More than 90% of the coral reefs in our country have fair to poor condition. Typhoons, illegal fishing methods, pollution, and other natural and anthropogenic disturbances all contribute to the decline of our coral reefs. On this tenet, McKeough Marine Center of Xavier University (XU) – Ateneo de Cagayan, organized on May 2-5, 2015 a four-day workshop on Coral Conservation and Restoration held at the Marine Station in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental.

Mr. Art Russel R. Flandez, Marine Ecologist of the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) and member of marine biology research group of the Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental Management (ITEEM) of VSU, participated in the said event.  Aside from the workshop, it also tackled lectures and laboratory work on gravid coral identification, techniques on larval culture, settlement, nursery and outplanting; larval collection techniques, and coral husbandry. The participants were also exposed on field work including daytime and nighttime SCUBA diving. Night diving is crucial in the observation of coral spawning and collection of gametes (eggs and sperms) and larvae.

The workshop was concluded with a seminar on May 6, 2015 held at the Faber Hall Amphitheater of XU. It was attended by various representatives from the academe, local government units, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

The activity was realized with funding and technical expertise from SECORE Foundation in collaboration with California Academy of Sciences, Omaha Zoo, and Underwater World Guam.

SECORE (which got its name from sexual coral reproduction) is a non-profit, non-governmental research organization known for its ground-breaking work on coral rehabilitation through propagation using sexual reproduction. This is contrary to the commonly used asexual methods, e.g., fragmentation and transplantation.  Art Russel R. Flandez/DBS