The Aquatic Ecology Laboratory at IESM is envisioned to become a national resource and training center for researches dealing with the conservation of ecosystems in the coastal marine and freshwater environment and their responses to natural and human-induced stresses. As water bodies are ultimate repository of spoils from ever-increasing human development projects (e.g., agriculture, forestry, extractive industries, land utilization, energy, urbanization, etc.), heavy losses on the functions and services of aquatic ecosystems usually just go unnoticed. Particularly in the Philippine setting over the past century, the degradation of our streams, lakes, rivers, and coastal marine habitats had been steeply sloping, yet, received apparently inadequate scientific and conservation attention. The extent and integrity of various systems continue to suffer against the impacts of development, and even against the supposedly habitat enhancement projects impinging on less-appreciated aquatic systems (e.g., mangrove planting and coral restoration at the cost of seagrass meadows and intertidal flats).

Research Interest


Aquatic Ecology Laboratory geographic database of sites in the Philippines where field data on mangroves and/or seagrasses had been collected. Map credits: Ms. Betty May Villamayor.

PublicationResearch Projects
  • Yoshikai, M., Nakamura, T., Herrera, E.C., Suwa, R., Rollon, R., Ray, R., Furukawa, K., Nadaoka, K. 2023. Representing the impact of Rhizophora mangroves on flow in a hydrodynamic model (COAWST_rh v1.0): the importance of three-dimensional root system structures. Geosci. Model Dev. 16, 5847–5863, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-16-5847-2023 (ISI)
  • Feliciano, G.N.R., Rollon, R.N., Licuanan, W.Y. 2023. Coral community structure of Philippine fringing reefs is shaped by broad-scale hydrologic regimes and local environmental conditions. Coral Reefs. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-023-02391-7 (ISI)
  • Cordero-Bailey, K.S.A., L. T. David, T. L. P. dela Cruz, A. T. Almo, S. Martinez, H. E. Amihan, W. Y. Licuanan, P. Z. Mordeno, V. S. Ticzon, C. L. Nanola, J. B. Cabansag, H. M. Nacorda, R. Rollon, C. L. Villanoy, E. Magdaong, M. J. R. Pante, G. Perez, A. Blanco, T. M. Lim, K. Rodriguez, M. Mendoza, DENR Regional Executive Director XIII, Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) SIPLAS, DENR Regional Executive Director VI, Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) SMR, Local Government of Sagay, Negros Occidental, DENR Regional Executive Director III, and Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) MOBMR. 2023. Philippines Case Study Two (Chapter 12): Looking into the Management Strategies of Three Philippine National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Sites. In Wolff et al. (eds.), pp. 187-205. Challenges in tropical coastal zone management: Experiences and lessons learned. Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 344 p.
  • Mostrales, T.P.I., Rollon, R.N., Licuanan, W.Y. 2022. Evaluation of the performance and cost-effectiveness of coral microfragments in covering artificial habitats. Ecological Engineering 184, 106770 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2022.106770 (ISI)
  • Yoshikai, M., Nakamura, T., Suwa, R., Sharma, S., Rollon, R., Yasuoka, J., Egawa, R., and Nadaoka, K., 2022. Predicting mangrove forest dynamics across a soil salinity gradient using an individual-based vegetation model linked with plant hydraulics. Biogeosciences 19, 1813–1832, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-19-1813-2022. (ISI)
  • Yoshikai, M., Nakamura, T., Suwa, R., Rollon, R., Nadaoka, K. (2021). Measurement and Modeling of Above-Ground Root Systems as Attributes of Flow and Wave Attenuation Function of Mangroves. In: Rastogi, R.P., Phulwaria, M., Gupta, D.K. (eds) Mangroves: Ecology, Biodiversity and Management. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2494-0_12
  • Yoshikai, M., Nakamura, T., Rempei, S., Argamosa, R., Okamoto T., Rollon, R., Basina, R., Primavera-Tirol, Y., Blanco, A.C., Adi, N.S., Nadaoka, K. 2021. Scaling relations and substrate conditions controlling the complexity of Rhizophora prop root system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2020.106937 (ISI)
