Members of the press, environmentalists, academe, government agencies, and students attended the event with the assistance of advertisements published in media sponsors Manila Bulletin and Business Mirror. Booths by the SAVE PALAWAN SEAS FOUNDATION (SPSF) and Projectseventhousand.org were set up in the reception area for guests to visit while sipping wine provided by wine sponsor Le Cellier. An exhibition that featured breathtaking photographs of marine wildlife by the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI) gave attendees a glimpse of what is worth protecting. All this set the stage for an informative and timely discussion.
The symposium was hosted by environmental advocate, freelance writer, and blogger Anna Oposa, who introduced the speakers. The program began with a speech by co-founder of SPSF and Jewelmer Mr. Jacques Branellec followed by guest speaker Dr. Thelma Mundita S. Lim, Director, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the DENR. Mr. Manuel Cojuangco, co-founder of SPSF and president of Jewelmer then introduced keynote speaker Dr. Kent E. Carpenter.
DR. KENT E. CARPENTER, Keynote Speaker
Director, Marine Biodiversity Unit
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Professor, Biological Sciences
Old Dominion University, Virginia USA
Dr. Kent Carpenter is Professor of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA. He is currently doing research in the Philippines as part of the U.S. Fulbright Program hosted by the Philippine American Education Foundation. His main research interests are evolution of fishes, marine biogeography and marine conservation. He was a Philippine US Peace Corps volunteer, completed a PhD at the University Hawaii, did post-doctoral research at the University of Philippines Visayas, served as Marine Biologist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, managed the Species Identification and Data Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, and now is also the manager of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Marine Biodiversity Unit.
In 2005, Dr. Carpenter, a Professor of Biological Sciences at the Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Virginia, USA, co-authored and presented a groundbreaking paper titled “The center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity:
In “Scientific Discovery and the Urgent Need for Conservation at the Philippine Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity”
Multiple studies confirm that the Philippines have more species per unit area than any other region on earth. The scientific explanation for this concentration of marine biodiversity is complex and reflects the unique geological and oceanographic features of the Philippines. Genetic studies of a variety of marine organisms over the past few years reveal the globally unique nature of the Philippine marine realm. Populations of marine species are isolated from one another around the Philippines demonstrating that the raw material for evolution is present in this region in unusually close proximity. This supports a major reason for the Philippine epicenter of marine biodiversity:
DR. THERESA MUNDITA S. LIM, Guest Speaker
Director, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Title of presentation:
Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim graduated from UP Diliman with a course in veterinary medicine and pursued post graduate studies at the Royal Veterinary College in London. She has been the Director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) at the DENR since 2007 and is also the Chairperson of the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Sub-Committee on Marine Protected Areas and Networks. She is also the Head of the Secretariat for the Philippine National CTI Coordination Committee. She has received accolades from UPGLAA as a distinguished alumna for Public Service as well as awards for being the Most Outstanding Veterinarian in Wildlife Practice by the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines and as Outstanding Alumna in Government Service by the UP Societas Mulierum. She has spoken, organized, and participated in numerous seminars and workshops both here and abroad advocating the cause of environmental conservation in the Philippines.