Marine Biodiversity Networking Fridays Asia & Pacific

Marine Biodiversity Networking Friday on IOC/WESTPAC and coral reef survey and recovery activities

On April 8th, 2022, 8-9 AM UTC (3-4 PM in Thailand, 4-5 PM in the Philippines, 5-6 PM in Japan) we will have the Marine Biodiversity Networking Friday on IOC/WESTPAC and coral reef survey and recovery activities.

The IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) was established in 1989 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC/UNESCO) to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in marine research, ocean observations and services, as well as capacity building in the Western Pacific and adjacent seas, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of governance, sustainable development and protection of the marine environment. WESTPAC currently consists of 22 Member States mainly in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Pacific and the eastern Indian Ocean, with its membership open to all interested Member States of IOC/UNESCO willing to participate actively in the work of the Sub-Commission. WESTPAC defines its strategic direction based on priority interests of the Member States in the region, and implements its programmes and activities through partnerships with national competent agencies, marine scientific institutes, universities and other international organizations or programmes in the region.

Programme (UTC):

8:00 AM – Welcome remarks, Venus Leopardas (Mindanao State University at Naawan, Philippines)

8:05 AM – Kentaro Ando (IOC/WESTPAC, Japan)

8:25 AM – Suchana Chavanich (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)

8:45 AM – Q&A, moderated by Venus Leopardas

9:00 AM – Closing

Relevant Links:

This is an Ocean Decade Event.

Ocean Decade logo


Headshot Kentaro Ando

Kentaro Ando

Activities of IOC/WESTPAC and its relations to MBON

Kentaro Ando will introduce the outline of the current activities of IOC/WESTPAC, which include 16 projects/programmes endorsed at the intergovernmental session of IOC/WESTPAC and several capacity development activities. Then, he will try to pick up and introduce a couple of projects/programmes and capacity development activities, which will be associated with marine diversity.

Kentaro Ando (Ken Ando) was employed by JAMSTEC in 1988 after graduating Tohoku University (Master of Science), then has been working for ocean science in the tropical Pacific and India oceans.  He has been dedicated to develop and maintain the tropical Pacific Ocean observing system (TAO/TRITON) and the Indian ocean observing system (RAMA) until recently.  In the meantime, he got the Doctor of Science (PhD) from Tohoku University in 2002 by his collected ocean researches in the tropical Pacific Ocean.  Since the crisis of the operation of TAO/TRITON array in the Pacific Ocean in 2012, he has been engaged in the new project, called TPOS2020, to re-design a new ocean observing system in the Pacific Ocean, and contributed to publish three reports for TPOS.  Finally, TPOS began this year by the multinational efforts.  Kentaro also started working for UNESCO/IOC in 2013 as a member of Advisory Board of IOC/WESTPAC, which is one of regional sub-commissions of IOC.  He was elected as vice-chairperson in 2017, and then elected as co-chairperson of IOC/WESTPAC in 2021.  During the period, Kentaro took a leadership to make a plan of Kuroshio research, and finally at the intergovernmental session of IOC/WESTPAC in 2021, new Kuroshio research programme, CSK-2 (2nd Cooperative Study of Kuroshio and adjacent regions), was endorsed.

Headshot Suchana Chavanich

Suchana Chavanich

IOC/WESTPAC coral reef survey and recovery activities

Suchana Chavanich has a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire (USA). She has a broad base of ecological research interests involving the study of nearshore species from tropical to polar regions. In addition, her research focuses on conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and impact of climate change and marine debris. Currently, she has the projects related marine biodiversity and polar research under Royal Initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. She is considered to be Thailand’s first female scientist to go diving in Antarctica and Arctic. Her research work on Arctic-Antarctica and coral reefs has inspired Thai and young people on the value of marine ecosystems. Because of her work, Suchana has received several awards and recognitions both nationally and internationally, for example, Explorer Award by National Geographic Magazine Thailand; One of 17 Asia Power Women of Inspiration, selected by Her World Magazine; UNESCO-IOC/WESTPAC Outstanding Scientist Award. Currently, she is also the Sustainable Ocean Ambassador.


Venus Leopardas

Venus Leopardas is a faculty member, researcher and extension worker in the Mindanao State University at Naawan. She is currently managing an R&D project on the ecology, biology and genetic diversity of white teatfish Holothuria fuscogilva in Mindanao, funded by the Department of Science and Technology and monitored by the DOST-The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD). She is also handling projects on coastal resource profiling and updating of local government units Integrated Coastal Management Plans. While teaching, Venus manages not only the graduate programs, but also some projects in the university focused on the marine environment and marine resources. Throughout 2020 Venus held the position of Acting Dean of The School of Graduate Studies at Mindanao State University. She worked as a Research Assistant on a collaborative project between Japan and Philippines from 2010-2012 titled Coastal Ecosystem Conservation and Adaptive Management under Local and Global Environmental Impacts in the Philippines. She provided assistance in field work for seagrass and macroinvertebrate assessments, data management, report writing and presentation of results. In October 2015, Venus obtained a PhD in Biosphere Science from Hokkaido University of Sapporo and in 2017 became a recipient of the Matsuno Environmental Science Award for outstanding research conducted whilst a student. Inspired by this achievement, she continues to play a pivotal role in managing projects, specifically to produce science needed to fast track innovations in her field. Grateful for the opportunities that she has had, Venus is a committed mentor and seeks opportunities to support younger researchers in her sector. An advocate for self-love Venus strives to maintain a work/life balance that promotes happiness both at work and at home. Deeply religious, she believes that with faith, anything is possible. Venus is now working on the Application of eDNA metabarcoding for fish and invertebrate biodiversity assessment in selected mangrove areas of the Philippines, which is a part of understanding marine faunal biodiversity in Indo-Pacific mangroves vulnerable to climate change under e-ASIA JRP.

We will continue with the Networking Fridays during the next months. More information about future sessions as well as presentations and videos from previous sessions can be found here. Please do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.  Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays. Expect some very exciting mornings, afternoons or evenings, depending on where you are…

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.

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