Xavier University opens marine station

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Monday, May 12, 2014


XAVIER University opened its Marine Station managed by the university's McKeough Marine Center in Solana, Jasaan, Misamis Oriental on May 6.

“This facility has been given to us to serve our community and care for our environment,” said XU President Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ during the blessing of the Marine Station.

The XU Marine Station will support researches in biology and marine biology, and related studies on the sustainable development of the environment.

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Adjacent to the station is an activity center equipped with a multi-purpose hall, cottages, dormitory, kitchen and a store room for meetings, public presentations, fora and training workshops related to marine research and social outreach.

There is also a field site, fronting the Marine Station, which hosts marine resources and other ecosystems. It will serve as a site for training in basic ecological survey methods and techniques.

“These components complete the basic make up of a good research facility: a set of indoor laboratories, a field site for experiments, and facilities for training/workshops,” explained Fr. Mars Tan SJ, MMC director.

“MMC has already generated a 3D bathymetric and resource map of the coastal site as a source of baseline information for present and future studies,” he added.

Building on the past, shaping the future “XU is building on its past and shaping the future,” said Fr Yap.

A Jesuit priest, Fr James McKeough, was one of the pioneers of marine science when it started in the Philippines in the 1960s.

He started XU’s Marine Biology program which launched marine science education in Northern Mindanao.

In 2006, the McKeough Marine Center was formally established as a research and social development arm in the field of marine science.

“We have a good, strong program in Marine Biology,” said Fr Yap, “and we have a chance to strengthen our achievements through the marine station.”

Fr. Yap emphasized that caring for the environment is part of Jesuit mission. “You cannot be a Jesuit university if you don’t have a clear environmental program,” he said.

XU’s approach in the protection of the environment has been looking at the whole ecosystem from the ridge to the reef. The Marine Station will not only support researches in marine science, but also support environmental research in general.

“Let this be a facility we can use to shape the future,” he said.
Dr Hilly Quiaoit, XU vice president for Research and Social Outreach, said that XU had a marine station in Bulua during the 1980s, but the developments in the area made it an unsuitable site for a marine station.

The search for a new location began in the 2000s. It took many years before they finally found the place in Solana, Jasaan.

The blessing of the XU Marine Station was graced by members of the Macajalar Bay Development Alliance, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Coast Guard, local government units, Samdhana Institute, alumni of XU’s Marine Biology program, and members of the XU community.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 12, 2014.

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