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Bolinao and the Stewards of Paradise

A Laboratory Report
By: Salinas, Ruffa Mae
Moron, Jenela
Ayuyao, Analyn
Layson, Lorenz Angelo


Bolinao, Pangasinan is located at the Northern part of the Philippines. It is widely

known for its pristine beaches, fresh sea food, and enchanting caves. The place is
characterized also by having the highest single concentration of seagrasses, and diverse
seawater organisms, that gives a sign of having a healthy marine ecosystem and makes it
to be one of the perfect fieldwork site.

During the three-day Marine Biology fieldwork at Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan, we

are assigned to do some experiments to explore the diversity of seawater. To do so, we
conducted activities such as identifying and counting sea grasses and invertebrates,
titrating seawater and analyzing the variations of temperature of the land and sea.

This Laboratory Report presents the results and observations gathered during the



Among the tropical coastal ecosystems, seagrasses are the least studied. The first
Philippine-wide surveys indicated that seagrass beds in the Philippines are spread
discontinuously over 978 sq km in 96 selected sites. However, this observation is
reflective of data resulting from unsystematic studies and incidental collections rather
than its true distribution in the country (Fortes 1995 as cited in Fortes, 2004).

Seagrasses belong to the group of flowering plants capable of completing their

life cycle in a marine environment and its ecosystem is highly productive, with immense
ecological and socioeconomic relevance. They support different types of biota, capable of
producing considerable amount of organic matter, serve as the major energy source in the
coastal marine food web, and play a significant role in nutrient regeneration and shore
stabilization processes.

Invertebrates are animals without a backbone or bony skeleton.They range in

size from microscopic mites and almost invisible flies to giant squid with soccer-ball-
size eyes.This is by far the largest group in the animal kingdom: 97 percent of all
animals are invertebrates. The total number of invertebrate species could be 5, 10, or
even 30 million, com- pared to just 60,000 vertebrates.


 Make a 30m transect belt

 Place it parallel and perpendicular to the shore
 Identify invertebrates, seagrasses and seaweeds present within the area of the
transect belt.



Distance Organism
5 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Starfish
3. hermit crab
4. clamps
5.Sargassum polyphyllum
10 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. brown algae
3. snail
15 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Clamps
20 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. brown algae
3. Halophila
4. hermit crab
5. Sargassum polyphyllum

25 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum

2. Halophila
3. Starfish
30 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Halophila
3. snake
4. starfish


Distance Organism
5 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Star fish
3. snail
4. clamps
5. brown algae
6. green algae
7. Sargassum polyphyllum
10 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. brown algae
3. Halophila
4. clamps
15 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Clamps
3. hermit crabs
4. Halophila
5. Starfish
20 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. brown algae
3. Halophila
4. Sea urchin
25 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Halophila
3. snail
4. Sargassum polyphyllum
30 meters 1. Thalassia testudinum
2. Halophila
3. snake
4. sea worm
5. Galaxaura fasciculata


As per our experiment, we have observed that as the distance is far from the shore in
a perpendicular manner, the organisms that can be seen under water is greater in number
than in a parallel manner. This is maybe due to the frequent exposure of the organisms from the
outside factors. That may affect the living conditions of organisms near the shore.



Titration, process of chemical analysis in which the quantity of some constituent of a sample is
determined by adding to the measured sample an exactly known quantity of another substance
with which the desired constituent reacts in a definite, known proportion. The process is usually
carried out by gradually adding a standard solution (i.e., a solution of known concentration) of
titrating reagent, or titrant, from a burette, essentially a long, graduated measuring tube with a
stopcock and a delivery tube at its lower end. The addition is stopped when the equivalence point
is reached.

Primary productivity is the rate at which energy-rich organic compounds are converted
from inorganic compounds. Primary productivity is thus usually considered synonymous with
photosynthesis, but this is not quite correct, since a minor amount of primary productivity is
confined to photosynthesis (Nybakken 1993).

Gross primary productivity is the total rate of photosynthesis or energy assimilated by

autotrophs. A lesser amount is available for use or transfer by the marine organisms since part of
the total production is used by plants for their own life processes. The rate of energy storage as
organic matter after respiration is called net primary productivity (Smith 2012). Net primary
productivity is defined by the following equation:

Net Primary Productivity (NPP) = Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) – Respiration (R)

There are several factors that limit primary productivity, namely, light and nutrients.
Light is a factor that limits primary production because photosynthesis can only be possible
when light that reaches the algal cell surpasses a certain intensity. This implies that the
phytoplankton are limited to the upper portion of the ocean where light intensity can be used for
photosynthesis. Nitrogen and phosphorus are some of the nutrients needed by phytoplankton for
growth and reproduction. These nutrients are vital to phytoplankton partially because they occur
in minute amounts in seawater. Therefore, they are limiting factors for phytoplankton
productivity since the world’s oceans are nutrient-poor environments as compared to its
terrestrial counterpart.

Photosynthesis in the sea is measured using bottles containing either a given species of
phytoplankton, a selected group of species, or a mixed random sample from the water being
studied. The method of Gran (1931,1932) uses paired light and dark bottles, the dark bottle
serving as control to give a correction for simultaneous respiration uncomplicated by
photosynthesis (McConaughey 1978).

