MANILA — National scientist (NS) Edgardo Gomez, founder-director of the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), died at 81 on Sunday.
“The UPMSI announces with deep sadness the demise of our beloved founder, who established the field of marine science in the country and was instrumental in making the Philippines leader in the region,” the UPMSI said on its Facebook page on Monday.
The post cited Gomez as a visionary academic leader, honest and dedicated public servant, and a great mentor.
UPMSI is a world-class research and teaching institution in marine science, and is an internationally renowned center of excellence for national and scientific initiatives, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.
“NS Gomez was a known researcher, scientist, conservation advocate, and mentor in invertebrate biology and ecology, giant clam culture and restoration, and coral reef assessment and conservation. He was also recognized for his outstanding contributions and researches on marine ecosystems which became the bases for management of and the conservation programs for the country’s marine resources,” the DOST said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The DOST said worldwide conservation initiatives, such as the Global Reefs and Risk Analysis, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and the International Coral Reef Action, were launched through his pioneering research.
Gomez was able to steer the world’s first national-scale assessment of damage to coral reefs that led to the widespread concern over the status of coral reefs.
“One of his most notable works was his contributions in the baseline mapping of the Philippines to handle the highly-contested Spratly Islands and in the groundwork for the Archipelagic Studies Program that the UP System has established,” it added.
He served as a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Western Society of Naturalist, World Mariculture Society, National Research Council of the Philippines, and the International Society for Reef Studies.
He was awarded the Global 500 Roll of Honour by the United Nations Environment Programme in 1989, The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) in Science (Marine Biology) by the Philippine Jaycee Senate in 1992,
Outstanding Science Administrator by the Department of Science and Technology in 1996, the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award by the Philippine Civil Service Commission in 2000, among others.
He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST PHL) in 1993 and was proclaimed as National Scientist in 2014.
Gomez was born on November 7, 1938. He finished Bachelor of Arts/B.S. Education summa cum laude in De La Salle University (1962), M.S. Biology in St. Mary’s University Minnesota (1967), and Ph.D. Marine Biology in University of California San Diego (1973). (PNA)