Mammal Species Diversity in Malaysia
The Natural Science Research Laboratory first began collaborative efforts in Malaysia in 2006. This effort is between the NSRL and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Professor Dr. M. T. Abdullah) through a memorandum of understanding between both institutions in developing long term educational goals. Other collaborators include the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Dr. Sivanathan Ellagupillay) and Sabah Park (Dr. Marklarin Lakim). A joint three-week field expedition between TTU and UNIMAS was conducted to sample bats and mammal species diversity in Malaysia. The survey sampled five localities during August 2006, including one in Peninsular Malaysia and four in Borneo.
A total of 272 specimens representing at least 54 species of bats and rodents were recorded. A taxonomic list of the specimens collected during the TTU-UNIMAS Sowell Expedition, along with conservation status, collecting locality, and associated measurements (Appendix), is available for download at http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/publications/opapers/ops/OP281.pdf. Collection of this many species with their respective genetic material (including karyotypic data from 169 individuals) and georeferenced voucher specimens represents a valuable opportunity to understand the biodiversity and species limits of the Malaysian mammalian fauna. Furthermore, this collaborative effort between the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Texas Tech University resulted in tissues from all individuals being archived at both universities, which better protects these valuable resources. Faisal Ali Anwarali Khan received a Master of Science degree in Zoology from TTU based on this collaborative research effort; he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. A second field expedition to Malaysia is tentatively scheduled for January 2010. During this field expedition a karyotyping workshop will be conducted by Dr. Robert J. Baker for a group of students (primarily postgraduate students) at UNIMAS.