USC Biology welcomes port and ballast water researcher

The USC Department of Biology received Dr. Benjamin Vallejo Jr. of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, University of the Philippines Diliman on September 28, 2022, at the USC Talamban Campus. 

Dr. Benjamin Vallejo Jr. (front row, in maroon shirt) with the USC Department of Biology students and faculty.

Dr Vallejo talked about his project establishing port and ballast water baselines of bacteria using ecological, microbiological, and environmental DNA approaches.

The project aims to acquire port and ballast water viable cell counts of indicator bacteria according to International Maritime Organization (IMO) D-2 Standards. The D-2 standard specifies the maximum amount of organisms allowed to be discharged, including specified indicator microbes harmful to human health. 

Cebu International Port was selected as one of the ports to be studied for the possible transfer of invasive marine species. The ports in Manila Bay, Bicol, and Davao were also selected as the sites of the said project. 

The output of the research will serve as a guide for the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in implementing the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) and the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention (AFS) within the Philippine maritime jurisdiction. Aside from delivering his talk, Dr Vallejo and his team also visited the Microbiology and Molecular laboratories of the Department to explore future collaborations.

Reporting by Annie G. Diola

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