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SU faculty mentors US students in field research

By Allianah Junnice Bolotaulo | September 20, 2023

Faculty members of the Silliman University (SU) Biology Department mentored students from the United States (US) in an immersive experience in conservation research and management in the Philippines.

The department hosted five students coming from the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University, University of Maine, and Barry University from June 16-28 as part of the Philippines International Research Experience for Students (Ph-IRES) project. 

Dr. Nadia Palomar-Abesamis, Dr. Robert Guino-o II, Asst. Prof. Michael Lawton Alcala, and Asst. Prof. Persie Sienes of the SU Biology Department served as research mentors.

The project aims to develop scientific linkages among the institutions, provide US undergraduate students with opportunities to conduct independent research with Filipino mentors, and allow these students to learn alongside Filipino undergraduate biology students. 

Along with SU students undergoing their summer internship, they went to Dauin, Bais City, the SU Palinpinon facility, and various laboratories in the university to complete their research. 

Once the research is finished, the students may present their findings at a national conference, work on manuscripts, and utilize their research for undergraduate theses. 

Topics covered include: determining influences of fishing pressure on the life history of a marine fish; genetic barcoding of freshwater and estuarine fish biodiversity; elucidating cryptic speciation in the blue swimming crab, Portunus pelagicus; and developing genetic markers for the critically endangered Philippine spotted deer, Rusa alfredi.

Funded by the US National Science Foundation, the project is a collaboration between SU, Old Dominion University (ODU), and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) 

(With reports from the SU Biology Department; via SU Office of Information and Publications)

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