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DOST leads exploration program in Benham Rise

(The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Benham Rise Region, the newly acquired territory of the Philippines, may provide a wealth of marine resources and biodiversity when properly explored and documented.

In order to learn the dynamics of the region, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) implemented a program that seeks to generate benchmark data as basis for the national government to proactively plan and manage its territory.

The program, dubbed “Exploration, Mapping, and Assessment of Deep Water Areas”,  is currently being implemented by the UP Marine Science Institute, UP National Institute of Geological Sciences, and the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Covering a total seabed area of 135,506 sq. km. off the coast of Aurora, the Benham Rise Region was acquired as new territory of the Philippines when the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) of the United Nations had adopted in full the country’s submission for an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) on April 12, 2014.

The results of the preliminary surveys conducted contributed significantly to the effective global management and scientific responsibility of the country to the Benham Rise Region.

Benham Bank’s shallow area comprises the peak of an isolated seamount, one among 30,000 seamounts found in the world’s oceans.

Seamount habitats can be biodiversity hotspots because of available substrates for macrophyte and invertebrate recruitment and settlement, abundance of food, and the interaction of dynamic currents with the supply of nutrients from the deep.

The exploration and assessment program on the Benham Rise Region, among other programs, is one of the council’s initiatives to improve the state of R&D in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources sectors.

This is in keeping with its commitment to provide science-based know-how and tools that will enable the agricultural sector to raise productivity to world-class standards.

AQUATIC AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT OF DEEP WATER AREAS BENHAM BANK BENHAM RISE REGION EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF LIMITS OF THE CONTINENTAL SHELF MARINE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES PHILIPPINE COUNCIL UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES LOS BA
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