the decreasing number of giant clams in Malaysia the Reef Research Group
initiated a study determine the status, distribution and abundance of
these endangered animals.
becoming more important as the public realizes the importance
of conservation and a clean environment. The coral reef
islands of Johore are pristine and special. These frames
depict scenes from the islands of Johore.
The Giant Clam project hopes to improve the status of these
islands and at the same time return a lost heritage to its
natural home. In doing so we hope to educate the public on the
values of conservation and ecotourism. The local language is
interspersed with words describing the giant clams.
Conservation can co-exist and bring mutual benefit to both. We
only hope that the Giant Clam Project will realize this goals.
They Are Found
In Johore clams are found on
four main habitats – the submerged reef, the reef flat, the
seagrass and sand.
Most giant clams are found on
coral reefs where the water is clean. Here sunlight penetrates
to the bottom of the sea. Light is important for the clams
survival because a type of plankton – the zooxanthellae –
lives within the bodies of giant clams. The plankton being
plants need light to photosynthesize. In turn it provides the
clams with food for the latter’s survival.
Johore’s clear coral reef islands such as Pulau Aur, Pulau
Pemanggil, Pulau Besar, Pulau Tengah and Pulau Tinggi are
ideal habitats for the gaint clams. However the clams are
restricted to shallow waters because in clears waters light
intensity is necessary for the survival is only limited to
shallow reef areas.
The baby clams to be reintroduced to Johore will be located at
Pulau Tinggi Marine Park.
SADLY DUE TO a number of reasons the biggest clams are locally
extinct. The other species of giant clams (there are 6 in
Johore) will also be following the same route. Of the eight
species of giant clams throughout the world most are
considered endangered. Johore still has the majority of clams
left but unless something is done they will face extinction.
Before settling on coral reefs, the fertilized eggs of the
clams float in the water and develop into giant clam larvae.
These then search for suitable substrate on the reefs. These
larvae feed phytoplankton in the water. In large clams water
in taken in through in the inhalen siphon and expelled through
the exhalent siphon. Within the mantle are functional organs
of the clams. The reflect the efficient adaptation of these
clams not only depend on the symbiotic relationship for the
food but also filters the reef water for its food. Within the
body are also the heart, kidneys and the reproductive organs.
Two large adductor mules hold the large shells together.
BY The Reef Research Group of Universiti Sains Malaysia
discovered the precarious status of the giant clams in Johore.
The matter was discussed with the Johore State State
Government in 1996. Realizing the importance
of the clams as Johore’s Natural Heritage, its
uniqueness as a world record holder and the tourism potential
of the animals both institutions worked together to save the
giant clams in Johore.
results is the Giant Clam Project which started in 1997. The
success of the Project culminates in the artificial breeding
of the giant clams whose babies we see today. In 1999 we will
see the release of 600 babies of giant clams into a nursery
area at marine park
of Pulau Tinggi, Johore Darul Ta’zim.