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This profile was last updated on 9/2/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Miguel D. Fortes

Wrong Dr. Miguel D. Fortes?


Phone: (603) ***-****  HQ Phone
85 Adams Point Road
Durham , New Hampshire 03824
United States

Company Description: SeagrassNet is an expanding monitoring program that investigates and documents the status of seagrass resources worldwide and the threats to this important and...   more

Employment History

  • Marine Scientist and Professor of Marine Science
    University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute
  • Manager, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Regional Secretariat
    Western Pacific
  • University of the Philippines
  • Professor of Marine Science
    Marine Science Institute

Board Memberships and Affiliations

31 Total References
Web References
Bolinao/ Ilog Malino, Pangasinan | SeagrassNet, 2 Sept 2015 [cached]
Dr. Miguel D. Fortes heads the SeagrassNet team at Bolinao/ Ilog Malino, Pangasinan.
Even for now, even if it's ..., 21 Mar 2009 [cached]
Even for now, even if it's isolated but obvious, give it time where nothing substantial will be done, they will lose their sand," said Dr. Miguel Fortes, head of the UNESCO's National Committee on Marine Science (NCMS).
The erosion is happening particularly at Diniwid, a 200-meter long stretch of beach in the Southern part of the island, known for its powdery white sand. Fortes said he was astonished when he saw the drastic change in the sands within two years since his last visit in 2007.
Fortes had been commissioned by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Boracay to conduct a study on the erosions, after local officals were alarmed by the phenomenon.
Fortes explained that the erosion is occurring too rapidly, not because of overcrowding, but mainly because resorts and locals have built "environmentally unfriendly" structures like sea walls, which have blocked the natural flow of the current that naturally replenishes the beach.
"Sand should only move in and out of the shore, in and out, and it does not move to other islands. They have modified [natural processes] by constructing something, water and air is hindered, changing wave patterns on the coast so that erosion becomes more dominant," he said.
Wind patterns determine tide patterns, which in turn, are affected by the topography of coast causing both accretion (the build-up of sand making the shoreline farther away) or erosion (the loss of sand which makes the shoreline closer and closer inland). Normally, there should be a balance between accretion and erosion processes, which would sustain the beach's natural slope.
Sea walls and other structures that block the currents, Fortes said, are in danger of crumbling because waves have a stronger and harsher backlash when they slam against a wall.
Boracay should be protecting tourist destinations which are diving, boating, glass bottom boats," Fortes said after conducting initial investigations with a team of scientists in February. (see video)
He explained that coral reefs and seagrass act as buffers against wave impacts, but they have become less effective because of destruction, as well as sea level rise caused by climate change. He added that powdery white sand comes from coral reef organisms called "foraminiferans" but they can no longer replenish the coast because they have also been destroyed.
However, Fortes said this proves unsightly for tourists.
Boracay has also constructed bio-reefs to encourage more fish to come back to the area. Fortes said these are just quick fix solutions and recommended that Boracay's annual income should be used instead for long-term solutions like preserving the marine ecosystem in the area.
But it takes at least double the time for it to recover," Fortes said.
He was hopeful, however, that the problem could be solved if local government agencies, Boracay residents, and business establishment owners work together.
Seagrass-Watch | seagrass news 2007 archives, 9 July 2007 [cached]
Dr. Miguel Fortes, a marine scientist and professor of marine science at the UPMSI, said that of the marine habitats, corals are the most popular, mangroves the most disturbed and seagrass beds the least studied.
Fortes said in the past, studies on the three marine ecosystems were done separately but "evidence shows the connection between them, that if you destroy mangroves, you destroy corals, and you destroy seagrass beds. Except the Philippines, the other countries shared common problems like the lack of good assessment of seagrass beds, including the factors that destroy them. The Philippines has also the most seagrass species, "but only maybe because more studies have been conducted here," Fortes said.
Bolinao trip
The participants were brought to an exposure trip to the flat reefs of Cape Bolinao where coral reefs abound and where the largest concentration of seagrass beds in the country (22,500 square kilometers, 10 species) is found. Fortes said seagrass beds and coral reefs should be considered as a macro-system of the tropical world that needs an integrated approach for management and protection. But seagrass beds have not been given much attention because "they are grass and not as attractive as the colorful corals," he said. "But they are as useful as corals," said Fortes, who has been studying seagrass for 20 years.
Some fish need both seagrass meadows and coral reefs to thrive, Fortes said. He gave as an example the rabbit fish which residents of this town make into padas (bagoong) when in juvenile stage, and into danggit (sun dried) when in adult stage. "Some species of rabbit fish spawn in sea bed about 12 kilometers from shore. The young fish are herbivores and graze at seagrass beds but when they are sexually mature, they stay at coral reefs," he said. Other species of rabbit fish stay at mangrove areas. But the seagrass, though hardy, is also affected by environmental degradation, Fortes said. > coasts and oceans > features > seagrasses in deep trouble, 1 Mar 2005 [cached]
Seagrasses. Photo: Dr Miguel Fortes
"We have already lost from 30 to 50 percent of our seagrass habitats in the last 50 years," says Dr Miguel D. Fortes, a marine scientist and the country's leading expert on seagrasses.
As in other parts of the world, little is known about the way and the time seagrasses reproduce in the country."Seagrasses are the least studied among the habitats in our coastal zones," says Dr Fortes, the only Filipino to receive the prestigious International Biwako Prize for Ecology for his work on seagrasses.
"These two ecosystems could potentially supply more than one-fifth of the fish catch in the region," says Dr. Fortes, who now heads the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Regional Secretariat for the Western Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.
A total of 1,384 individuals and 55 species from 25 fish families have been identified from five seagrass sites in the Philippines alone.
This specie of seagrass, Enhalus acoroides, is an important source of food. Photo: Dr Miguel Fortes
So you can imagine its huge extent if the entire coastline of the country is surveyed," says Dr Fortes.
"In time, the seagrass becomes a renewable resource," explained Dr Fortes.
Production intensification encourages "activities which have shown remarkable potentials and benefits for sustainable user application."
On what the Philippine government can do, the marine scientist who now heads the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Regional Secretariat for the Western Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, suggests: "By all means mention, explicitly, the word 'seagrass' in all its coastal environmental laws and regulations.Most of these laws merely say 'coral reefs,' 'mangroves,' 'coastal habitats,' 'fisheries'."
Dr Fortes continues: "But to the uninitiated who implement these laws, and who know nothing about seagrasses, they will focus effort and resources on the usual corals, mangroves, fisheries.This is where I admire Indonesia and Thailand, which now do have laws mentioning seagrasses.But nowhere in the world can you find a regulation solely for the protection and management of seagrasses, except in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, where the mayor made it the subject of his first Executive Order in 2002."
However, despite recent developments, "there still exist many gaps in our knowledge of seagrass ecosystems," says Dr Fortes.
Dimitris Sgouros and Rostropovich at the 1994 International Sakharov Festival [cached]
Professor Miguel Fortes, Professor of Marine Science, Marine Science Institute
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