Mencipta Nama Untuk Diri Sendiri

Seorang pensyarah muda mengaplikasikan pengetahuannya dalam bidang sains untuk kegunaan marin yang mampan

Oleh Prof. Dr. Zainudin Bachok, INOS

His passion for marine organisms began when he was 10 years old. He loved to watch the documentary channel National Geographic, particularly when the shows were about ocean life. Since then, he had aimed to become a scientist. When his primary school teacher asked him about his ambition, that was what he told the teacher.

Today, Dr. Mohd Safuan Che Din is a young aspiring lecturer at the Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS), specializing in coral ecology. 

“It is a field I have always had a strong passion for,” said Dr. Safuan, a native of Pahang, a state in the east coast of Malaysia.

To pursue his ambition, Dr. Safuan first enrolled at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), where he subsequently graduated with a Diploma in Science. 

The first stage completed, he then furthered his study at UMT and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology.

In Love with UMT

Having enjoyed his moment as an undergraduate student at UMT, Dr. Safuan was persuaded to further his study to a master’s level at the same university. It was during this time that he fell in love with coral reef study. One of his achievements was on a coral survey method called Coral Video Transect (CVT) technique. This technique has been applied extensively to survey coral reef areas in Malaysia.

A year after he had graduated with a master’s degree, Dr. Safuan received a scholarship from UMT. He went for a doctoral study in marine science, focusing on coral reef ecology. During his PhD journey, he had published 15 research articles in Web of Science (WOS) and SCOPUS journals.

Apart from being academically excellent, Dr. Safuan was also active in other areas. He was selected as one of Malaysia’s representatives for the Asia Youth Forum that was held in Yokohama, Japan. He also attended the Coral Health Index training in Bali, Indonesia and Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium in Cebu, Philipine.

Dr. Safuan also gained extensive research experience when he was appointed as a Research Assistant (RA) from 2012 until 2019 at UMT’s INOS and School of Marine Science and Environment. As an RA, he had been involved in several research and consultancy projects in collaboration with several companies and agencies, such as Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DOFM), LUNDIN Malaysia, TIOXIDE Malaysia, and Malaysian Port Authorities.

Dr. Safuan obtained his PhD in August 2021 and was directly appointed as a post-doctoral researcher at INOS, where he was placed under the Centre for Ocean Governance (COG). At COG, he started to use his experience in coral reef ecology to conduct research on ocean governance. He started to apply ecological data for managing the ocean via Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).


Appointed as Lecturer

After ten months with COG, Dr. Safuan was then appointed as lecturer at INOS. This has allowed him to improve his skill on linking the science with the management. He is currently involved in research projects related to management plans, such as Malaysia Marine Spatial Planning for Kuala Terengganu-Kuala Nerus (MMSP KT-KN), and marine parks in Malaysia, such as Labuan Marine Park and Pulau Kapas Marine Park.

On top of this, Dr. Safuan has been applying coral reef dataset obtained from CVT method to provide information for creating a specific zoning, so that informed and coordinated decisions can be made about how to use marine resources sustainably. He believes that, through interdisciplinary research, understanding on the conflict between user and environment can be deepened. “The ocean governance can be improved via the application of specific zoning, which is beneficial for sustainability of the marine ecosystem,” he said.

As part of INOS-COG team, Dr. Safuan thrives on connecting science with ocean governance, which is in line with United Nations Ocean Decade and SDG14, to provide a better solution in managing the ocean space.

Aside from research activities, Dr. Safuan has also been actively involved in consultancy projects. He is currently working on coral reef community surveys for big-name oil and gas companies, such as SHELL and PETRONAS. His previous project was at Luconia Shoal National Park (LSNP), an offshore coral reef in Sarawak.


Coral Reef Research and Consultation Activities

Because of his active involvement in coral reef research and consultation activities, Dr. Safuan was appointed as a resource person by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Malaysia at an expert consultation forum by ASEAN Centre of Biodiversity. He was also invited as a trainer of coral survey using the CVT technique to teach government staff from DOFM and international students from TROPIMUNDO (Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystem) programme as well as from Heriot Watt University.

In the near future, Dr. Safuan sees himself having increased his academic leadership capabilities, through a comprehensive research, knowledge transfer, and mentoring activities.

“My next ambition is to be among renowned academic leaders in the field of coral reef ecology, nationally and internationally,” he said.

As a child, Dr. Safuan had an aim of becoming a scientist, and today he has stayed true to it. He works as one at INOS, specializing in coral reef ecology. And he has steadily been making a name for himself in the field.

For what he is today and will be in the future, perhaps he should thank National Geographic. It was the channel that first introduced him to ocean life.


As coral reef ecology, hard coral is the main organism being study by Dr. Safuan through understanding their community structure in coral reef area.

Attending Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium (APCRS2018) with other team members from UMT

Diving with his student and ex-supervisor in Pulau Bidong to study coral community in the island

Site visit with a team from Xiamen University, China for Malaysia Marine Spatial Planning’s study

Having collaboration with Sarawak Forestry Department to monitor coral reef and reef ball in Sarawak.

Having his first experience of diving in offshore coral reefs in Luconia Shoal National Park as part of consultation activities with oil and gas company in Malaysia