Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121
sstone@calacademy.org

Andrew Ng (415) 379-5123

Academy of Sciences and Pusod Sign Agreement to
Promote Conservation of Philippine Coral Reefs

Agreement coincides with construction
of the world's deepest living coral reef tank

SAN FRANCISCO (August 21, 2007) The California Academy of Sciences and Pusod signed a Memorandum of Understanding today committing to scientific, educational, and outreach efforts regarding the coral reefs of the Philippines. The Academy has a 40-year history of research in the Philippines, resulting in the discovery of dozens of new animal species, publication of a comprehensive guidebook to Indo-Pacific invertebrates, and partnerships with local education and conservation groups. Pusod is a non-governmental organization based in the Philippines and Berkeley, whose mission is to preserve and enhance the ecosystems of the Philippines and show their significance to the world. This agreement formalizes the partnership between the two organizations through 2012. Their efforts will be targeted toward the Filipino community in the Bay Area and abroad, fostering their appreciation for and personal connection to one of the world's critical biodiversity hotspots.

This agreement coincides with the construction of the world's deepest living coral reef display in Golden Gate Park. At 212,000 gallons and 25 feet deep, the Philippine Coral Reef in the new Academy will feature a variety of soft and hard corals, sharks, rays, and over 2,000 colorful reef fish. In preparation for the exhibit, Academy biologists have recently acquired four black-tipped reef sharks and hundreds of new reef fish that are native to the Philippines. They are also growing over 1,000 colonies of coral in a special "coral nursery." A 20,000-gallon prototype tank has been on display at the Academy's Howard Street facility since 2004, allowing the biologists to experiment with different growth conditions for the coral. The Academy's partnership with Pusod will directly support the educational and programmatic aspects of the Philippine Coral Reef display, which will debut with the new Academy in October 2008.

In attendance at the signing were Dr. Terry Gosliner and Dr. Meg Burke of the Academy, Malou Babilonia and Mary Lou Salcedo of Pusod, and Consul Antonio Morales of the Philippines Consulate. The reef exhibit and supporting educational programs are supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.