The waters surrounding the archipelago are valuable resources to the Philippines. The UP Marine Science Institute empowers the marine sector by addressing various research gaps and by promoting the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. From the surveillance of oceanic ecosystems to the development of marine-based technologies, the UP MSI designs and implements research programs that tackle problems in ecology, oceanography, biology and biochemistry, geology, and conservation.

For a more integrated approach to solving these problems, the research, development, and extension endeavors of the UP MSI revolve around four multidisciplinary themes: marine biodiversity and ecosystems, archipelagic oceanography, marine biotechnology, and climate change.


Marine biodiversity research focuses on assessment, monitoring, and management of marine ecosystems; biology and culture of marine organisms; and genetic diversity and biogeography. These contribute to national and regional directives on marine biodiversity conservation, fisheries management (i.e., capture and mariculture), economic development, disaster mitigation, and climate change adaptation. The Marine Biodiversity Resources Information System (MBRIS) and its partner BRING (Biodiversity Information Network Group) provide Information from a network of researchers and marine laboratories (Hub of Marine Ecosystems or HOME) to the public, thereby promoting collaboration among complementary fields of expertise.


The Philippines is among the most oceanographically complex areas in the world, with the interaction between the North Pacific and the marginal seas (West Philippine Sea and Sulu Sea) occurring throughout the porous Philippine archipelago. The multidisciplinary oceanographic programs of the UP MSI attempt to capture the role of the physical environment in harmful algal blooms, coastal integrity and protection, fisheries (e.g., sardines) dynamics, sustainable mariculture, and ocean acidification. Methods using remote sensing and geographic Information systems (GIS) can evaluate the vulnerability of the marine environment to natural and human-induced impacts, as well as estimate the degree and scale of potential impacts relevant to coastal and marine management.


Through basic and applied research, marine biotechnology connects the evolution, ecology, and biology of marine organisms with underlying genetic, molecular, chemical, and biochemical principles. It showcases marine ecosystems as diverse “biofactories” with key roles in food security, human health and well-being, sustainable energy, and other provisioning services. Through local and international collaborations, UP MSI faculty and researchers aim to understand, protect, and capture the vast potential, of Philippine marine biodiversity.


The UP MSI fosters a strong interdisciplinary team of biophysical experts who conduct vulnerability assessment and develop climate change adaptation strategies. The focus is on determining how coral reef communities (e.g., coral reefs, seagrass, and mangroves) respond to climate hazards and how their coping thresholds affect socio-ecological resilience. Coastal vulnerability assessment (VA) tools have been developed with partner institutions to holistically consider biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries, and coastal integrity in building such resilience.