FishBase was officially launched as a project in 1990. And even before the project took off, Susan ‘Tuttay’ Luna, was already onboard.
How did it start?
It was 1989 when Susan started working with Daniel Pauly at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources (ICLARM)— the same time FishBase was being developed by its pioneers, Daniel Pauly and Rainer Froese.
Onboard as a researcher, she was tasked to get the first database prototype running. Just as how FishBase started from a stack of index cards populated with fish data, she sent printed pages of curated encoded information from the database (from species biology, morphology, distribution, or countries) via snail mail to Rainer in Kiel, Germany.
“When FishBase was finally launched as a project in 1990, I, together with another colleague from the Aquaculture Program at ICLARM, Belen Acosta, began working on the database.”
Susan studied Marine Science at the University of the Philippines. Almost three decades into being a researcher, she decided in 2018 to take on a higher role as the executive assistant Quantitative Aquatics — an non-profit organization that manages FishBase, SeaLifeBase and AquaMaps.
At Q-quatics, she provides high-level support to the executive director, Mary Ann Bimbao, on all matters pertaining to administrative, human resources, and financial affairs.
Seeing the breadth of her new role, she deems that continuous research funding remains to be the challenge for these legacy projects to not only keep afloat but thrive. She believes that it is crucial that these databases are kept alive alongside humanity’s growing knowledge on marine life.