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Chicago lecture cites threats to rich Verde Island marine life

Apo Reef at Shedd

A replica of a fishing Village at Apo Island is part of the permanent Shedd Wild Reef Exhibit with authentic creatures and materials shipped from the Philippines. SHEDD

CHICAGO— A scientist warned that over-fishing, pollution and destruction of coral reefs are endangering the area with the most documented diverse marine life on earth, the ten-mile wide strait, Verde Island Passage, in the Philippines that lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle in the western Pacific Ocean.

Kent Carpenter, Ph.D., a professor in biological sciences at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, sounded the warning at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium during his Sept. 28 lecture, “Heart of Marine Biodiversity: Saving the Verde Island Passage.” The Coral Triangle includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.

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The program also focused on the discovery of the “center of the center” of marine biodiversity, recent successes in marine conservation in the Verde Island Passage and the need for these efforts to continue.

Carpenter said the concentration of marine biodiversity in the Philippines amazed biologists and non-scientists alike. He said further that while this global wonder is at risk from numerous threats, conservation efforts in the Verde Island Passage (VIP) showcase the determination to preserve this natural heritage.

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At Shedd Aquarium’s Apo Island Wild Reef Cove after their tour of the exhibit Sept. 28 are from left, Almira Guilles (coordinator of the event), Jelly Carangdang, Philippine Deputy Consul Romulo Israel, a Shedd official, Emaraida Kiram, Cleo Casambre, Ed dela Cruz, Mariano A. Santos and Filipino American History Month coordinator Ruben Salazar. PINOY

Also explained were the programs to “empower local stakeholders” like fishermen to preserve the marine biodiversity resources in the Verde Island Passage being conducted by the SEA-VIP Institute (Science, Education and Advocacy in the Verde Island Passage).

Robert Suntay, president of the SEA-VIP Institute, which tries to protect the marine biodiversity resources also showed his video-documentary of the Verde Island’s various sea creatures.

A tour of the permanent Philippines’ Apo Island Wild Reef exhibit followed. The Shedd Aquarium is at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago and its winter hours (now till June 10 are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and  on weekdays; 9-6 p.m. on weekends). Group rates apply, call 312-939-2438 or 312-692-3333.

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TAGS: center of the center of marine biodiversity, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium Wild Reef Exhibit, Coral Triangle, Education and Advocacy in the Verde Island Passage, endangered marine life, Kent Carpenter Ph.D., marine conservation, Old Dominion University, Science, SEA-VIP Institute
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