SEATRU’s journey of turtle conservation and research has been a long one so far (est. 1984), and yet there is so much opportunity lying ahead. We seeks to continue and intensify our scientific research at the Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary, the accumulation of high-quality and novel information on sea turtles is hoped to make it the leading regional reference centre for sea turtle research in the South China Sea.

In scientific work, we concentrate on the energetics of sea turtle hatchlings during their nest escaping process, and how this energy consumption may affect the hatchling’s performance to swim in the open sea and survive until to become an adult. We are particularly interested in how hatchlings respond to environmental variation, such as sand types, humidity, gases exchange, temperature and even environmental sounds that presumably influence the energetic cost of nest escape. This study now entered the new niche area by incorporating animal energetics data into simulation modelling software to predict oceanic dispersal of our hatchlings in the South China Sea.

In addition, we are also working in understanding how prey-predator relationship at our sea turtle research station, enabling better conservation practices. We combine lab-based experimental studies with fieldwork, and take an integrative approach that utilises ecological, behavioural, and physiological methodologies. In the field we utilise remote sensing technology (acoustic and satellite telemetry, archival tags) to investigate the movement patterns and behaviours of predatory animals such monitor lizards and black tip reef shark in relation to environmental conditions.

Lastly, the ‘business’ of conserving sea turtles is far from being a one-man show. In line with SEATRU’s resolution of ‘Nurturing Turtles, Connecting People’, we continue to reach out to local communities, pupils, tourists, and the general public in order to create awareness about the plight of these millennia-old creatures and how simple changes in one’s daily life can make and enormous difference in ensuring their future survival.


To conduct translational multidisciplinary research on sea turtle related themes to promote community benefits among stakeholders. Three pillars of our research unit;

(i)  Science: We endeavour to pursue excellent in our interdisciplinary, collaborative, and action-oriented research

(ii)  Conservation: We engage deeply in complex, often controversial issues involving endangered sea turtles. We are evidence-based, transparent and nonpartisan.

(iii)  Community: We advocate educating the public to be aware of the ethical management in conserving our natural heritage towards sustainable economic growth.

Research Team Members

Dr. Mohd Uzair Rusli (Team Leader)

  1. Turtle Ecology
  1. Turtle Health
  1. Turtle Maths
  1. Turtle Tourism
  1. Turtle Nest Protection
  1. Turtle Socio-Economic
  1. Turtle Marketing
  1. Turtle Digital
  1. Maqasid Shariah


External Collaborators

  1. Prof. Juanita Joseph, Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  2. Nazuki Sulong, Fisheries Research Institute Rantau Abang
  3. Mohammad Fathullah Ruslan, Fisheries Research Institute Rantau Abang
  4. Sharifah Rugaiyah Syed Mustafa, WWF-Malaysia
  5. Hideaki Nishizawa, Kyoto University, Japan
  6. David T. Booth, The University of Queensland, Australia
  7. Nicholas Wu, The University of Sydney, Australia
  8. Li Tsung-Hsien, National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Taiwan
  9. Prof. Toh Puan Dr Nizaita Omar, UniSZA
  10. Prof. Nik fadzly Nik Rosely, USM
  11. Hasliza Abu Hassim, UPM
  12. Tengku Rinalfi Putra Tengku Azizan, UPM