Filipino students can protect coral reefs, say Australian expert.

Top Australian marine biologist said the Philippine marine biology students could help a lot in countering the various threats against coral reefs.

Prof. Terry Hughes, regarded as Australia’s premier marine biologist on coral ecosystems said recently that the Philippines has a rich marine biodiversity that is connected to the other marine ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean and other parts of the world. He said that the country’s marine ecosystem is facing grave threats and that Filipino marine biology students could help in addressing these issues.

Hughes expressed confidence on the Filipino youth’s ability to assist in countering the negative impact on the country’s coral ecosystems, basing on the exchange of information between Filipino and Australia marine biologists in the past 30 years.

He said that three major issues are threatening coral reefs around the world- climate change, land run off and overfishing. He added that coral reef protection is not only important for environmental protection but also for the direct impact that coral reefs have on the lives and jobs of millions of people dependent on the industries of fishing and tourism.

Hughes finished his short visit  in the Philippines by conducting a lecture at the Silliman University in central Philippines in line with the “Scientists in Schools” program of the Australian Embassy in Manila. According to Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell, the program supports the Philippine government’s initiatives to raise the level of public awareness on science education and research. Hughes also conducted lectures before students of the University of the Marine Sciences Institute and the Philippine Science High School.

He also made a presentation during the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Forum where he discussed the current state of coral ecosystems around the world, as well as the effects of climate change. The CTI is a partnership between six countries in Asia Pacific to protect the marine and coastal resources of the region.

Hughes said he looks forward to more partnerships between Filipino and Australian scientists given the shared concerns on environmental protection and the vast potential of the next generation of Filipino scientists and researchers.

Source: Business Mirror

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