| In 2001, the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo launched the JSPS Multilateral Project to conduct studies on coastal oceanography in Southeast Asia through cooperation among marine scientists from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. One of the main goals of this project is a study of the marine biodiversity of these regions, since the waters in Southeast Asia are well known to have the greatest diversity of marine organisms in the world. About 80 marine biologists from participant countries are involved in the marine biodiversity program, and they have been focusing on various aspects of marine biological diversity, including the taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology and distribution of marine organisms.
We have published already in 2003 a field guide for fishes of Sulawesi. The present field guide, for fishes of Libong Island, Thailand, is a second contribution from the marine biodiversity program's fish team and was prepared through a partnership between Thai and Japanese ichthyologists. Although the guide focuses on fish species of Libong Island, making it especially valuable for studies of fish fauna in this locality, I believe it will be very helpful also for ichthyologists, fishery biologists, and naturalists working in other coastal regions of western peninsular Thailand and elsewhere , particularly those who are interested in fishes of seagrass beds and mangrove areas.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the editors and authors of the field guide. My thanks also go to the marine biologists in the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC). This field guide could not have been completed without the kind support of the PMBC during field surveys in Libong Island and their kind cooperation in the preparation of the manuscript.
JSPS Multilateral Project on
I am pleased to introduce a guidebook of fishes from seagrass beds and mangroves of Libong Island, Trang Province, Southern Thailand. This project was initiated from a memorandum of understanding and collaboration between the Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thailand and the National Science Museum, Tokyo, Japan, under the JSPS Multilateral Project for Coastal Oceanography. This guidebook contains taxonomic information of fishes collected from seagrass beds and mangroves of Libong Island, which are classified into 128 species of 47 families. Although the area covered by this filed guide is relatively small, there are many similar habitats along the coasts of Andaman Sea in Thailand. Thus, this field guide will be useful to identify fishes found in seagrass beds and mangroves of this region in Thailand. I would like to thank Dr. Somchai Bussarawit and Dr. Keiichi Matsuura, coordinators of Thai and Japanese counterparts and the following authors: Dr. Keiichi Matsuura, Prof. Seishi Kimura, Dr. Koichi Shibukawa, Prof. Hisashi Imamura, Prof. Tetsuo Yoshino, and Mr.Ukkrit Satapoomin who have worked tirelessly and contributed to publication of this guidebook. It is hoped that this volume can serve as a useful reference for those who are involved and interested in biodiversity information dissemination, conservation, sustainable use, and community-based management of marine and coastal resources.