On March 3, 2019, 10 faculty members and one teaching assistant of the Department of Biology and Environmental Science flew to Manila to attend a lecture series and workshop on biodiversity research held at the National Museum of Natural History, Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park, Manila. They were associate professor Judith Silapan, Dr. Hazel Arceo, Dr. Aiza Cortes, assistant professors Richie Eve Ragas, Ellen Grace Funesto, Kenneth Joseph Bureros, Instructors Dexcem Pantinople, John Jacques Sinapuelas, Jeriel Bersano, teaching assistant Gene Albert Deguit, and headed by the department chair, Dr. Florence Evacitas. The 3-day lecture and workshop began on March 4 and ended on March 7, 2019. This event is one of the Academic Program Improvement projects of the department for the first quarter of 2019.
The faculty attended the training to strengthen their knowledge on biodiversity research, which is one of the department’s research thrusts. This included lectures done by Dr. David Lohman, who is an associate professor from The City College of New York, on writing successful grant applications and admissions essays, genetic data for biodiversity research, DNA barcoding, molecular systematics and evolution.
Lectures were also done by the researchers and scientists of NMNH. Mr. Perry Buenavente talked about ant biodiversity and ecological research, Mr. Normandy Barbecho on armored scale insects, Mr. Joseph Foronda and Ms. Jasmine Meren on collection, preservation, and taxonomic identification of aquatic organisms, Dr. Arvin Diesmos on amphibian biodiversity, Ms. Maria Josefa Veluz and Mr. Rolly Urriza on collection, preservation, and taxonomic identification of terrestrial organisms, Ms. Aissa Domingo and Ed Codino on scientific illustration and taxidermy of animals. The attendees also witnessed a demonstration on amphibian and reptile preservation for molecular analysis. Afterwards, Mr. Buenavente facilitated a hands-on training on specimen imaging.
On the last day, Ms. Marivene Santos discussed about curation, storage of reference collection, and basic museology. Lastly, she also gave the attendees a tour of the museum.
This API activity was made possible through the efforts of assoc. prof. Silapan and Dr. Evacitas, hoping that UP Cebu will have its own Museum of Natural History branch just like in UPLB.