Title of symposium:
Inaccurate taxonomic delimitation of the natural world weakens effective biodiversity conservation

Principal organizer:
Assoc. Prof Dr. Homathevi Rahman
Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Dr. Arthur Y. C. Chung
Forest Research Centre, Sabah Forestry Department

Symposium Summary
Contribution of taxonomists in conservation of biodiversity and natural heritage is important to ensure the wellbeing of the current and future generations. However, this field of study is disappearing due to the development of other more heavily funded scientific research fields. Taxonomy was given less priority by high impact journals and funding agencies in research, probably for being a primarily descriptive science. Taxonomist contribution goes beyond merely describing species, which includes knowledge about taxa distribution; it’s biological and ecological affinities’. The reduction number of taxonomists and interests in the area ultimately affects the critical process of accurate species identification. Taxonomy is primarily important for biodiversity conservation, as to protect a taxon, it is essential to know it first, and secondly, because no conservation action can protect undescribed species. Therefore, if only about 10 % of the species on earth are known to science and that most of them are probably threatened, taxonomic studies should be prioritized, especially in megadiverse countries. Hence this symposium is proposed to specifically address issues that are directly and indirectly related to taxonomy. The suggested symposia aimed to include taxonomists and biodiversity specialists of different background and expertise of which can contribute to conservation, cultural, social sciences, governance, tourism, education and health sciences. The objectives are to gather updates on taxonomic issues in Southeast Asia, identify prominent taxonomists in Southeast Asia to enhance networking and provide recommendations to overcome any related issues. It also works vice versa with the highlight of the exceptional importance of taxonomy.

List of speakers and presentation titles:



Speaker Names






Dr Eleanor Slade (Oxford University


Dung beetles in relation to taxonomy and conservation



Profesor Datin Dr. Maryati binti Mohamed

Department of Technology & Heritage,
Faculty of Science, Technology & Human Development,
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)




Prof. Dr. Norhayati Ahmad

School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences




Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Abdul Latiff Mohamad

Research Fellow, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia




Dr. John Sugau / Dr. Reuben Nilus / Dr. Joan Pereira

Sabah Forestry Department




Dr. Fiffy Hanisdah

Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.



Marine Invertebrate

Dr. Izwandy Idris

Marine Science Programme,
School of Marine and Environmental Sciences,
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu




Prof. Dr. Aileen Tan Shau Hwai

Centre For Marine & Coastal Studies (CEMACS),
Universiti Sains Malaysia