Marine samples collected from Benham Rise

“We collected everything we would find,” said Hildie Nacorda, UP Los Baños Oceanographer, team leader of researchers who went to Benham rise for a two-week expedition.

A small butanding or whale shark, a young white tip shark, tuna, puffer fish,groupers, snapper representatives and surgeon fish wre among the species Nacorda noted to be in the said new Philippine territory.

“We came without knowing what we find. It’s a 50-50 chance we would be diving because we did not know what depth we will land onto. We didn’t know how shallow was shallow, or how deep was deep,” Nacorda said.

The team also collected samples of corals and algae, measured temperature, salinity, oxygen levels and water samples to test Benham Rise’s productivity.

Benham Rise underwater

“The currents were very strong, so we had safety lines for the divers. We had to get to the bottom where the currents slow down a bit,” Marine scientist Cesar Villanoy told Solar.

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