Fourth WESTPAC Summer School on the Monsoon Onset Monitoring and its Social & Ecosystem Impacts (MOMSEI), Terengganu, Malaysia, 19-23 August 2013

Asian Monsoon plays a significant role in the agriculture and the livelihood of people in the wider Southeast Asian Basin and its neighboring countries since it brings most of the rainfall to this region. Naturally, while Asian Monsoon deviates from its normal pattern, it causes severe disasters such as floods and droughts, even resulting in the disruption of agricultural operation and the displacement of inhabitants. In addition, the extraordinary late monsoon onset leads to an extended length of high sea surface temperature, and thus increasing the risk of coral bleaching. In this sense, it is vital to improve the monitoring capability on monsoon onset in the wider Southeast Asia region for the societal and ecosystem benefit.

To this end, in view of the fact that the Asian Monsoon is evidently influenced by and coupled with the ocean, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) initiated one pilot project entitled “Monsoon Onset Monitoring and its Social and Ecosystem Impact” (MOMSEI) in 2009 within its South East Asia Global Ocean Observing System (SEAGOOS) with objectives to improve the understanding and forecasting of Asia monsoon and its multi-scale variability at regional level through the conduct of air-sea interaction in the Monsoon birthplace and the analysis of the possible link of monsoon onset with its impact on marine ecosystem.

In light of the increasing demand of capacity building, three MOMSEI Summer Schools were held, respectively in Qingdao China 26-30 July 2010, Phuket Thailand 15-19 August 2011, and Qingdao China 6-10 August 2012 to bring the up-to-date monsoon science to young scientists from participating countries. In particular, besides the participants from MOMSEI participating countries, the MOMSEI Summer School-II and III also received total eleven trainees from countries bordering the Bay of Bengal, such as India, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka in close cooperation with the GEF/FAO Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project.

Following the success of and strong interests received from the previous three Summer Schools, WESTPAC decided to organize the four MOMSEI Summer School in Terengganu, Malaysia, 19-23 August 2013 with the kind host of the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia).

The MOMSEI Summer School-IV will consist of four-day lecture Session, half day field trip and half day wrap-up Session.

The Lecture Session will include three parts, i.e. Basic Science of Asian Monsoon; Asian Monsoon Onset Monitoring, Coral Monitoring, possible links between onset anomalies and coral bleaching; and MOMSEI project.

Session-I: Basic Science of Asian Monsoon
• The overview of Asian Monsoon
• Asian Monsoon intra-seasonal to inter-decadal variations
• El Niño and Southern Oscillation (ENSO)’s impact on Asian Monsoon

Session-II: Asian Monsoon Onset Monitoring, Coral Monitoring
• Asian Monsoon Onset Monitoring and Coral monitoring
• Monsoon’s impact on coral ecosystem

Session-III: MOMSEI Project Introduction
• MOMSEI Science Plan
• MOMSEI Implementation Strategy and Status

Session-IV: Field trip

A half day field trip will be arranged by the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu to visit the relevant laboratory facilities and/or other infrastructures, which will be of help for all trainees to acquire in-situ experience on the operation of relevant oceanographic instruments, collection of data, etc.

Session–V: Wrap-up

MOMSEI Summer School will conduct a half day wrap-up session to encourage the trainees to briefly present their research experience, and feedbacks on MOMSEI and MOMSEI Summer School.

This Summer School is open to those who have a Master’s Degree and/or working experience in oceanography, meteorology, marine biology and ecosystem. Due to the limitation of available funding support, the priority will be given to those from MOMSEI participating countries. The applicants should have a good command of English.

For those who wish to join the Summer School, please send your CV, the Application Form, no later than 15 June 2013, to Dr. Li Zhi (, Dr. Mohd Fadzil bin Mohd Akhir (, and with a copy to Mr. Wenxi Zhu (, Head of WESTPAC Office.

Limited financial support for the most economic round-way travel and local expenditures is available upon request. Priority will be given to those selected trainees from the MOMSEI participating countries.

