Academician Angel C. Alcala is presently University Research Professor and Director of the Silliman University- Angelo King Center for Research and Environment Management, the CHED Zonal Center for Region 6 & 7, and the University Research and Development Center at Silliman University, Dumaguete City. Philippines. Prior to these academic positions, he served the Philippine government for nine years (1990-1999) first as Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development under the Department of Science and Technology, then as Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and later as first Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education during the Ramos presidency. He was Professor of Biology at Silliman University and served as its president for two years before taking up the last two government positions. He is currently University Research Professor at Silliman University.
Academician Alcala obtained his BS in Biology magna cum laude from the Silliman University in 1951 and went on to finish an MA (1960) and a PhD (1966) in Biological Sciences at Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA. He received honorary doctorates from Xavier University and University of Southeastern Philippines. He has conducted extensive research on Philippine amphibians and reptiles since the mid- 1950s. He served as consultant on marine and aquatic projects supported by the UNEP, UNDP, World Bank GEF, and the UP MSI. He also actively participated in the Australian-ASEAN marine project (mid-1980s - early 1990s). The Silliman Marine Laboratory, which he founded in 1973-74, has been active in research on marine protected areas, fisheries and marine biodiversity, mariculture, and conservation of Philippine plant and animal species. His marine science publications consist of about 80 papers on coral reef fish, marine reserves, long-term effects of protection on marine biodiversity such as corals and top predatory fish. Most of these papers have been published in refereed, international journals and books.
Birthdate: 1 March 1929
- B.S. Biology (magna cum laude)- Silliman University 1951
- M.A. Biological Sciences - Stanford University 1960
- Ph. D. Biological Sciences - Stanford University 1966
- Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) - Xavier University 1995
- 1955 to present - Taxonomy and Ecology of Amphibians and Reptiles
- 1974 to present - Marine Protected Areas
- 1970 to present - Ecology of Tropical Rainforests
- 2008 to 2011 - Studies on River Systems
- Since 1970s - Effects of Protection on Fish Abundance, Species Richness, Biomass, Spillover
- Since 1970s - Local community Response to Conservation Issues
- Since 2007 - Larval Connectivity of Marine Protected Areas
- Since 2008 - Ecology of River Systems
- 2009-2011 - Effects of Climate Change on Fish Larvae, Coral Reefs, Mangroves and How Protection Can Decrease their Vulnerability to Ocean Warming, Ocean Acidity, etc.
- 2011 - Vertebrate Biodiversity of Siargao Island
Involvement in science and technology advocacies, publicity and legislation:
- Work and publications serve as bases fior inclusion of MPAs in R.A. 8550 (Fishery Code) and in Local Government Code (1991)
Three most significant contributions to Philippine science and society:
- Led in the research on amphibians and reptiles to discover some 50 new species, hence projected the Philippines as center of the world’s biodiversity.At the same time, increased the awareness of our people to the importance of biodiversity in tropical rainforests in stabilizing the environment. Another result of my research papers was my conservation advocacies on many issues involving the environment in actually leading campaigns against environmental destruction.
- Pioneered in (and actually became the first one to establish) the concept of marine protected areas as a tool to manage and protect fishery species and marine biodiversity in 1974.
- Now there are over 1,000 such areas throughout the country. The impact is tremendous; as a result of protection, fish biomass and density for fishers to catch have increased, as documented in several of our publications. Because biodiversity has been conserved, tourism has thrived, bringing more income to poor coastal communities. This has been documented. What we are now documenting, in adddition to one paper that has recently come out in Coral Reefs ( Steneck, Paris, Arnold, Ablan-Lagman, Alcala, Butler, McCook, and Sale 2009) has documented the resilience of coral reefs under protective management.
- At CHED, Chairman in 1995-1999, Promoted research programs in higher education institutions throughout the country and funded research projects and capability building of the faculty in some 15 institutions. Some of their faculty members are now active in research. Since 2000, I have been assisting CHED in its research program for regions 6 and part of 7, where I initiated the mentoring approach to encourage faculty members to do research in biodiversity, marine ecosystems and river systems. This approach has bore fruit in terms of actual research publications. This approach appears to promote “research culture” among higher education institutions
Honors and Awards Received:
- 1965 - Best Student Paper in Herpetology Award - Herpetologist League meeting at the University of California, Berkeley, USA
- 1979 - Likas Yaman Award, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
- 1980 - Distinguished BIOTAN Award - Biology Teacher’s Association of the Philippines
- 1983 - Ilaw ng Karunungan Award for Biological Sciences - Philippine Fulbrighters’ Association
- 1985 - Outstanding Biologist for Region VII - National Science and Technology Authority
- 1988 - Outstanding Sillimanian Award - Silliman University
- 1991 - Outstanding Oriental Negrense Award in Science and Technology - Province of Negros Oriental
- 1991 - Gregorio Y. Zara Award in Applied Science - PCAMRD - DOST
- 1992 - Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service - Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation
- 1994 - Biodiversity Award - Field Museum of Natural History - Chicago, USA
- 1995 - Lifetime Awardee - Federation of Institutions of Marine and Freshwater Sciences
- 1996 - Outstanding Fulbright Award in Ecology - Philippine American Educational Foundation
- 1997 - Outstanding Manilan - City Government of Manila
- 1998 - Outstanding Dumagueteño in Science and Technology - Dumaguete City Government
- 1998 - Best Paper Award - International Society for Reef Studies
- 1999 - Honorary Fellow - California Academy of Sciences
- 1999 - Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation - Pew Fellows Trust
- 2001 - Father of Community-based Marine Sanctuary - PAMANA KA
- 2004 - Academician - National Academy of Science & Technology
- 2007 - Professor Emeritus - Biological and Marine Sciences - Silliman University
- 2008 - One of the 50 Outstanding Men & Women of Science - Research & and Development category - Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
- 2010 - Honorary member - The Association of Systematic Biologists of the Philippines (ASBP)
- 2010 - REPUBLICA Award – Best Paper in the Natural Sciences - Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
- 2014 - Proclaimed as National Scientist - President of the Republic of the Philippines