BatStateU co-hosts the Saknungan sa VIP 2019: Building a Sustainable Verde Island Passage through Citizen Science

De La Salle University-Manila- Br. Alfred Shields Ocean Research Center (ShORe) together with California Academy of Sciences (CAS) and BatStateU- Verde Island Passage Center for Oceanographic Research and Aquatic Life Sciences (VIP CORALS) hosted a symposium entitled, Saknungan sa VIP 2019 at BatStateU Pablo Borbon Main I, Batangas City on September 20, 2019.

With the theme, “Building a Sustainable Verde Island Passage through Citizen Science”, this symposium aims to provide a venue for citizen scientists, marine scientists, LGUs, NGAs, NGOs, and the academes to share and discuss the role of citizen science in building a sustainable VIP. This opens opportunities to address VIP’s resources management issues and concerns.

In his welcome remarks, BatStateU President Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo stressed the value of working in unity to protect and preserve the country’s marine ecosystems. “All initiatives to attain our goal should not be done in isolation. There is a need to form partnerships and ecologically connected networks so that their contributions to a broader scale such as complementarity and productivity can be maximized. I am confident that this would be the start of many collaborative activities among all of us”, he said.

Dr. Ronquillo also expressed his gratitude to BatStateU’s partner institutions and agencies for their support towards the event. “BatStateU is really proud to have hosted this significant gathering of esteemed professionals and experts of this field who share one common goal—the restoration and preservation of the Philippines Marine Life using citizen science, ecosystem-based approaches, research innovation and modern technologies for biodiversity conservation”, he added.

During the opening program, Dr. Ronquillo signed a memorandum of agreement for further collaborations with DLSU and CAS, represented by Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan, Director for DSLU ShORe Center and Mr. Kenneth Michael Mcgee, the Chief Financial Officer of CAS, respectively.

Dr. Licuanan with Dr. Meg Burke, CAS Associate Dean for Science Operations, Dr. Terrence Gosliner, CAS Senior Curator for Invertebrate Zoology and Geology, and Dr. Jeff Williams, CAS Ichthyology Collection Manager for Smithsonian Institution, discussed Citizen Science in Coral Reefs which covered the four methods for collecting data for trash, corals, fishes and invertebrates—designed for the non-scientists.

Mr. Glenn Mariano of the Pisces Project and Mr. Pacifico Beldia of Malampaya Foundation also had their talks about their coastal and marine projects/programs involving various communities. The speakers talked about the lessons and challenges they got from basic coral reef monitoring.

After the talks, a breakout session was also conducted which provided participants the opportunity to explore and exploit more productive ways to save the oceans.