Assistant Professor Rafael Junnar P. Dumalan from the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) graduated from his 10 months of educational training in marine science and oceanography at Germany’s leading polar and marine research institution.

Out of 149 applicants from 29 different nations, Mr. Dumalan is the lone Filipino to be selected as one of the 10 cohorts of scholars of the Nippon Foundation - Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean Centre of Excellence (NF-POGO CofE). 

The 10 NF-POGO CofE scholars underwent a 10-month training from May 13, 2023, until April 30, 2024, at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. Under this program, lectures and research works were conducted at Helgoland, North Sea and Sylt, Wadden Sea. 

Mr. Dumalan and 9 other scholars were immersed in a multi-disciplinary oceanography training that included oceanography modeling, remote sensing, ocean-atmosphere interactions, instrumentation, and analytical protocols.

The training is per NF-POGO's mission to promote and facilitate the enhancement of human resources in observational oceanography to observe the ocean and address many societal issues like climate change.

NF-POGO_2.jpgPhoto lifted from NF-POGO website

According to Mr. Dumalan, the program also includes technical training and support by international and renowned scientists. They were also provided with laboratory workstations and access to state-of-the-art equipment and research vessels that equipped them with knowledge and skills to explore studies about the ocean and coastal waters. 

The DBS faculty believes this opportunity has further enhanced his knowledge and skills in marine biology and oceanography since he is handling courses on Oceanography, Marine Pollution, and Marine Microbiology and Fungi in their department. 

As an instructor and researcher, he can impart these new learnings, techniques, and innovative methods to future marine biologists and researchers alike to understand better and appreciate the multi-disciplinary approach to marine science studies.

During his training, he conducted his independent research project on the “Combined effects of temperature and food quality on the growth and development rate of Acartia tonsa”. The study tried to elucidate the interaction between temperature and food quality under climate change scenarios and their potential influence on the growth and development of ectotherms such as copepods.

This program has improved the networking between scholars and international scientists fostering research collaborations among POGO member institutions to capacitate research and development within developing countries, specifically in oceanographic observations and climate science.

Aside from the benefits of the training, Mr. Dumalan highlighted that it also served as a great opportunity to help VSU build more international linkages with different universities and institutes.

“The NF-POGO CofE is seen as the beginning of a long-term, sustained effort at capacity building in observational oceanography on a global scale. The scholars are expected to join NANO (NF-POGO Alumni Network for the Ocean) which provides an avenue for networking, education, and research activities for its members located all over the world. Ultimately, it is expected that the legacy of the Centre of Excellence will endure far into the future with a vision of 'Integrated Observations of a Changing Ocean'.”

The next training program of NF-POGO CofE Phase IV will begin this coming October at three unique Canadian locations – St. John’s Newfoundland; Quadra Island, British Columbia; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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