Research Support

Japan-Malaysia collaboration on dolphin acoustic ecology in Northwestern Peninsular Malaysia

Project Gist

Studies on the acoustic ecology of small cetaceans in the northwestern waters of the Malay Peninsula


Underwater Bioacoustics, finless porpoise, dolphin, noise, soundscape

Background and Purpose

This study aims to conduct acoustic monitoring surveys of small cetaceans in the northwestern waters of the Malay Peninsula, Malaysia, to obtain basic ecological knowledge of small cetaceans and to quantify and visualize the noise effects of ship navigation and other activities on the target species. The goal through this research project is to provide guidelines for conservation measures that are compatible with the conservation of the aquatic environment and social development in Asia.

Project Achievements

Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, we were not able to fully implement the planned research, but we were able to maintain international collaboration through the project. We were also able to conduct demonstrations in Japan, establish a new domestic research network, and expand our research activities. Two peer-reviewed papers were published in international journals (two are in review), two awards were received, and six competitive external funds, including the JST FOREST, were obtained.

Future Prospects

With the research network established and maintained with the support of SPIRITS, we will further conduct domestic and international research that could not be realized during the period (mainly due to the impact of the pandemic). Through the project, we will strive to publish better academic papers and further develop our research.


Dolphin research team in Langkawi Archipelago, Malaysia
Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins living in Langkawi Archipelago, Malaysia

Principal Investigator

KIMURA S. Satoko

KIMURA S. Satoko
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Dr. Kimura are engaged in the development of methods for quantitative observation of large aquatic organisms, mainly small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises), to reveal their ecology using these methods. Dr. Kimura also conduct environmental assessments of the effects of noise from shipping and offshore wind power plant on animals as well as stress assessments of animals in captivity.