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Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines Online Exhibitions

April 2020 – September 2020

The Philippines archipelago contains unique floral and faunal diversity that is critically threatened by habitat loss, with only 3-7% of original habitat remaining. To address the urgent need for further documenting this diversity in the face of impending large-scale species extinction, the Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines project, which is a National Science Foundation funded five-year collaborative initiative with Central Mindanao University, will document the land plants and lichens of the southern Philippines through a series of large field expeditions and subsequent taxonomic study. The project team will make thousands of observations on the occurrence and abundance of species, as documented by physical collections for museum study and high-resolution photographs, with images and data all digitized and placed online in easily searchable formats. It will also develop a species DNA biorepository of the collections for future studies (e.g. understanding species origins and relatedness). The data will be used to publish species inventories of the most ecologically sensitive areas for use in forest management and restoration, and species protection. The team will teach the methods and significance of biodiversity science to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as local Filipino scientists and community members. More broadly, this project will serve to reinforce and expand the longstanding ties between the scientists, institutions, and citizens of the U.S. and the Philippines (NSF abstract). 

Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines, NSF DEB-1754667 and 1754697.                    https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1754697&HistoricalAwards=false

This exhibition is the first in a series of several exhibitions that will highlight a total of eight expeditions, which will be completed over the course of the five year duration of the project. This exhibition includes expeditions one and two, both of which were conducted in 2019 during the months of June and December. 

Expedition One

May 31, 2019 – June 28, 2019. The first expedition of the National Science Foundation funded Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines project was conducted throughout the month of June. Collections were made at four locations. Three of the locations were on the island of Mindanao: Mount Marilog, Mount Limbawon, and Mount Hamiguitan. The fourth location included several peaks on Camiguin Island, just off the north coast of Mindanao. 

Macaranga, Marilog. pc Alice Gerlach
Fruiting tree, Marilog. pc Alice Gerlach
Noe P. Mendez and Peter W. Fritsch packing up plant pressing material, Marilog. pc Alice Gerlach
Nepenthes, Marilog. pc Alice Gerlach
Darin Pennys, McAndrew K. Pranada, Noel Lagunday with guides, Marilog. pc Daniel Nickrent
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Snail, Marilog. pc Jennifer McGalvz
Valley view, Limbawon. pc Daniel Nickrent
Gordon McPherson, Jim Shevock, and Peter. W. Fritsch, Limbawon. pc Alice Gerlach
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Medinilla, Limbawon. pc Darin Pennys
Moss with Xyris, Limbawon. pc McAndrew Pranada
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Maverick N. Tamayo and McAndrew K. Pranada holding Nepenthes, Hamiguitan. pc Daniel Nickrent
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Mountainside, Camiguin. pc Alice Gerlach
Atlas moth, Camiguin. pc Jennifer McGalvz
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View from ferry, Camiguin. pc Peter Quakenbush
In the field, Camiguin. pc Peter Quakenbush

Expedition Two

December 7, 2019 – January 4, 2020. The second expedition of the National Science Foundation funded Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines project was conducted throughout the month of December. Collections were made at three locations. The first location was Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park, which is in the province of Negros Oriental on the island of Negros. The second site of collection was Cuernos de Negros also in the province of Negros Oriental. The third location was Davao City, Marilog District, on the island on Mindanao.

Upon arrival on the island of Negros, we stayed in a hotel in the city of Dumaguete the first couple of nights and prepared for the field. With it being early December, the city was decorated for the holidays, and our hotel was just off of a city square, which looked very festive with brilliant lights along the trees and vegetation in the park. Parades through the streets were a central part of the holiday celebration, which continued through entire the month.

The entryway of our hotel in Dumaguete City. pc Brandy Watts
Dumaguete City square with lights. pc Brandy Watts
Dumaguete City square with lights. pc Brandy Watts
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. pc Brandy Watts
Balinsasayao Twin Lake Mountains. pc Brandy Watts
Peter W. Fritsch and Noe P. Mendez of Seed Plants 1 Team, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes.  pc Brandy Watts
Dissochaeta, a liana (woody vine), Melastomataceae, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes.  pc Brandy Watts
Hiking up to Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
A house along the road hiking up to Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
View from Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
Peter W. Fritsch while out collecting, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
Forest, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
Milionia basalis, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
Group photo, Cuernos de Negros. pc Daryl Salas
Hiking down, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
View while hiking down, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
View while hiking down, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
Sunrise the next morning, Cuernos de Negros.  pc Brandy Watts
Lawi Lawi Guest House, Marilog District, Davao City.  pc Brandy Watts
 Parakeet, Marilog District, Davao City.  pc Brandy Watts
Animals on a porch, Marilog District, Davao City.  pc Brandy Watts
Aldrin Hongco and Peter W. Fritsch place a plant specimen between newspaper while in the field, Marilog.  pc Brandy Watts
Strongylodon caeruleus, jade vine, Marilog.  pc Brandy Watts
Close up of Strongylodon caeruleus, jade vine, Marilog. pc Brandy Watts
View from an open air cafe, Marilog.  pc Brandy Watts

For further reading on expedition two of the Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines project see link below. Librarian Lens: Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines Expedition Two. Click here to read.

Research Team

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