Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines

Research Team

Peter Fritsch, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research / Director of the Herbarium

Manuela Dal Forno, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines
NSF DEB-1754667 and 1754697)

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, I am working with colleagues from the U.S. and the Philippines on a four-year project to document the land plants and lichens of the southern Philippines through a series of large field expeditions and subsequent taxonomic study. The project is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation "Biodiscovery: Discovery and Analysis" program. 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 tissue and DNA biorepository of the collections for future studies (for example, 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.

Publications from the Project:

Amoroso VB, FP Coritico, PW Fritsch. 2020. Actinostachys minuata, a new species of grass fern from Mindanao, PhilippinesPhytoKeys 151:59–66.

Amoroso VB, FP Coritico, YLL Cariño, PW Fritsch. In press. Lycophytes and ferns of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. [book]

Coritico FP, VB Amoroso, FM Acma, YLL Cariño, PW Fritsch. 2020. Ferns and lycophytes of Mt. Tago Range, Bukidnon, southern Philippines: Species richness, distribution, and conservation status. Philippine Journal of Science 149:773‒790.

Fritsch PW, VB Amoroso, FP Coritico, DS Penneys. In press. Vaccinium hamiguitanense (Ericaceae), a new species from the Philippines. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Nickrent DL. 2020. Gymnosiphon syceorosensis (Burmanniaceae), the second new species for the Philippines. PhytoKeys 146: 71-87.

Tan BC, R Ochyra, B-C Ho, H Bednarek-Ochyra. 2019. Distichophyllum shevockii (Daltoniaceae), a new moss species from the Philippines. Ann. Bot. Fennici 56:361–367.

Tandang DN, JMM Galindon, ER Tadiosa, FP Coritico, VB Amoroso, NE Lagunday, RAA Bustamante, D Penneys, PW Fritsch. 2020. Dilochia deleoniae (Orchidaceae), a new species from Mindanao, Philippines. PhytoKeys 139:91–97.

Related Articles

Librarian Lens: Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines Expedition Two

In December of 2019, BRIT Librarian participated in expedition two of the Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines project.
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NSF Funded Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines Project December 2019 Expedition

Expedition 2, led by Peter Fritsch of BRIT, will include 20 Filipino and international participants (botanists and lichenologists) who will survey Negros Island and the Marilog Forest on the island of Mindanao over the month of December 2019.
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Peter Fritsch Reporting on Field Research in the Philippines

The first expedition to the Philippines has been going splendidly, with many hundreds of collections, photographs, DNA samples, and associated field data being collected by the team. The four areas to be surveyed are Mount Marilog, Mount Limbawon, and Mount Hamiguitan, all on the island of Mindanao, and several peaks on Camiguin Island just off the north coast of Mindanao. From left to right, Gordon McPherson (Missouri Botanical Garden), Peter Fritsch (BRIT), and Victor Amoroso (Central Mindanao University) at the Mount Marilog Guest House, where we conducted the first leg of the overall expedition. The vicinity of Mount Marilog has been unexplored botanically until now, and so we are expecting a number of plant and lichen species new to science as a result of our work. Peter Fritsch in th...
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BRIT Receives $1.3 Million Dollar Grant from the National Science Foundation to Study Biodiversity in the Philippines

by Chris Chilton
Texas botanists will collaborate with other U.S. institutions and international personnel to conduct research in threatened forests of Southeast Asia. FORT WORTH, Texas (August 28, 2018) – Researchers at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) have received a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct a project titled “Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines.” Dr. Peter Fritsch, BRIT’s Vice President of Research, will head the team as Principal Investigator with co-Principal Investigators Dr. Taylor Quedensley (BRIT), Dr. Darin Penneys (University of North Carolina at Wilmington), and Dr. Daniel Nickrent (Southern Illinois University Carbondale). The project begins this month and field expeditions will begin in the spring of 2019. [ Update, 08-Fe...
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