Peter Fritsch Reporting on Field Research in the Philippines

June 28, 2019

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. 

The signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Agreement between BRIT and Central Mindanao University for the NSF project, which occurred on June 3 at Central Mindanao University.
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 the tropical lower montane rain forest of Mount Marilog.
Peter Fritsch in the tropical lower montane rain forest of Mount Marilog.

 

A Rhododendron species from Mount Marilog. Rhododendrons are present in the Philippines but not common where found and flower only sporadically.
A Rhododendron species from Mount Marilog. Rhododendrons are present in the Philippines but not common where found and flower only sporadically.

 

Dimorphanthera apoensis, a close relative of the blueberry.
Dimorphanthera apoensis, a close relative of the blueberry. This species is an epiphyte, meaning that it grows on other plants (but derives no nutrition from them, unlike plant parasites). This plant is often discovered by first finding its fallen corollas on the trail.

 

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 signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Agreement between BRIT and Central Mindanao University for the NSF project, which occurred on June 3 at Central Mindanao University. These are the two main collaborating institutions on the project. Signers are (left to right at the table) the president of CMU, Dr. Jesus Antonio G. Derije; Peter Fritsch, VP Research at BRIT; and Victor Amoroso, Professor at CMU and the Center for Biodiversity Research and Extension in Mindanao (CEBREM), as well as a member of the prestigious Philippines National Academy of Science and Technology. Dr. Ed Schneider of BRIT is also a key signatory to the MOA (and signed prior to the ceremony, which he was unable to attend). This MOA establishes the parameters of the collaboration between the two institutions for the success of the project.

 

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