Authors: Dr. Emelina G. Regis and Ms. Joanaviva C. Plopenio
Funding Entity: University Research Council, ADNU
A baseline study of marine resources of Rapu-Rapu Island was done in Barangays Linao, Tinopan, and Buenavista to conduct inventories of seaweed and seagrass species, assess coral reef health and determine pollution using phytoplankton bioindicator species. An FGD with validation through interviews was done to determine benefits derived by local communities. Results show species richness: 27 seaweed species during the Southwest monsoon (July-August 2008) and 46 species during the Northeast monsoon (March 2009). Four species of seagrasses were observed in both monsoons. Community similarity among the three study sites was lowest (38.89%) during the Southwest monsoon and highest (50.53%) during the Northeast monsoon. In all study sites, Sargassum polycystum was the most dominant among the seaweed species. For the seagrass species, Thalassia hemprichii was dominant in sites I and II while Cymodea rotundata was dominant in site III. On coral reef health, Barangay Buenavista exhibited the healthiest coral reef. Before mining activities, benefits derived by local communities from the marine habitats were various fishery resources and seaweeds. Knowledge of the marine resources was limited but essential enough to elicit concern for the habitats. Assuming physico-chemical conditions being similar, the assessments show that toxic phytoplankton and distance from the mining area were significant factors that most likely affected the health of the coral reef and other habitats. These findings are in agreement with the results of FGDs.