  • Suwa, R., Rollon R., Sharma, S., Yoshikai, M., Albano, G.M.G., Ono, K., Ati, R.N.A., Kusumaningtyas, M.A., Kepei, T.L., Maliao, R.J., Primavera-Tirol, Y.H., Blanco, A.C., Nadaoka, K. 2021. Mangrove biomass estimation using canopy height and wood density in the South East and East Asian Regions. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2020.106937 (ISI)
  • Palermo, J.D.H., Labrador, K.L., Agmata, A.B., Pante, M.J.R., Rollon, R.N., David, L.T. 2020. Susceptibility of Sardinella lemuru to emerging microplastic pollution. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage. 6(3): 373-384 (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., Villamayor, B.M.R., Oropesa, L.J.B., Samson, M.S. 2017. Prop root production response of planted Rhizophora to abrupt subsidence-induced sea level rise. Ocean & Coastal Management 142(C): 198-208 (ISI)
  • Villamayor, B.M.R., Rollon, R.N., Samson, M.S., Albano, G.M.G., Primavera, J.H. 2016. Impact of Haiyan on Philippine mangroves: implications to the fate of the widespread monospecific Rhizophora plantations against strong typhoons. Ocean & Coastal Management 132(C): 1-14 (ISI)
  • Primavera, J.H, dela Cruz, M., Montilijao, C., Consunji, H., dela Paz, M., Rollon, R.N., Maranan, K., Samson, M.S., Blanco, A. 2016. Preliminary assessment of post-Haiyan mangrove damage and short-term recovery in Eastern Samar, central Philippines. Marine Pollution Bulletin 109: 744-750 (ISI)
  • Ramos, D.A.E., Aragones, L.V., Rollon, R.N. 2015. Linking integrity of coastal habitats and fisheries yield in the Mantalip Reef System. Ocean & Coastal Management 111: 62-71 (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., Samson, M.S., Villamayor, B.M.R., Albano, G.M.G., Siringan, F.P. 2015. Attributes of the earthquake-uplifted intertidal habitats and their implications to the Maribojoc and Loon coastal fisheries. Ocean & Coastal Management 111: 12-24 (ISI)
  • Siringan, F.P., Sta. Maria, M.Y.Y., Samson, M.S., Licuanan, W.R.Y., Rollon, R. 2013. Chapter 5: Coastal Integrity Vulnerability Assessment Tool. In: MERF. 2013. Vulnerability Assessment Tools for Coastal Ecosystems: A Guidebook. Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Inc.: Quezon City, Philippines.
  • Licuanan, W.R.Y., Siringan, F.P., Mamauag, S.S., Samson, M.S., Aliño, P.M., Rollon, R.N., Sta. Maria, M.Y.Y., Quibilan, M.C.C., Martinez, R.J.S., España, N.B., Geronimo, R.C., Villanoy, C.L., Cabrera, O.C., Salamante, E.E., Miclat, E.F.B., David, L.T. 2013. Chapter 4: Integrated Coastal Sensitivity, Exposure, and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change. In: MERF. 2013. Vulnerability Assessment Tools for Coastal Ecosystems: A Guidebook. Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Inc.: Quezon City, Philippines.
  • Primavera, J.H., R.N. Rollon & M.S. Samson. 2011. The Pressing Challenges of Mangrove Rehabilitation: Pond Reversion and Coastal Protection. In Wolanski E and McLusky DS (eds.) Treatise on Coastal and Estuarine Science Volume 10, pp. 217-244. Waltham: Academic Press (ISI)
  • Licuanan, WY, M.L.S. Medina, K.S. Luzon, M.S. Samson, C.L. Nañola, R.N. Rollon, & M.Y. Roleda. 2011. Priority Reef Areas in the Pacific Coast of the Philippines for Marine Prtotected Area Development. Philippine Agricultural Scientist 94(4): 384-400 (ISI)
  • de Venecia, M.B.B. & R.N. Rollon. 2011. Reducing Meadow Damage in Determining the Leaf Plastochrone Intervals (LPI) of Enhalus acoroides (L. f.) Royle and Increasing Statistical Power in Assessing Site-Scale LPI Variability. Philippine Agricultural Scientist 94(4): 375-383 (ISI)
  • Samson, M.S. & R.N. Rollon. 2011. Mangrove Revegetation Potentials of Brackish-Water Pond Areas in the Philippines, Aquaculture and the Environment: a shared destiny, Barbara Sladonja (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-749-9, InTech, pp. 31-50. (ISI) Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/mangrove-revegetation-potentials-of-brackish-water-pond-areas-in-the-philippines
  • Samson, M.S., & R.N. Rollon. 2008. Growth performance of planted mangroves in the Philippines: Revisiting forest management strategies. Ambio 37(4): 234-240. (ISI)
  • Uy, W.H., R.N. Rollon, E.D.R. van Steveninck. 2006. Assessment of Seagrass and Seaweed Meadows and Associated Fauna in the Coastal Barangays of Northeastern Mt. Malindang. Society, Environment and Development – A compendium of papers presented in scientific conferences (SEARCA publication), pp. 158-173.
