Marine Biodiversity Networking Fridays Asia & Pacific

Latitudinal marine biodiversity patterns in Asia-West Pacific and the world

On June 10th, 2022, 3-4 PM NZ (3-4 AM UTC / 4-5 AM WEST / 5-6 AM CEST / 12 AM – 1 PM JST), we will have the Marine Biodiversity Networking Friday especially focusing on broad-scale marine biodiversity patterns in Asia-Pacific regions. Dr Dinusha Jayathilake will talk about her studies identifying the distribution of marine biomes on a global scale, especially focusing on seagrass and kelp communities, and Dr Qianshuo Zhao about mapping marine ecosystems and biodiversity-rich spots in global oceans and the West Pacific region. We still have a great gap in the knowledge of marine biodiversity in Asia-West Pacific regions, and the estimation of species diversity patterns in various taxa and ecosystems using species distribution modelling is one of the promising ways to fill up the gap and promote the conservation by prioritizing potential areas for MPAs. We hope introducing up-to-date research will foster further research on broad-scale marine biodiversity patterns, not only in Asia-West Pacific but also in other regions of the world.

Biomes are large biogenic areas with the same plant life forms. Biomes have unique plant and animal communities where plants provide animals’ feeding, breeding, and nesting habitats. Terrestrial biomes such as tropical rain forests, coniferous forests, and savannahs are well studied and attract more conservation attention. Contradictory to terrestrial biomes, marine biomes are less studied and get less conservation attention. My PhD aimed to identify the distribution of marine biomes (seagrass, kelp, mangrove and zooxanthellate corals) on a global scale. Mangrove and zooxanthellate coral distribution maps already exist. However, the existing seagrass distribution map had gaps, and no kelp biome maps existed. The global distribution of seagrass and kelp biome maps was modelled using existing occurrence records and MaxEnt computer modelling software. The modelled seagrass and kelp maps were overlapped with existing mangrove and zooxanthellate coral maps to identify where multiple biomes have occurred. These places have high habitat diversity and, therefore, can accommodate a vast variety of faunal communities. Coastal areas with multiple biomes should conserve to maintain a healthy marine biota.

Programme (NZ)

  • 3:00 PM – Welcome remarks, Irawan Asaad (Deputy Director for the Greenhouse Gas Inventory in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia)
  • 3:05 PM – Mapping marine biomes and identifying overlapping biome areas, Dinusha Jayathilake (EIT Napier, New Zealand)
  • 3:25 PM – Mapping Marine Ecosystems and Biodiversity Rich spots: from Global to the West Pacific, Qianshuo Zhao (Ocean University of China, Qingdao)
  • 3:45 PM – Q&A, moderated by Irawan Asaad
  • 4:00 PM – Closing

This is an Ocean Decade Event.

Ocean Decade logo


Dinusha Jayathilake

Dinusha Jayathilake

Mapping marine biomes and identifying overlapping biome areas

Dr Dinusha Jayathilake is a lecturer for the environmental management degree at the EIT Napier, New Zealand. She has nearly ten years of research expertise in the areas of biogeography and species distribution modelling. She completed her PhD in 2020 at the University of Auckland. Her PhD aimed to map marine biomes and use those biomes to identify overlapping biome areas for further conservation. Dinusha leads a research program on the freshwater ecology of Hawke’s Bay region, New Zealand.

Qianshuo Zhao

Qianshuo Zhao

Mapping Marine Ecosystems and Biodiversity Rich spots: from Global to the West Pacific

Dr Qianshuo Zhao is early-career faculty at the Ocean University of China, Qingdao. He won an Elsevier Atlas award for his PhD paper that produced the most comprehensive and entirely data-driven prioritisation of MPA for the world (Zhao et al. 2020). His prior work produced the first data-driven classifications of marine ecosystems on a global scale, including the effects of seasonality (Zhao and Costello 2019, 2020). He is researching similar topics on regional scales in the West Pacific and the European marginal seas to further conceptualize the distribution of marine ecosystems and biodiversity-rich spots in multiple spatial scales.


Irawan Asaad

Irawan Asaad

Irwan Asaad, PhD and currently work as a Deputy Director for the Greenhouse Gas Inventory in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia. A Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science, awarded from the University of Auckland – New Zealand and Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Management from International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation in the Netherlands. His Doctoral dissertation with the title: Prioritizations of Marine Biodiversity Conservation in the Coral Triangle Region  presents an integrated and systematic approach to prioritizing areas for biodiversity conservation, and applying an ecological criterion and thereat to identify areas of biodiversity important in the Coral Triangle region..

We will continue with the Networking Fridays during the next months. More information about future sessions as well as presentations and videos from previous sessions can be found here. Please do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.  Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays. Expect some very exciting mornings, afternoons or evenings, depending on where you are…

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.

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