University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), The Aquatic Zoology Research Laboratory (AZRL) is one of four research laboratories under the Animal Biology Division of the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños. Since 2017, AZRL has been a partner of ARNP-PAMO in the conduct of coral reef monitoring and capacity building activities. Under its current project funded by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Grants in Aid (DOST-PCAARRD GIA) program, the Spatio-temporal Monitoring and Rehabilitation Technology for Enhanced Recovery of Coral Reefs (SMaRTER-Corals), quarterly monitoring of benthic invertebrate and reef fish communities are conducted in the reef complex. This activity will continue until 2025.

The primary goal of the project is to generate long term community data to support the formulation of science-based policies to enhance ARNP’s resilience in the face of increasing frequency and intensity of natural disturbances brought about by a changing climate. In further support of this goal, substrate stabilization methods are being optimized for future roll out in sections of ARNP damaged by storms. To sustain project gains, capacity building of Park Rangers in the conduct monitoring activities is currently being implemented under the project. Finally, since repetitive Crown of Thorns Sea stars have caused large scale damage in ARNP, the project is working on establishing linkages with relevant NGAs, NGOs, LGUs, and POs to create the CoTS Outbreak Detection and Neutralization Network. The goal is to create a responsive network that can effectively respond to CoTS outbreak in ARNP ultimately minimizing reef damage.