  • Uy, W.H. D.G. Bacaltos, F.F.M. Freire, P.M. Avenido, E.C. Roa, R.A. Seronay, D.G. Lacuna, R.N. Rollon, E.D.R. van Steveninck & R.M. Coronado. 2006. A Comprehensive Analysis of the Ecological Factors for the Development of Strategies to Sustain Coastal Biodiversity and to Improve Fish Stock Management. Book/Monograph – SEARCA, 53 pp. ++
  • Bacaltos, D.G.G., W.H. Uy, E.C. Roa, C.G. Hansel, R.N. Rollon & E.D.R. van Steveninck. 2006. From the River to the Sea: Biodiversity Assessment of the Mt. Malindang Water Systems. Society, Environment and Development – A compendium of papers presented in scientific conferences (SEARCA publication), pp. 174-193.
  • Vermaat, J.E., R.N. Rollon, C.D.A. Lacap, C. Billot, F. Alberto, H.M.E. Nacorda, F. Wiegman & J. Terrados. 2004. Meadow fragmentation and reproductive output of the S.E. Asian seagrass Enhalus acoroidesJournal of Sea Research 52(4): 321-328. (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., M.S. Samson, M.Y. Roleda, K.G. Araño, M.W.B. Vergara & W.Y. Licuanan. 2003. Estimating biomass from the cover of Gelidiella acerosa along the coasts of eastern Philippines. Botanica Marina 46(6): 497-502. (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., E.D. de Ruyter van Steveninck, W. van Vierssen. 2003. Spatio-temporal variation in sexual reproduction of the tropical seagrass Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle in Cape Bolinao, NW Philippines. Aquatic Botany 76(4): 339-354. (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., J.E. Vermaat & H.M.E. Nacorda. 2003. Sexual reproduction in SE Asian seagrasses: the absence of a seed bank in Thalassia hemprichiiAquatic Botany 75(2): 181-185. (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., M.D. Fortes & N.M. Cayabyab. 2003. Pag-asa Island: The seagrass meadows of hope. In: P.M. Aliño & M.C. Quibilan (eds.). The Kalayaan islands: our national heritage. Quezon City: U.P. Marine Science Institute, pp. 48-49.
  • Lacap, C.D.A., J.E. Vermaat, R.N. Rollon & H.M.E. Nacorda. 2002. Propagule dispersal of the S.E. Asian seagrasses Enhalus acoroides and Thalassia hemprichiiMarine Ecology Progress Series 235: 75-80. (ISI)
  • Biyo, JT, RN Rollon & WY Licuanan. 2001. Vegetative and reproductive dynamics of the seagrasses, Thalassia hemprichii and Cymodocea rotundata in Guimaras Island, Central Philippines. The Philippine Scientist 38: 63-81. (ISI)
  • Rollon, R.N., N. M. Cayabyab & M.D. Fortes. 2001. Vegetative dynamics and sexual reproduction of monospecific Thalassia hemprichii meadows in the Kalayaan Island Group. Aquatic Botany 71(3): 239-246. (ISI)
  • Lacap, C.D.A., J.E. Vermaat, R.N. Rollon, H.M.E. Nacorda & M.D. Fortes. 2000. Implications of the short seed dispersal in the seagrass Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle. Biol. Mar. Medit. 7(2): 83-86.
  • Rollon, R.N., E.D. de Ruyter van Steveninck, W. Van Vierssen & M.D. Fortes. 1999. Contrasting recolonization strategies in multi-species seagrass meadows. Marine Pollution Bulletin 37: 450-459. (ISI)
  • Coral Reef Visualization and Assessment (CoRVA)
  • Blue Carbon Project (BlueCARES) UP-JICA
  • National Assessment of Coral Reef Ecosystems (NACRE)
  • ICRMP for Masinloc (Zambales) and Sta. Ana (Cagayan)
  • Integrated Coastal Enhancement: Coastal Research, Evaluation and Adaptive Management for Climate Change (2008 – 2011)
  • Guimaras: Impact of oil spill on seagrass communities (2007 – 2010)
  • Pacific Seaboard Phase II (Nov 2005 – 2009)
  • Biodiversity Rresearch Program in Mount Malindang (2003 – 2006)
  • Connectivities of seagrass communities along the Pacific seaboard (2004 – 2006)
  • Genetic connectivities of seagrass populations along the Pacific seaboard, NSRI UP Diliman (2004-2005)
  • Biodiversity-Coastal Resource Management Project: Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental (1999)
  • PREDICT – Prediction of resilience and recovery of disturbed tropical coastal communites; Task 3: Macrophyte reproductive capacities and genetic diversity; Funding agency: European Union; Collaborating countries: Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Philippines (1999-2003)
  • Connectivities of the seagrass meadows in western Luzon, OVCRD University of the Philippines (2003)
  • Pacific Seaboard Project 1 (PACSEA 1): Vegetative and reproductive dynamics of Philippines seagrasses along the Pacific coasts; Study Leader, Macrophyte component Collaborating institutions: Dela Salle University and the Marine Science Institute UPDIL; Collaborating Institutions in Samar: University of Eastern Philippines, Catarman; Eastern Samar State College, Borongan (1999-2004)