Posts Tagged ‘Coral Reefs


Haribon Heroine

marivic pajaroIf there is a real-life version of Eliza Thornberry in the Philippines, it will be Marivic G. Pajaro.  (Eliza Thornberry is a cartoon character who loves animals.)  Ms. Pajaro has the same passion for nature and the environment.

A member of the Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (Haribon), Ms. Pajaro is the country’s national coordinator for Project Seahorse.  Project Seahorse is an international organization whose main vision is to protect and conserve the world’s coastal marine ecosystems.  As national coordinator, Ms. Pajaro is in charge of the following programs: managing fisheries and adjusting supply by initiating projects such as community-based conservation in fishing villages, a regional coastal resources management program, and a national initiative for seahorses; and educations and dissemination of information involves giving presentations, publishing books and reports, as well as managing high school scholarships.

At present, Ms. Pajaro is pursuing her doctorate degree at the Department of Resources Management and Environmental Studies at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Center.  The focus of her study is on the biological, social, and economic indicators of  success in community-managed marine protected areas.

Marivic Pajaro obtained her baccalaureate degree from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos.  She majored in Zoology and published several papers, including “Status of marine protected areas in the Philippines:  better management of coral reefs and the coastal areas in the tropics”, “Using education to stop destructive fishing practices:  a partial success in several communities”  (Kumarian Press, 1994), and “Alternatives to cyanide use in aquarium fish collection:  a community based approach”  (Sea Wind, 1992).


►The Project Seahorse Team,

►Marivic Pajaro, www/

►Haribon Foundation, htpp://


Better Habitat for Marine Life

1Curiosity of simple things, like observing creatures in the garden or watching the leaves change their color, can make a scientist out of a person.  Such curiosity and passion for what one does can bring out discoveries that can improve the quality of life, not just our own but other beings are well.  Dr. Helen T. Yap is one scientist with such ideals.

Dr. Yap cares passionately for the marine environment.  She started her research on how temperature, light, and other conditions, in the environment affect the growth of hard corals—the organisms that build reefs.  She believes that starting from the corals, other ecosystems can be protected and rebuilt, including the species and their habitats.

The Philippine government, recognizing Dr. Yap’s pioneering studies on the marine environment, specially the coral reefs, honored her in 1992 as one of the Outstanding Young Scientists.  Dr. Yap’s efforts led to a fuller understanding of the ecology of marine ecosystems.  Her exceptional ability in marine research has helped build international recognition for the marine scientists in the country.

Dr. Yap believes that pursuing a career in science is one way to help the country earn a proud place among the nations of the world,  she reminds her students to always be observant, meticulous, and patient.

At present, Dr. Yap works as an associate professor of marine biology at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, and also serves as member of the editorial board of the Journal of Marine Environmental Engineering, a United States Publication.

Dr. Yap obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees from UO Diliman.  She completed her doctorate degree in Marine Biology from the Wilhelm Pieck University in Rostock, Germany in 1987.


Dr. Angel Alcala

1Dr. Angel Alcala has devoted more than 30 years studying how to conserve the marine ecosystems throughout Southeast Asia.  What make him do this?  It’s the fact that the sea is threatened because of the very riches it holds.

Dr. Alcala is an authority on community ecology, biogeography, and the systematic of amphibians and reptiles.  He developed the first community-based program that created artificial coral reefs.  This program became the model for similar fisheries development programs throughout establishing the Apo, Sumilon, Carbin, an Pamilacan marine reserves in the Philippines,

Having written more than 60 scientific papers,  Dr. Alcala believes that marine reserves have a significant role in ensuring fish abundance even in areas beyond the protected sanctuaries.  This process, called “spillover,” is the focus of his work with the Pew Institute for Ocean Science.  To set up more effective marine sanctuaries local communities and organizations to manage and protect the sanctuaries.  Dr. Alcala believes that sustainable development ins only possible through informed and committed human involvement.

Dr. Alcala has headed the Institute of Marine Biology at the University of the Philippines and was deputy executive director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development.  He has been a visiting researcher at various universities and establishments, including the University of Florida and the Smithsonian Institution.  Dr. Alcala has also worked for the Philippine government as secretary of Environment and National Resources, and as chairman of the Commission on Higher Education .

He holds doctorate and masters degrees in biological sciences from Standford University in the United States.


► Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.

►  National Academy of Science and Technology.

Photo courtesy:

November 2020

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