All funded trainees are required to reserve and purchase their round-trip tickets at economy class between their home country and Terengganu, and bring the original receipt of air flights and boarding passes to the Local Secretariat upon arrival. Reimbursement will be made during/after the Summer School.

The Fourth Summer School will take place on 19-23 August 2013 at the Institute of Oceanography and Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia.

The Summer School will be conducted in English.

Some trainees traveling to Malaysia are perhaps required to have the entry visa to Malaysia in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Please check the visa requirements with the Malaysia Embassy/Consulate in your country and apply for the entry-visa. The Local Secretariat and the WESTPAC Office will be glad to provide you any assistance if needed.

Please send your itinerary and passport information to the Local Secretariat no later than 5th August 2013. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu will arrange pick-up and drop-off service at the Kuala Terengganu Airport.


Dr. Mohd Fadzil bin Mohd Akhir
Institute of Oceanography and Environment
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia

We are looking forward to seeing you in Terengganu, Malaysia.
Annoucement in pdf
Application Form in word


No ‘Red Tide’ alert in Sarawak

The Borneo Post, 17 Jan 2013

KUCHING: Waters in Sarawak is free from the ‘Red Tide’ menace thus far as there had been no reports about consumers being affected, unlike in Sabah.

State Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) deputy director Bohari Leng said the only place that is of concern in the state is Lawas because it is nearer to Sabah and sharing the Brunei Bay.

As such, the Marine Fisheries Department is monitoring the situation closely by analysing water samples, shellfish and pelagic fish collected in Lawas.

“The results from these samples are expected to be out this Friday. Since early this month MFD started monitoring in Lawas,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

“We are in close contact with the Department of Fisheries Sabah with respects to assisting in toxin analysis and getting updates on the latest status of Red Tide in Sabah.”

Bohari said the Red Tide menace in Sabah started last month and thus far two deaths had been reported.

He added that the phenomenon was site specific and the first incident in Sabah was reported in 1976, and since then it had been occurring annually.

Until today, the fisheries’ industries and consumers in Sarawak had never been seriously affected by Red Tide.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia’s state director Abdul Razak Ahmad, who was also present, said the import of shellfish from Sabah had been reduced as importers were concern about the people’s safety.

For instance, he said, only 1.3 tonnes of shellfish were brought in from Sabah last month, compared to four tonnes in October and three tonnes in November.

“Those shellfish that were brought in were not from affected areas because not all waters in Sabah are affected by the Red Tide menace,” he said, adding there had yet been any ban on certain seafood in the state.

He added that most imported shellfish were from Peninsular Malaysia. As for pelagic fishes, the state imported them from Sabah, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia.

He opined that pelagic fishes were safe for consumption because they swim freely and the level of toxin accumulated in them was not as critical as in shellfish although they might also be affected because they were plankton feeders.

Nevertheless, consumers were advised to remove internal organs and clean the fish thoroughly before consumption.

Bohari said the toxic Red Tide currently occurs in Sabah was caused by toxic plankton ‘Pyrodinium bahamense var. Compressum’. This plankton is causing Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).

Five to 30 minutes from consumption, there is a slight tingling progressing to numbness which spreads to face and neck in moderate cases. In severe cases, these symptoms spread to extremities with in-coordination and respiratory difficulties.

There are disturbances in severe cases, evidenced by difficulty in swallowing, sense of throat constrictions, speech incoherence, or complete loss of speech as well as brain stem dysfunction.

Within two to 12 hours, in very severe cases, there is complete paralysis and death from respiratory failure in the absence of ventilatory support.

If ventilation is provided, after 12 hours, regardless of severity, victim starts to recover gradually and is without any residual symptoms within a few days.

Malaysia Ocean Color Portal

In 2006, marufish setup a Ocean Color Website for the scientific community in Malaysia to let them know more about ocean color remote sensing. The website was posted at Geocities, and it was down together with Geocities when Yahoo shut down their Geocities services.

In 2013, by foreseeing the increasing of harmful algae bloom in the region that is getting serious with more casualties occurrence, Marufish decided to rebuild the information portal to create the public awareness on the ocean color technology and its potential to create early warning.