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A Science Case Study

Essay by   •  April 28, 2011  •  Case Study  •  3,161 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,287 Views

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I. Introduction

Batangas, a province in the Philippines most commonly known for it being one of most the popular tourist destinations near Metro Manila. It is widely known for its many beaches and resorts where one could definitely find time to unwind and to enjoy the water through swimming, snorkeling, diving, and other activities. Another reason for it being a great tourist attraction is because here lays the Taal Volcano, a decade volcano whose crater is a lake.

Aside from it being a tourist destination, Batangas is also a popular seaport and trade center. It is most popular for its silk and cotton fabrics, as well as coconut oil. It is also well known for its industries like pineapple, and bangus, and most especially in making balisong.

Lian is one of the municipalities of Batangas. It is not that popularly known for tourists since it is one of the municipalities that have the least numbers of baranggays in the area. Sitio Matuod is located here, wherein the Br. Alfred Shields FSC Marine Biological Station is located.

The Br. Alfred Shields FSC Marine Biological Station is the marine laboratory of De La Salle University-Manila. It is located in Sitio Matuod, Lian, Batangas near Talim Bay and also near Mt. Tikbalang. Most of undergraduate and graduate thesis and researches of the university are done in the station. Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan is the current director of the Station.

The Station has basic laboratory and field facilities. These include SCUBA diving gears, tanks, and compressors as well as snorkels and masks; a small outrigger boat, a dry laboratory, reference collections of common marine organisms, computers and various communications and video equipment. Basic housing facilities for faculty and students are also available including two 10-bed dormitory rooms, and a small kitchen. Freshwater supply is provided from a deep well and a generator is available for emergency power. A resident scientist (a faculty member of the Biology Department in DLSU-Manila) may be available to supervise and assist in the day-to-day activities of the station. Common users over the past year are faculty and students of the Departments of Biology and Chemistry.

As of now, there have been research and outreach activities conducted by the station. Included here are the marine resource assessment of Cauayan, Negros Occidental; evaluation of coral reef conservation at Maricaban Strait; and various undergraduate and graduate theses on coral recruitment, competition and bleaching. The station also helps in educating the locals on how to help save pawikans that are sighted in the area.

Sitio Matuod, being composed of beaches too, contains a large amount of biodiversity. These species range from corals, fishes, sea urchins, mollusks, etc. Mangroves and sea grasses are also common in the area.

Mangroves are a tropical evergreen tree or shrub with intertwined roots and stems resembling stilts that grows in dense groves along tidal coasts. Mangrove forests are a unique ecosystem generally found along sheltered coasts where they grow abundantly in saline soil and brackish waters. It plays several functions to coastal communities, such as:

Ð'* Protect coastlines against erosive wave action and strong coastal winds, and serve as natural barriers against torrential storms.

Ð'* Prevent saline water intrusion.

Ð'* Retain, concentrate and recycle nutrients and remove toxicants through a natural filtering process.

Ð'* Provide resources for coastal communities who depend on the plants for timber, fuel, food, medicinal herbs and other forest products.

Ð'* If managed properly, a mangrove forest can be harvested sustainably for wood and other products.

Ð'* Are essential to sustain a viable fishing industry as it is an important breeding ground for many fishes, crabs, prawns and other marine animals.

Ð'* They can also provide food for other aquatic organisms.

Because of its many ecological and industrial functions, the numbers of mangrove forests are quickly depreciating due to natural and man-made activities. Such activities are the conversion to fishponds and saltbeds, the clear-cutting of trees for firewood and other domestic uses, and reclamation for industrial or other development purposes. Natural activities such as storms also have bad effects to these mangroves. Given its many functions, it is obviously necessary to ensure the continued existence of these mangroves.

Seagrass is yet another underwater plant. It is an underwater marine grass with long thick blades. According to seagrass expert Miguel D. Fortes, the Philippines has 16 known species of seagrasses, the highest number in the Indo-Pacific region. These species are valued mainly for their role as fish nursery areas and as feeding grounds for food fish, dugong, turtles and wading birds. They also anchor sediments and help maintain water clarity. They can also be used industrially by people as a material in making baskets and matting.

Similar to the grass we have on land, seagrasses are easily removed from its roots by just mere pulling. Because of that, they are under threat from various natural and man-made forces, like typhoons, tidal waves, and volcanic activity as well as mining, aquaculture, deforestation and blast fishing. The depletion of seagrass beds is known to result in high water turbidity and lower production of seagrasses and their associated fauna.

Corals are yet another marine organism that can be found in the area. With the Philippines lying in the Indo-West Pacific region, we are known to have on of the world's highest biodiversity marine area, and that includes corals. These marine organisms live in colonies known as coral reefs.

Corals and coral reefs play several importances such as:

Ð'* Corals remove and recycle carbon dioxide. Excessive amounts of this gas contribute to global warming.

Ð'* Reefs shelter land from harsh ocean storms and floods.

Ð'* Reefs provide resources for fisheries. Food items include fishes, crustaceans, and mollusks.

Ð'* Coral reefs attract millions of tourists every year. Many tropical countries rely on tourism to bring much needed foreign currency in order to support local economies.

Ð'* Coral reefs also provide the sediments that eventually become sand



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