Sunday, July 24, 2011

College of Science Students Awarded Best Research Paper in National Science Confab

Paper presentors (from left): Kristine Doringo, Julie Ann Valdez,
Abigail Peralta (finalists for Best Undergraduate paper) and Aris
Reginaldo (finalist for Best Environmental Science paper)
A research on the impact of rising ocean temperature on the larval development of sea urchins won for Abigail  Joyce Peralta and Kristine Rose Doringo, BS Biology graduates of UP Baguio, the Best  Undergraduate Paper Award at the 11th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Philippine Society for the Study of  Nature (PSSN), held on 24-28 May 2011 at the UP Open University in Los Baños, Laguna. Entitled “The Impact of Predicted Ocean Temperature and pH Levels on the Development of Sea Urchin (Tripneustes gratilla) Larvae,” the work was among five (5) finalists that were pre-selected by a panel of distinguished scientists. Undergraduate theses submissions came from different academic institutions all over the country.

After the initial screening, the chosen finalists were delivered by the authors at the scientific meeting and were judged on the strengths of the presentation by a three-member panel of scientists from UP Los Baños, Palawan State University and Silliman University. The students’ research looked at the effects of elevated temperature and reduced pH on the larval development of the sea urchin found in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Global warming due to climate change is expected to cause increase in average ocean temperature by about 4°C, as well as a corresponding decrease in ocean pH by about 0.3-0.5 units, by the end of the century. As a consequence, various processes governing marine life may be potentially affected including fertilization success, development and calcification. Their study showed that rise in sea temperature, more than acidification, considerably hampered the developmental success of sea urchin larvae.

The students did their experiments at the Bolinao Marine Laboratory of the Marine Science Institute of UP Diliman. Dr. Wilfredo Alangui, Dean of the College of Science of UP Baguio, expressed elation over the award and the fact that three of the five finalists were from his college, even though only two of the UP Baguio entries were presented at the conference. “Since the first batch of BS Biology theses came out in 2006, our students have produced scholarly researches that have been presented in various national and international conferences.

Some of these have also gained recognition, while some are benefitting communities and agencies,” Dr. Alangui said. He added that the high quality of these undergraduate theses is a product of commitment to scientific rigor, dedication and hard work of the students under the meticulous guidance of their professors and advisers.

Dr. Romeo Dizon of the Department of Biology, a marine biologist who specializes on coral reef restoration, served as the adviser of Ms. Peralta and Ms. Doringo. Dr. Alangui also expressed gratitude to the Marine Science Institute for allowing their students to do their laboratory work in Bolinao, and to the Dativa Roque Cristobal Foundation for the Dr. and Mrs. Adorable Grant to the College of Science which helped subsidize the participation of the UPB students. With a recent Master of Science in Zoology degree from UP Los Baños, Biology faculty Aris Reginaldo was also a presenter at the conference. His paper, “Habitat Disturbance and Patterns of Occurrence of Small Non-volant Mammals and their Ectoparasites,” presented results on ectoparasites that included many new species records and new host-ectoparasite relationships, shedding light on ectoparasite diversity in the country. Reginaldo was also a finalist in the Best Paper presentation (professional category).

(This article is originally published in Ti Similla, the official newsletter of the academic staff, UP Baguio, Baguio City in June 2011).

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