State researchers are conducting biodiversity surveys on seaweeds in some areas in four provinces bordering the Verde Island Passage (VIP) through the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the project is funded by the DOST and is being implemented by Batangas State University (BSU) under the leadership of Dr. Jayvee A. Saco.
“Seaweeds biodiversity surveys were conducted in selected sites in the provinces (Marinduque, Batangas, Romblon, Occidental Mindoro) bordering the Verde Island Passage (VIP). Surveys were conducted to determine and compare the seaweed and seagrass cover in pristine and impacted or disturbed sites during the northeast monsoon (amihan),” he announced on the DOSTv Facebook page on Friday, July 16.
The “Marine Biodiversity Assessment in Selected Areas in the Verde Island Passage (MBio Assess-VIP)” is being carried out by the BSU in partnership with Marinduque State College, Occidental Mindoro State College, Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology and Romblon State University.
“Overall, in all of the sites surveyed during the northeast monsoon, seaweeds were found to be dominant in the selected impacted sites,” de la Peña said.
He noted that only Sitio Diumanod in Barangay Udalo, Abra de Ilog in Occidental Mindoro was a seaweed-dominated site among the pristine areas in the current survey.
“In areas where both the pristine and impacted areas harbored seaweeds, species numbers were still higher in the latter,” he said.
Based on the initial survey, the common species found in the areas were Halicoryne wrightii, Gracilaria arcuate, Udotea sp., Chaetomorpha crassa, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Ulva intestinalis, the DOST chief noted.
The Conservation International described the Verde Island Passage as one of the most productive ecosystems in the world as it provides food, livelihoods and other benefits to over 2 million people.
The marine resource-rich,10-mile wide strait is internationally recognized as the “Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity.”