The purpose of this study is to estimate the primary productivity in Bolinao, Pangasinan
using the dark/light bottle method. This study also aims to measure respiration and gross
production by phytoplankton and determine their implications.


Preparing the Dissolved oxygen setup

The dark/light bottle method was used to estimate the net primary productivity by
measuring the dissolved oxygen in a pair of dark and light bottles.
Four bottles were used in this experiment. One of the bottles was covered with electrical
tape while the other bottles were left uncovered. Each of the four bottles were filled with
seawater. The first light bottle was filled with seagrass while the second light bottle was filled
with algae. The third bottle was left with seawater only. The only dark bottle was filled with
algae. It was made sure that no bubbles were present in each of the bottles before sealing. The
four bottles were then submerged in the ocean for four (4) hours.

Determination of dissolved oxygen

After four (4) hours, the four bottles were recovered from under the water and each of
them were analyzed using the Winkler’s method. In each bottle, 2 mL of manganese sulfate was
added using a pipette. Using a separate pipette, 2 mL of alkali iodide was added to each of the
four bottles. The bottles were restoppered and were inverted several times to enable thorough
mixing. Nine (9) mL of sulfuric acid were added to each of the four bottles. A one hundred
(100) mL sample was taken from each bottle and was each transferred to Erlenmeyer flasks.
Each sample was titrated using thiosulfate solution, adding about 0.5 mL of starch solution (an
indicator) until the color of the solution fades to pale yellow. Thiosulfate solution was
continually added until the blue color disappeared. The burette volume for each titration was
noted and used to compute for the moles of thiosulfate used and hence the concentration of
oxygen in the water sample.



Seagrass meadows provide critical spawning, nursery, and refuge habitats for a wide variety of
fishes and crustaceans (Bell and Pollard 1989; Heise and Bortone 1999). Ample evidence exists
showing that fish assemblages found in seagrass communities differ from those found in other
estuarine habitats (Weinstein and Brooks 1983; Blaber et al. 1989; Sogard and Able 1991;
Jenkins et al. 1997; Tuckey and DeHaven 2006). Fish species diversity, abundance, and
production decrease in seagrass beds as canopy structure, percentage cover, shoot density, and
biomass decrease (Hughes et al. 2002), principally because of the high level of refuge that
seagrass beds offer fishes (Stoner 1982; Edgar and Shaw 1995; Heise and Bortone 1999).

We cannot count every plant under water so; we count the plants in a random sample of square
meters called quadrats.

 Make a 50m by 50m quadrant. Divide the quadrant into five by five quadrat.
Each quadrat measures 10 meters.
 Place it under water and count the seagrasses in each quadrat.
 Record.




Red algae- 10 Thalassia- 83 Brown algae-3 Halophila-21 Sea urchin-1

Thalassia- 102 Brown algae- 2 Thalassia- 56 Brown algae-3 Green algae- 23
Ruppia- 5 Sargassum Halophila- 15 Green algae- 26
polyphyllum – 1
Red algae- 7 Thalassia- 65 Halophila- 11 Thalassia-68 Thalassia- 73
Thalassia- 158 Brown algae- 6 Thalassia-61
Ruppia- 7 Red algae- 5
Thalassia-89 Thalassia-84 Thalassia-75 Thalassia-79 Thalassia-86
macroloba- 25

Thalassia-82 Thalassia-91 Thalassia-72 Halodule-56 Thalassia-90

Thalassia-77 Snail- 6 Thalassia-81 Halodule-85 Halodule-32
Thalassia- 79 Brown algae- 9
Thalassia- 68 Thalassia- 94 Thalassia-76 Halodule-58 Halodule-25
Halodule-73 Thalassia


Thalassia- 68 Thalassia- 53 Thalassia- 71 Thalassia- 53 Thalassia- 70

Starfish- 11
Thalassia- 51 Thalassia- 65 Thalassia- 64 Thalassia- 47 Thalassia- 65
polyphyllum – 1
Thalassia- 72 Thalassia- 60 Thalassia- 68 Thalassia- 63 Thalassia- 59
Brown algae- 9
Thalassia- 70 Thalassia- 58 Thalassia- 68 Thalassia- 54 Thalassia- 71
Halimeda sea cucumber- 1
macroloba - 14
macroloba – 10
Thalassia- 66 Thalassia- 64 Thalassia- 68 Thalassia- 61 Thalassia- 52
Sargassum Brown algae- 3
polyphyllum – 1



Sea urchin- 1 Sea urchin- 1

Brown algae- 6
Brown algae – Green algae- 3
Green algae- 5


Thalassia- 56 Thalassia- 96 Thalassia- 63 Thalassia- 54 Thalassia-55

Snail- 3
Thalassia-51 Thalassia-85
Worm- 1
Snail- 5 Clamps-4



Time Soil Sea

9 AM 35 30
11 AM 37 33
1 PM 37 35
3 PM 36 35
5 PM 34 33
7 PM 32 31
9 PM 30 31


Due to high specific heat of water, it can resist rapid change in temperature
compared to soil. This is also the reason of having land and sea breeze during night and day time.