The famous 'Boluarte' rock formation at Apo Island

Marine Biology Field Work: Apo Island Marine Sanctuary Assessment



0 Flares



Google+


0








Facebook


0








Twitter


0








Pin It Share


0






0 Flares


×

A typhoon (hurricane) hit the Philippines in July 2004. Most of the damage was in the northern “typhoon belt” around Luzon, but the Visayas where I live took some damage from the edge of the storm. High winds and heavy rains pounded the countryside and even caused a landslide that destroyed part of a resort on nearby Apo Island. The scientists at the Silliman Marine Lab in Dumaguete where I am assigned were asked to do a post typhoon damage assessment, and they invited me to come along.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    We caught a pump boat from the Malatapay boat landing early in the morning so we would have enough time to do the three dives we had planned.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Adonis is a scientist at the marine lab, he's an expert on the plankton in the sea here.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    You can see Apo Island in the background of this photo. You can tell from the steep slopes of its shores that it was formed long ago by volcanoes.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    As we neared the island we could see the spot where a landslide triggered by the torrential rains of the typhoon had destroyed several of the buildings at this resort beside Liberty's. Luckily no one was hurt, but a couple from France was supposed to stay in one of the demolished nipa huts on the night of the landslide but chose to stay at Liberty's instead.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The distinctive rock formation of Apo was still perfectly fine though.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    We went around to the sanctuary side of the island to conduct the first coral damage assessment.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    These trevally are pretty common around Apo and the other marine sanctuaries in the Philippines. They usually travel alone or in pairs and seem curious of people swimming around in their environment.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Iday carried the quadrant used for systematically sampling the health of the reef.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Within the Apo Island marine sanctuary are established stakes to mark the spots where the transect should be laid. The transect is usually 50 meters long and should be placed in an area that is generally representative of the entire reef.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Renclar is an expert with the underwater video camera and will swim along each transect at a constant height above the sea floor to make a record of the health of the reef. Many times he will edit these videos into short educational films to output to a VCD disk and give to local officials who may have never seen what their sanctuary looks like beneath the surface.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Meanwhile, Iday had already begun her survey of the reef with the quadrant, recording the data on her waterproof slate.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    In this photo you can see Adonis laying the transect and Pabs to the left recording data on her slate. There's also a curious trevally swimming by to make sure the data collection is going ok.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    You can tell Renclar is a soccer player from the trajectory of this fish. It almost looks like a football getting kicked by a punter!

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Adonis watched this trevally swim by the transect.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The bright orange colors of this one glowed like a hot coal in the deep water.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    These two clown fish turned out to be good photo subjects.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The Silliman Marine Lab cultures endangered giant clams in enormous saltwater tanks and then restocks depleted populations all over the country. These relatively young giant clams are protected from predators (including humans) by this wire cage.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Here's a close up view of a giant clam in the Apo Island sanctuary. When these things are fully grown they are truly huge.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    This nudibranch looks almost like cake icing to me in this photo. Don't eat them though, they are very poisonous.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    With wispy appendages that filter food from the seawater, this sea worm will rapidly retract if it detects that you are too close to it.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Analie was lucky enough to grow up on Apo Island and now is a scientist at the Silliman Marine Lab. She got us some fresh caught local fish for lunch on the beach beside the Apo marine sanctuary.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Here's a view of our pump boat's propeller.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Our fish friend seemed to have recovered from being punted by Renclar earlier.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    I guess it's pretty obvious why this fellow is called a skunk clown fish.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    These two little skunks peered out from the protection of their anemone.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    This clown fish seemed to be using its anemone almost like a blanket tucked in to an undersea bed.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    What the filefish lacks in speed an maneuverability, it makes up in camouflage.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Now you can say that you've seen a sea cucumber's butt.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Lionfish may look cool, but they will deal out a painful sting if you touch them.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Near the end of the third dive, we came across this hawksbill sea turtle. I swam with it for about 75 yards and snapped a few of the first photos that I have of this species.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The turtle looked like it was flying underwater, but I could feel sweat beading up under my mask from the exertion of keeping up with it.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    This is one of the first photos I took of Apo's many turtles. I was on a coral reef damage assessment dive with the Silliman Marine Lab and happened to spot this turtle swimming among the colorful soft corals of the Chapel dive site. (Click here to see more photos from this dive).