The Southeast Asian waters are characterized by the presence of highly diverse habitats such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and sandy beaches. The coastal waters of Southeast Asia are known as the centre of marine biodiversity in the world, and this is referable to several unique settings of this region (Nishida & Nishikawa 2011).
Fleminger (1986) clarified that this area has the Tethyan origin, which dates back to ca. 200 million years ago contributed in the complex geologic history, including eustatic sea-level changes during the glacial and inter-glacial periods, and frequent continental fusion and fission events through its geologic history. These resulted in the presence of many island chains and marginal seas, some of which have semi-enclosed deep basins, such as the Sulu and Celebes Seas.
Numerous extensive collections of marine planktonic, benthic, and nektonic organisms have been made in coastal zones and shelf waters of this area. One good example, in the China seas alone, about 600,000 specimens of micro- and macroalgae, protozoans, invertebrates, and fishes have been deposited in the Marine Biological Museums, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Qingdao and Guangzhou for taxonomic and systematic studies. Over a thousand papers and volumes of monographs have been contributed, of which the 33 volumes of Fauna Sinica—Invertebrata, and 7 volumes of Flora Algarum Marinarum Sinicarum (Marine Algal Flora of China) were published recently (Liu, 2013).
In parallel with other studies, the South-east Asian waters also display a rich amphipod fauna with their extraordinary morphological diversity. However the available data in the region are sporadic, inaccessible and not well managed and formatted. The inventory, assessment and sharing well-documented biodiversity information of the region have become essential to improve understanding, efficient conservation and management of these resources.
Map of the South East Asia (Country names are in uppercase).