Rubber boa, Idaho

Documenting Brunei's Biodiversity

A survey of fishes, reptiles, and amphibians

We joined the aftermath of a multi-national expedition aimed at documenting the biodiversity of Brunei Darussalam. Six countries were represented and over the course of a week surveyed the submontane heath forests of Bukit Pagon. The resulting survey is available to read here .

Located on the island of Borneo, Brunei Darussalam is a spectacular hotspot of biodiversity. Although the smallest country on the island, Brunei is unusual in that it has managed to maintain expansive tracts of forest undeveloped. However, continued logging pressures and development needs of the island have led to concerns over the nations border with Malaysia, where logging activities often cross national boundaries.

With this concern in mind, a team was sent out to survey a little explored area of the country: Bukit Pagon. At 1,850 meters, this is the tallest mountain in the country that also sits on the Malaysian border. Our study summarizes the results of collections aimed at documenting the presence of reptiles, amphibians, and fishes in this region.

Nearly half the species found were endemic to the island of Borneo, meaning they occur nowhere else in the world. Documenting the range of endemic species on Borneo is of high conservation importance given the continual loss of habitat forecast over the next several decades. This study is a step in that direction and sheds new light on a previously little known area of a truely unique region of our world.

While documenting species diversity in remote regions of the world is exciting, it’s also important to realize that efforts analogous to this expedition are conducted in regions we consider our back yards. We are still far from knowing the full distribution of many reptile, amphibian, and fish species in the United States. Many regions, including large population centers, still require more surveys and documentation. For example, check out this post for some photos of biobliz we participated in last year . We still have much to learn about where plants and animals live on our planet!

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