Philippine Biodiversity

Philippine biodiversity remains significantly underexplored and undocumented, a challenge exacerbated by limited technical expertise across various regions of the country. As such, one of my primary research focuses is to address knowledge gap regarding species diversity within the biologically less explored mountains of southern Philippine island of Mindanao. I collaborate with government offices, NGOs, citizen scientists, and other stakeholders to systematically understand and document species diversity. Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to generate scientifically rigorous information and effectively communicate findings. This information serves as a basis for informed conservation and management interventions on the ground. Notably, our collaborative research program has played a pivotal role in establishing area-based conservation measures in the region, demonstrating the practical impact of our work on conservation efforts.

This umbrella project seeks to document and record the biodiversity of the KBA 196 in southern Mindanao to inform policies and actions for the conservation, protection, and management of this KBA, which comprises the Busa mountain range, Malibato mountain range, Melibengoy mountains, Three Kings mountains, Mt Tasaday, and adjacent lowland forests. Our main project deliverables include scientific publications, policy briefs, management plans, and outreach materials. We closely document and highlight the value of basic biodiversity science research in establishing area-based protection measures and other conservation interventions. 

Role: Project Lead | Timeline: Jan 2019 - present

We aim to generate an exhaustive photography-based list of orchid flora in the Mt. Busa Key Biodiversity Area (KBA 196), understand species distribution and community structure along an elevational gradient, and explore morpho-functional traits that predispose species to the illicit collection and wildlife trade. The results ultimately inform policies and management interventions for the protection and conservation of KBA 196 and this globally threatened plant family.

Role: Project Co-Lead | Timeline: June 2019 - present

Generated additional information from the field to help inform the conservation of the recently rediscovered Guttman's stream frog (Pulchrana guttmani) and its habitat. The project utilized both scientific and policy-advocacy approaches in close cooperation with the Protected Area Management Office of the Allah Valley Protected Landscape. We continually work to increase the visibility and popularity of P. guttmani among stakeholders, which would help in making this species a "de facto" flagship, along with other traditionally viewed charismatic species, for the conservation of southern Mindanao forests. 

Role: Project Lead | Timeline: June 2021 - January 2022

Recorded the amphibians and reptiles in Mt. Busa, Sarangani Province, including their natural history and patterns of distribution among different types of forest. This exhaustive field-based, repeat-visit survey is the first to be conducted in the southern Mindanao region of the Philippines. The project was funded by the Rufford Foundation, USAID Protect Wildlife, and Idea Wild.

Role: Project Lead | Timeline: Jan 2019 - Aug 2020

Taxonomy and systematics

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speciation in islands

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funding sources