The Marine Research Foundation is a non-profit research and conservation organisation based in Sabah, Malaysia

MRF was incorporated under the Sabah Trustees Act (1951) and established to improve our understanding of marine ecosystems and their associated diverse flora and fauna, across Southeast Asia and other Indo-Pacific sites. Our work is designed to support the aspirations and intent of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and is implemented at local, National and Regional levels.

Conservation & Research (Active projects)

Gulf Green Turtle project 2016-2019

DSC_2977Sea turtles are protected in all countries bordering the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and are a priority species in EWS-WWF’s Strategy 2020 as well as WWF’s Global Marine Turtle Strategy 2012-2020 (WWF, 2012)…

Read More

Science based expansion of the tri-national turtle corridor, Sula Sulawesi Seascape (2014-present)


This project entails four inter-linked components to further the understanding of the biology and ecology of sea turtles in the SSME, upon which National policy decisions and the expansion of the Tri-National Network of Protected Areas may be based. Each component addresses critical biological and reproductive traits of turtles that have previously not been studied in the SSME, and together they form a cohesive research programme which complements National projects within the Sulu Sulawesi Tri-National Sea Turtle Corridor initiative….

Read More

Reproductive biology of Endangered marine turtles under extreme climatic conditions, Qatar (2013-present)

DSC_6589Nesting populations have been well documented in the Arabian Gulf, but scant information exists on foraging populations. Data on this dominant phase of their live cycle are critical to determine how turtle populations will be influenced by various natural (e.g. climate change) and anthropogenic (e.g. fishery pressure) stresses. Unfortunately, there is no published information for Arabian Gulf turtle sex ratios in the wild or on the population dynamics with regard to growth, survival and sex ratios, and no descriptions of non-adult components of the populations. These data are crucial for understanding the status of turtles in those life stages least studied by modern science…

Read More

Dugong questionnaire (2010-present)


Dugongs are vulnerable to fisheries, traditional hunting, large-scale losses of seagrass, smaller-scale habitat loss and boat traffic. Entanglement in fishing gear is the predominant threat as dugongs are by-caught in many kinds of fishing gear, in both commercial and artisanal fisheries. The threat is considered major, but the magnitude of the impact is largely unquantified in many countries. To address this, the Marine Research Foundation and a team of experts from around the globe developed a survey questionnaire which can be implemented at low cost and across large geographical areas. The survey is also designed to collect data on marine turtles and other cetaceans, and can be adapted to just about any marine or freshwater species…

Read More

Population structure and dynamics of marine turtles in the Tubbataha reefs, Cagayancillo, Palawan, Philippines (2010-present)


Marine turtles are integral components of marine ecosystems at the Tubbataha Marine Park World Heritage Site, and priority conservation species Nationally and within the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape programme, the IOSEA MoU, the CTI Regional Action Plan, and the ASEAN Sea Turtle MoU. The reefs at Tubbataha, Cagayancillo, Palawan, Philippines, are a developmental and nesting habitat for Endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas), and a foraging habitat for Critically Endangered hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata)…

Read More

Aerial surveys, Palawan, Philippines (2010-present)


Western Pacific leatherback sea turtle populations have declined 83% over the last five decades and are considered Critically Endangered according to IUCN. Protection of the remaining leatherback sea turtles in the Western Pacific is essential for population recovery, and this protection needs to extend to in-water habitats, where turtles spend the vast portion of their lives. But the protection of leatherback turtles at sea requires first-hand knowledge of their distribution in time and space, thus determining at-sea distributions and threats is essential for leatherback protection, restoration, and management…

Read More

Malaysia Turtle Excluder Devices project (2007-present)


The greatest threat to sea turtles in Malaysia is accidental capture in commercial and artisanal fisheries. Sea turtles have the unfortunate legacy of sharing habitats with some of our favourite foods, and of all the threats to their existence, the shrimp industry is perhaps the biggest. As shrimp trawl nets roll along the seabed they indiscriminately catch and drown numerous sea turtles. The conservation outlook for turtles has slowly improved thanks to small management changes at national parks, but the threat posed by thousands of shrimp trawlers has remained paramount. And yet a very practical and inexpensive solution exists in the form of Turtle Excluder Devices (or TEDs)…

Read More

Research and conservation of sea turtles at Mantanani (2006-present)

Mantanani Jan 07 - 0847

The general life-cycle of marine turtles is similar among species, but even given the amount of knowledge we presently have about sea turtles, there are some crucial gaps that have the potential to undermine management efforts. Among these is the knowledge of how many turtles join the breeding population in any given year, the period between onshore migration of juveniles to adulthood, and natural sex ratios in the wild. Lack of a clear understanding of any of these can have an effect on how turtle population data is interpreted and how this results in conservation action…

Read More

Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Project

TEDs have become vital in sea turtle conservation, this page explores how they work and where they are use around the world. Learn more about their history and development and gain access to further resources.

Conservation & Research (Completed projects)

Consulting (Active projects)

Linggi international port development, Malacca, Malaysia (2015-present)


MRF was contracted by DHI Water & Environment (M) Sdn Bhd to provide marine turtle expertise for the proposed development of the Kuala Linggi International Port and Reclamation at Kuala Linggi, Malacca…

Read More

Gorgan gas project, Western Australia (2013-present)


The Gorgon Project involves the construction of a 15 million tonnes per year Liquefied Gas facility, domestic gas plans and supporting infrastructure on Barrow Island, a Class A Nature Reserve…

Read More

Consulting (Completed projects)