[Initially published as an fb note, Jan. 13, 2017]
Palawan, the “last ecological frontier.” The dynamic geologic history of Palawan give rise to the diversification and speciation of many organisms. Palawan is one of the, if not the oldest landmass of the Philippine archipelago, dating back more than 50 million years ago (Hall, 1998). Palawan is known for its biogeographic novelty (Brown et al., 2013) due to its remarkable history harboring numerous taxa. Geologic changes in West Philippines Sea (WPS) such as tectonic movements, alterations in river inputs and sea level induced basin enclosure (Ivanova, 2009) contributed to the creation of the stunning Palawan islands and its rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity.
It’s a crucial time for the corals. They are under extreme threat due to increasing ocean temperature, ocean acidification and increasing occurrences of coral diseases (Hughes, et al. 2003; Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2007; Carpenter et al., 2008). So imagine if these organisms are subjected to another stress. Case in point is building infrastructures in coastal areas near coral reefs. Direct impacts include increase sedimentation and various waste discharges to these coral reefs (NOAA, 2016). Economically speaking, the Philippine coral reefs provide approximately US $1.1 billion per year through services, including coastline protection, food security, tourism, and employment (Chou, Tuan et al. 2002). This is more than enough reason to include them in the government’s national priority.
- Brown et al. 2013. Evolutionary processes of diversification in a model island archipelago. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 44:411–35
- Carpenter, K. E., M. Abrar, G. Aeby, R. B. Aronson, S. Banks, A. Bruckner, A. Chiriboga, J. Cortés, J. C. Delbeek, L. DeVantier, G. J. Edgar, A. J. Edwards, D. Fenner, H. M. Guzmán, B. W. Hoeksema, G. Hodgson, O. Johan, W. Y. Licuanan, S. R. Livingstone, E. R. Lovell, J. A. Moore, D. O. Obura, D. Ochavillo, B. A. Polidoro, W. F. Precht, M. C. Quibilan, C. Reboton, Z. T. Richards, A. D. Rogers, J. Sanciangco, A. Sheppard, C. Sheppard, J. Smith, S. Stuart, E. Turak, J. E. N. Veron, C. Wallace, E. Weil and E. Wood (2008). “One-Third of Reef-Building Corals Face Elevated Extinction Risk from Climate Change and Local Impacts.” Science 321(5888): 560-563.
- Chou, L., V. Tuan, T. Yeemin, A. Cabanban and PhilReefs (2002). “Status of coral reefs of the world: Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland.”
- Hall, R. 1998. The plate tectonics of Cenozoic SE Asia and the distribution of land and sea, in Biogeography and geological evolution of Southeast Asia. R. Hall and J. D. Holloway, eds. Leiden: Brackhuys, 99-132
- Hoegh-Guldberg, O., P. J. Mumby, A. J. Hooten, R. S. Steneck, P. Greenfield, E. Gomez, C. D. Harvell, P. F. Sale, A. J. Edwards, K. Caldeira, N. Knowlton, C. M. Eakin, R. Iglesias-Prieto, N. Muthiga, R. H. Bradbury, A. Dubi and M. E. Hatziolos (2007). “Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification.” Science 318(5857): 1737-1742.
- Hughes, T. P., A. H. Baird, D. R. Bellwood, M. Card, S. R. Connolly, C. Folke, R. Grosberg, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, J. B. C. Jackson, J. Kleypas, J. M. Lough, P. Marshall, M. Nyström, S. R. Palumbi, J. M. Pandolfi, B. Rosen and J. Roughgarden (2003). “Climate Change, Human Impacts, and the Resilience of Coral Reefs.” Science 301(5635): 929-933.
- Ivanova, Elena V. (2009). Influence of the Thermohaline Circulation on Paleoceanographic Events in the South China Sea. The Global Thermohaline Paleocirculation (pp. 147-170): Springer Netherlands
- Juinio-Meñez, M.A., Magsino, R.M., Ravago-Gotanco, R. et al. Marine Biology (2003) Genetic structure of Linckia laevigata and Tridacna crocea populations in the Palawan shelf and shoal reefs 142: 717. doi:10.1007/s00227-002-0998-z
- Le Saout, S., Hoffmann, M., Shi, Y., Hughes, A., Bernard, C., Brooks, T.M. et al. (2013) Protected Areas and Effective Biodiversity Conservation. Science 342: 803.
- Maeda K and Palla HP. (2015). A new species of the genus Stiphodon from Palawan, Philippines (Gobiidae: Sicydiinae). Zootaxa. 4018(3):381-95. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4018.3.3.
- Muir, P.R., Wallace, C.C., Done, T., and Aguirre, J.D. (2015) Limited scope for latitudinal extension of reef corals. Science 348: 1135.
- Rubite, R.R., Hughes, M., Blanc, P., Chung, K.-F., Yang, H.-A., Kono, Y. et al. (2015) Three new species of Begonia endemic to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan. Botanical Studies 56: 19.
- US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Retrieved from http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/…. Last edited June 24, 2016