THE TAAL Lake’s ecosystem is exhibiting signs of rapid decline following the Taal Volcano’s eruption in January 2020, a team of Thomasian researchers found.

In the study titled “Macroinvertebrate assemblages and functional traits in ashfall-impacted littoral zones of Lake Taal after the Taal Volcano eruption in January 2020,” a team led by Asst. Prof. Jonathan Briones found that there were fewer macroinvertebrates (large organisms that lack a spine) in areas of the Taal Lake that received more ash fall during the eruption.

John Claude Salluta, a research team member of the study, explained that the problem with the fewer macroinvertebrates coupled with longstanding human activities and pollution could result in the Taal Lake suffering the same fate as the Laguna de Bay, which faces contamination and degradation issues.

“Lake Taal is experiencing rapid declines in its biotic and abiotic components. Maybe due to human activities wherein the actual watershed of the Taal lake is currently being altered by agricultural expansion, urban sprawls, and then industries that put their wastes that are not treated and regulated directly into the lake,” Salluta told the Varsitarian.

“If human activities on the entire watershed of Taal will continue to proliferate [and] remain unregulated, chances are Taal will be similar to Laguna de Bay, which is like really unfortunately degraded by unregulated fish cage operations.”

The researchers hoped that through their study, the local government of Taal would prioritize the watersheds’ rehabilitation and the lake’s protection. 

“That’s why we hope our studies could be used for the outputs of our findings and will be used for future conservation efforts of the national government,” Salluta added. 

Salluta won the Best Oral Presentation Award for the study during the 3rd Philippine Symposium on Freshwater Biodiversity and Ecosystem last November 2022. Liam Sebastian Sanchez with reports from Adrian Parungao


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