Marine scientist Miguel Fortes passes

Miguel D. Fortes, PhD, a noted marine scientist and retired professor at The Marine Science Institute (MSI) of the UP Diliman (UPD) College of Science (CS), passed away on April 30.

Fortes was widely known for his research on mangroves and seagrasses.

Fortes. Image from the MSI Facebook page

According to the MSI, inurnment was held on May 4.

Fortes was the coordinator of the Environmental Science Program (now the CS Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology) from 2000 to 2003.

The scientist and full professor had over 30 years of experience as a coastal ecologist. He was a biodiversity and integrated coastal area management specialist who headed numerous international organizations.

Fortes headed the regional secretariat for the Western Pacific of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in Bangkok, Thailand (2003-2006). He was the commissioner for Science and Technology of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (2000-2003) and president of the World Seagrass Association (2000-2004).

He was the project manager from 2010 to 2014 of the Japan Science and Technology Agency-Japan International Cooperation Agency or JST-JICA project, Coastal Ecosystems Conservation and Adaptive Management, in collaboration with eight Japanese institutions. Fortes was also the Philippine coordinator from 2009 to 2011 of the Tokyo Institute of Technology – UP Southeast Asia – Western Pacific Connectivity project, and the chair of UNESCO in Integrated Management for Sustainable Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands from November 1998 to October 2001.

Fortes published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, over 60 in proceedings, two booklets, and contributed 18 chapters in books.

He was the recipient of prestigious awards and citations, among them the Hugh Greenwood Environmental Science Award in 2001, the UP Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award in 199), the International Biwako Prize for Ecology for East and Southeast Asia and Russia in 1995, and the Ten Outstanding Young Scientist of the Philippines Award in 1986.

He earned his bachelor of science in botany in 1972, master of science in marine botany in 1976, and doctor of philosophy in marine science in 1986, all from UPD. As a research fellow, Fortes also had formal academic and research credits from Duke University, North Carolina, USA in 1976, and from the University of Hamburg, West Germany in 1981, respectively.