Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines
Ariana Agustines is a Filipina marine scientist and National Geographic Explorer, who is passionately curious about the natural world and determined to advance conservation strategies and sustainable management of marine megafauna, particularly elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in Southeast Asia. Agustines holds a master’s degree in marine biotechnology. She has worked in several labs from ecotoxicology to marine microbiology, investigating the effects of harmful algal blooms and pesticides on several commercially important marine organisms to human application of elasmobranch mucus. Ultimately, the urgency for locally applied conservation actions brought her back home to the Philippines where her work focuses on understanding the ecology of threatened sharks and rays and how human activities impact their conservation status. Agustines is currently the vice president of the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines and the program manager of the Philippines Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project. She also supervises and runs the shark and ray conservation work across the country with her focus in Palawan, where she has been based since 2018. Agustines utilizes new technologies like satellite telemetry, animal-borne video cameras, remote and deep-sea cameras, eDNA, and genomics among others, to push the quest for knowledge to support informed management and direct engagement of the local stakeholders – particularly the tour operators and the small-scale fishers.
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