The Philippine Seas: Biodiversity and Ecological Impacts of Natural and Anthropogenic stressors in Tropical Reef Systems

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Exploring the diversity and ecological impacts of natural and anthropogenic stressors on Philippine reef systems

Research on marine ecosystems in the Philippines has revealed a number of important findings:

  • Unregulated fish mariculture activities can lead to localized acidification and impact reef health, and actions taken to mitigate ocean acidification on coral reefs should address both global CO2 emissions and local perturbations.
  • Stock identification and delineation are important for the management and conservation of marine resources, particularly for Bali sardinella, and evidence of genetic differentiation between two regions was found, suggesting local adaptation despite high levels of gene flow.
  • Harmful algal blooms have become a year-round threat to public safety and marine industries in Eastern Visayas, and monthly monitoring of the phytoplankton community identified potential vectors for paralytic shellfish poisoning.
  • The occurrence of the ciguatera poisoning-causative dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus balechii in the Philippines was reported, and its toxin production and chemical diversity of secondary metabolites were assessed.
  • Exposure to 31°C for 12 h induced global changes in the transcriptome profile of symbionts associated with Acropora digitifera, indicating vulnerability to acute thermal stress.
  • Plankton trophic dynamics in two reef systems in the West Philippine Sea were investigated to gain insights into the trophic dynamics and productivity of reefs.
  • High octocoral taxonomic richness and significant differences in octocoral cover were found among sites, highlighting the importance of octocorals in the region.
  • Community-based management strategies for marine reserves and adjacent waters can be beneficial for the sustainability of small-scale fishers.
  • Coral species may be able to adapt to their environment and potentially survive amidst increasing global and local-scale stressors.
  • The yellowstripe scad was found to have two allopatrically distributed lineages, one widespread Asian lineage and an isolated Australian lineage.
  • Expanding the coverage of protected areas to capture national-scale connectivity and meet global conservation objectives is recommended.
  • Favites colemani exhibited specificity
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