Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU)

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.

Click here for more information

Research Team Members

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Uzair Rusli (Team Leader)


Turtle Ecology

Dr. Maizah Mohd Abdullah (Trophic Ecology)

Prof. Dr. Mazlan Abd. Ghaffar (Icthyo-physiology)

Prof. Dr. Zainudin Bachok (Coral Reef)

Mr. Idham Khalil (Remote Sensing)

Mr. Yusri Yusuf (Fish Taxonomy)


Turtle Health

Prof. Dr. Mohd Effendy Abd. Wahid (Veterinary)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Hafiz Borkhanuddin (Parasitology)

Dr. Faizah Aplop (Bioinformatic)


Turtle Maths

Dr. Ummu ‘Atiqah Mohd Roslan (Dynamical System)

Assoc. Prof. Gobithasaan A/L Rudrusamy (Modelling)


Turtle Tourism

Dr. Kalsitinoor Set (Entrepreuners)

Dr. Nik Alia Fahada Wan Ab Rahman (Travel Blog)

Dr. Zaliha Zainuddin (Code-of Conduct)

Dr. Mohd Rahimi Bin Abdul Halim (Rural Tourism)

Ms. Wan Mariam Wan Abdullah (Policy)


Turtle Nest Protection

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Effi Helmy Ariffin (Coastal Morphodynamics)

Dr. Maisarah Jaafar (Microplastic Pollutant)

Dr. Siti Nordahliawate Mohamad Sidique (Mycology)

Dr. Abdulmula Abdulmagid Hamza (Ecology)


Turtle Socio-Economic

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mahirah Kamaludin (Economic Valuation)

Dr. Jumadil Saputra (Social Return of Investment)

Prof. Dr. Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat (Governance)

Dr. Jarina Jani (Human Ecology)


Turtle Marketing

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azizul Yadi Yaakop (Consumer Behaviour)

Mr. Madzli Harun (Policy)

Dr. Isma Rosila Binti Ismail (Intercultural Communication)


Turtle Digital

Ts. Dr. Wan Nural Jawahir Wan Yussof (Image Processing)

Ts. Dr. Fariza Hanim Binti Suhailin (Optic Photonic)

Assoc. Prof. Ts Dr. Mustafa Bin Man (Database)

Assoc. Prof. Datin Dr. Nurul Adilah Binti Abdul Latiff (IoT)


Maqasid Shariah

Dr. Riswadi Azmi (Usuluddin)

Ustazah Faizah Ismail (Fiqh wa al Usul)

Ustaz Mohd Syafiq Alias (Fiqh wa al Usul)


External Collaborators

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Juanita Joseph, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Nazuki Sulong, Fisheries Research Institute Rantau Abang

Mohammad Fathullah Ruslan, Fisheries Research Institute Rantau Abang

Sharifah Rugaiyah Syed Mustafa, WWF-Malaysia

Hideaki Nishizawa, Kyoto University, Japan

David T. Booth, The University of Queensland, Australia

Nicholas Wu, The University of Sydney, Australia

Li Tsung-Hsien, National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Taiwan

Prof. Toh Puan Dr Nizaita Omar, UniSZA

Prof. Nik fadzly Nik Rosely, USM

Hasliza Abu Hassim, UPM

Tengku Rinalfi Putra Tengku Azizan, UPM