A recently published study demonstrates high genetic diversity but large-scale genetic homogeneity among Porites lutea (Scleractinia: Poritidae) populations in the South China Sea.
This figure shows the direction and magnitude of the estimated gene flow between populations of the coral P. lutea within the South China Sea. It also highlights the significance of some reef sites, including the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Hainan, and the Scarborough Shoal, as major sources of Porites larvae and genetic material, supplying and replenishing most of the populations in the South China Sea basin.
Although some of the paper's sites are well within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines (e.g., Scarborough Shoal, Jacinto Reef/Livock Reef, Arellano Reef/Alicia Annie Reef, and Bulig Shoal/First Thomas Reef), the authors from China were able to freely collect and study their coral specimens in the summers of 2015 and 2016 without even acknowledging the authority of the Philippines in their sampling. Tayo rito, pinagsisikapan nating makakuha ng kaukulang permiso para makapagkolekta sa sarili nating katubigan, kahit pa ito’y para naman sa pananaliksik na ang pamahalaan din naman ang nagpondo. Sila eme-eme lang. Hindi ito nararapat at hindi dapat ito pinalalagpas.
It is ironic that in the process of protecting our territory and natural resources, our self-imposed bureaucracy allows these unregulated collection trips to push through, which, in the long run, further weaken our claims to these disputed reefs. While we commend the government’s efforts to regulate the exploitation of our resources, I call on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development to be more vigilant not only to our own people but also to those who try to undermine the country’s jurisdiction in these waters.
Paper published here: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-018-1724-8
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