We actively work on the biology of seaweeds, especially their biodiversity, systematics, life history, and reproduction. We also dabble on algal community ecology, gravitating towards understanding the ecology of canopy-forming seaweeds such as Sargassum. Other research done by our team include floristics, marine phytogeography, and molecular phylogenetics.

Moreover, we conduct applied phycological research, with special reference to seaweed farming (i.e., mass cultivation of carrageenan-producing seaweeds Kappaphycus, Eucheuma, and Halymenia). Currently, we are scaling up on our efforts in harnessing underutilized seaweed resources by developing novel and/or locally-adapted cultivation technologies for large-scale biomass production. This is to support the call of the seaweed industry to diversify our seaweed products.

Our team of young, budding scientists is led by one of the newest additions to the roster of faculty of MSI, Dr. Wilfred John E. Santiañez.

The Team

Principal Investigator

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Wilfred John E. Santiañez

Assistant Professor
&
Collections Manager,
G.T. Velasquez Phycological Herbarium

Seaweed biodiversity and systematics, Algal community ecology, Marine phytogeography, Seaweed farming

Researchers

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John Michael L. Lastimoso

University Research Associate

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Eunize Joy R. Milante

University Research Associate

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Christian Ace T. Guerta

Laboratory Technician
(part-time)

Grad Students

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Steffi Mari J. Arceta

MSc in Marine Science
(Marine Biology) student

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Daryl Anne M. De Jesus

MSc in Marine Science
(Marine Biology) student

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Kim Neil B. Dulguime

MSc in Marine Science
(Marine Biology) student

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Hazel Ruth S. Jimenez

MSc in Marine Science
(Marine Biology) student

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Brix Nester Q. Villafuerte

MSc in Marine Science
(Marine Biology) student

Projects

Diversity, systematics, and molecular phylogeny of Philippine Dictyotales (Phaeophyceae, Ochrophyta)

An exploratory work on the biodiversity and phylogenetic relationships of dictyotalean seaweeds. Funded by the University of the Philippines System Balik PhD Program (OVPAA-BPhD-2018-05).

Revisiting the systematics of the family Scytosiphonaceae (Ectocarpales, Phaeophyceae)

A continuing work aimed at resolving the complex systematic and phylogenetic problems in the brown algal family Scytosiphonaceae with special reference to the Indo-Pacific.

Establishing reference culture collections for marine macroalgae (seaweeds)

A work envisioned to document the seaweed resources of the Philippines through culture collections. Funded by U.P. Diliman – Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Ph.D. Incentive Award (Project No. 191926 PhDIA).

Biodiversity of cryptic marine brown algae

A closer look on the biology of microscopic (hence overlooked) brown seaweeds of the Philippines.

DNA barcoding of the Sargassum (Phaeophyceae) resources of northern Philippines

Assessing and validating Sargassum species records and distribution in northern Philippines. Funded by the University of the Philippines System Enhanced Creative Work and Research Grant (ECWRG 2018-02-010).

Status of the growth and reproductive timing of Sargassum in Pangasinan, Philippines

A work that seeks to understand the responses of Sargassum from the Bolinao-Anda Reef Complex (BARC), Pangasinan, north-western Philippines to environmental changes especially ocean warming. Funded by the Nagao Natural Environment Foundation Research Grant Programme (Japan).

Recent Publications

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Updated checklist of the benthic marine macroalgae of the Philippines

This work highlights (1) the rich seaweed biodiversity of the Philippines; (2) the need for re-evaluation of several previously …

Notes on the taxonomy of the Philippine endemic Porphyra marcosii Cordero (Bangiaceae, Rhodophyta)

Proposal to relegate Porphyra marcosii as a later heterotypic synonym of Phycocalidia vietnamensis based on morphology, growth and …

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