Located at Gaya Island, and 15 minutes boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu city is the Marine Ecology Research Center (MERC). MERC is part of the Gayana Eco Resort. 7 of the world’s 8 species of Giant Clams are bred here. If you don’t know much about giant clams, MERC is the perfect place to be. Over 3000 giant clams have been successfully nurtured in the nursery. They will be slowly placed in an ocean nursery.
Few interesting facts about giant clams:
– the largest clams can grow up to 1 meter big and live for over 100 years!
– young giant clam develops a “foot,” which is used to move on the sea bed to search for appropriate habitat. The clam will lose its “foot” once it has settled on a suitable habitat.
– Giant clam is known as “Kidney Of The Oceans”, as they help preserve the water quality of marine ecosystem by absorbing harmful organics that may harm the reef and its inhabitants.
Other than breeding giant clams, MERC also introduced “Adopt a Coral” programme. For a fee of RM120 a year, you will get periodic updates from the center.
Video of Marine Ecology Research Center and Gayana Eco Resort
Visitors to MERC get to touch and feel the starfishes, sea urchins, snails and crabs at the touch tank. MERC is a great place for school and educational trips about the importance of conserving oceans.
More information about MERC are available on their website http://www.merc-gayana.com/index.php
We drop by Gayana Eco Resort and visit some of their beautiful villas. If you are looking to escape from city life, Gayana Eco Resort is a great choice. There are 3 resorts on Gaya Island, with Gayana Eco Resort being the earliest built. They are also operating Bunga Raya Island Resort. Much improvements and upgrading on MERC and the resort itself have been carried out after a new management took over the resort.