Hot issue. The government reasserts the country's sovereign rights on the Benham Bank of the Philippine Rise, as part of its continental shelf. Dr. Hildie Marie Nacorda, SESAM Professor, published her recent study on the coral reef of the seamount.
Dr. Hildie Marie E. Nacorda and Dr. Mark Dondi M. Arboleda, Assistant Professors, School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Laguna, Philippines recently published their research findings at the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM).
Dr. Nacorda’s article, “Beneath 50 m of NW Pacific Water: Coral Reefs on the Benham Bank Seamount off the Philippine Sea”, revealed the richness of the pristine reefscape of the seamount documented thru oceanographic sampling, voucher specimens collection, and opportunistic fishing. The article is co-authored with Romeo M. Dizon, of the Department of Biology, College of Science, University of the Philippines Baguio; Cleto L. Nañola, Jr., of the Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies, College of Science and Mathematics, University of the Philippines Mindanao; Patrice Bianca L. Roa-Chio and Fra-and Timothy R. Quimpo, of the McKeough Marine Center, Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan; Wilfredo Roehl Y. Licuanan, of the Department of Biology, College of Science, De La Salle University; Diovanie O. De Jesus, Porfirio M. Aliño, and Cesar L. Villanoy, from The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman; and, Homer B. Hernandez and Lambert Anthony B. Meñez, also part of the Benham Rise exploration team.
Proudly the first Philippine research conducted in the site, the paper accounts for the “first records of mesophotic coral reef biodiversity” found on the Benham Bank- a seamount on the then Benham Rise, now the Philippine Rise by virtue of Executive Order No. 25 series of 2017. It is, in fact, a hot issue nowadays as discussions arise as to the sovereign rights of the Philippines over this undersea region. The project was a Joint Cruise by the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), UP Los Baños thru SESAM, and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR). It was funded by the Department of Science and Technology. Nacorda is a Study Leader of the project.
On the other hand, Arboleda’s paper titled, “Utilization of Putative Enterobacter Isolate and Substrates for Microbial Fuel Cells”, is based from an experiment that explored the potential of wastes as substrate for microbial fuel cells (MFC) to generate alternative energy. Over corn stover and domestic sewage, Dr.Arboleda discovered that fish farm sediments are the most practical substrates as they produced the highest voltage. He used an improvised MFC made of PVC pipes and food jars for this set-up.
These two papers were published in the Volume 20 No. 2 December 2017 issue of JESAM- an online and in-print semi-annual publication of SESAM-UPLB. It is an international peer-reviewed scientific journal indexed by the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics), Elsevier BV Sciverse Scopus, Asean Citation Index, and is supported by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education.