breeders Association (MARBA) and officers from the interest.
Mr Mohd Syawal Ahmad, a successful breeder from Opah Farm was invited to deliver a basic course on breeding management and preparation. He was assisted by APT members, led participants in hands-on activities that cover slaughtering, skinning technique, meat packaging and a demonstration on cooking. The workshop had a positive reaction among the participants.
In line with the envision Sustainable Development Goals 2030, National Entrepreneurship Policy 2030 and Terengganu Entrepreneur Development, state veterinary set a target of 500 rabbit meat available per day in the market starting this August. As the responsible body, the department is always encouraging and willing to help in terms of administration and resource management, livestock industry development and will provide a basic slaughterhouse with Halal certification. Meanwhile, the Faculty of Fisheries and Food Sciences (FPSM), UMT as a centre in food research is keen to help by providing service in food production, maintaining food quality and marketing.
Sources: Mohd Noor Afiq Ramlee, Muhammad Syahrunizan Abdul Rashid, M.T. Abdullah - Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development (BIO-D TROPIKA); & Muhammad Tarmizy Alias  Chairman of Persatuan Penternak Arnab Pedaging Terengganu.

During her visit to UMT in September, the High Commissioner of Canada in Malaysia, Julia G. Bentley, highlighted the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchange for Development (SEED). These scholarship offer opportunities for students from ASEAN member states to participate in short-term studies or research at Canadian post-secondary institutions, as part of their degree from their home university, in fields that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She expressed the hope that undergraduate and postgraduate students from University Malaysia Terengganu would apply for this scholarship program. The application deadline for 2020-2021 is early March 2020. More details can be found at this link

Starting in 2020 the SEED program will include a component for mid-career professionals, which is intended to allow individuals from the public or private sectors or academics to go to Canada for a short period for professional development. The application deadline for this is likely to be early February. Details are available on the same website.
Source: Bethany Tien, Trade Commissioner - High Commission of Canada in Malaysia 
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The Chancellery, 
University of Malaysia Terengganu, 21030,
Terengganu, Malaysia

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Universiti Malaysia Terengganu · The Chancellery,  · Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu 21300 · Malaysia

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