So… Hi. I’m an undergraduate student studying Biology in the University of the Philippines, with a major in Ecology, specializing with a research in Marine Biology.
Studying Marine Biology, one should know (and emphasis on the “should” because it really is a requirement to know this kind of stuff) that the Philippines is the center of the center of marine biodiversity with the center of the center of the center of it in the Visayan region.
I’ve heard this so many times, and you know that thing that when you hear something repeated over and over again, it kinds of loses its meaning and significance, and has a tendency of being taken for granted. Being a marine biologist hearing this repeated by so many of my colleagues as way of introduction to their respective studies has given me just that.
On March 12, 2013, a guest speaker was coming in to give a talk on a topic on Marine Biology. “Dr. Kent Carpenter” and I thought that hmmmm, this name sounds familiar, and I realized a little bit late that he is one of the references of my thesis: Impact of Nutrient in Coral Recruitment. So, finally, I am going to meet Carpenter, Kent et al. in the flesh. I was ambivalent about this, first off because he might be a boring old man when I imagined him to be at par with Jack Sparrow in the sea-farer department. Another one of my “fears” was that he might have a peek on my study and deem it unworthy of having his published journal articles being referenced to. But despite all that, I was still excited. Ooooh, one of my references, in the flesh. I’m going to ask him so many questions…! (yes, I’m a geek like that.)
Enough of preconceived scenarios in my head, my adviser walks in, with a guy that strangely looks very much like Santa. My adviser, Dr. Ting Nanola, introduces him as one of his collegues, an expert in Damselfish of the family Pomacentridae, and one of the leading scientists in the research pertaining to the Coral Triangle (The Coral Triangle or the CT is the area of highest Marine Biodiversity, this includes the waters of Indonesia, Philippines, Timor Leste, Malaysia, and Solomon Islands).
Basically, the study was just a confirmation that the Philippines truly had the most diverse Marine Biota in all of the Earth. It was not news to me, but it rekindled the awe, the wonder, the pride, and mostly the appreciation for how, I, as a Marine researcher, was at the heart of the world’s Marine Biota hotspot.
L-R Me, Dr. Kent Carpenter, and my adviser: Dr. Ting Nanola
I apologize for the lowqual photos, these were just taken by an ipad. -_- hihi xxo