Ateneo biology seniors win at Young Systematic Biologists Forum
03 Jun 2022 | Dr Emmanuel Delocado
A group of senior BS Biology students received the top two awards for undergraduate oral presentations at the Young Systematic Biologists Forum held during the 39th Scientific and Annual Meeting of the Association of Systematic Biologists of the Philippines from 31 May to 2 June 2022.
Enrico Gerard S Sanchez won the First Prize for his presentation "Tiny, mighty, and many: Five new species of Anacaena Thomson, 1859 (Coleoptera, Hydrophilidae) discovered from high-altitude areas in the Philippines using integrative taxonomy." His thesis adviser was Dr Emmanuel Delocado, with Prof Hendrik Freitag as co-adviser. In the recent Student Research Symposium of the School of Science and Engineering (SOSE) Week, Sanchez received the Dean's Choice Award.
In his presentation, Sanchez discussed the five new species of Anacaena water scavenger beetles he discovered and erected by coupling morphological and molecular approaches. He stressed the importance of finding species from underexplored localities, given the lack of comprehensive knowledge on the freshwater diversity in the Philippines and the rapid insect extinction happening globally. Sanchez's paper had also been accepted for publication in a Scopus-indexed journal.
Christalle Beatriz N Seno and Maureen Lianne T Pascual secured Second Prize for their presentation on "Species Survey of Ancyronyx Erichson, 1847 (Coleoptera: Elmidae) in Greater Mindanao." Freitag served as their thesis adviser, with Delocado as co-adviser.
In their presentation, Seno and Pascual discussed the new species of Ancyronyx spider riffle beetle collected from the provinces of Samar, Siargao, Cotabato, Bukidnon, and Basilan. Specimens utilized in their study were amassed years prior from numerous Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory expeditions. The duo studied morphological, molecular, and ecological data to support their identification of five new species of spider riffle beetle. Seno highlighted that the study augments the current known diversity of the Ancyronyx in the Philippines, which was previously limited to Mindoro, Palawan, and Negros.
Another student, Jaymes Bryant S Tibig, delivered a talk on "Integrative taxonomy of Dudgeodes Sartori, 2008 (Ephemeroptera: Teloganodidae) in the Philippines. He described three new species and supplementary eggs. He was mentored by Freitag and Dr Jhoana Garces.
Delocado, an assistant professor at the department and project leader at the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory, shared the group's innovations intended to further biodiversity knowledge amidst the pandemic restrictions. His talk, which he co-authored with Freitag and Garces, dealt "Into the next possible: Stories and insights on the changing landscape of biodiversity research and teaching of the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory under the influence of the pandemic." He highlighted the facility and the importance of critical thinking and collaboration.
The students' presentations were made possible with grants from the SC Johnson Environmental Leadership Development Fund for funding the innovative lab-at-home set-up, the SOSE Industry 4.0 Research Fund (SI4) under the Ateneo Research Institute of Science and Engineering (ARISE) for the previous field works and lab reagents and services, and the Biodiversity Teaching in the Philippine-Cambodian-German Network (BIO-PHIL) for access to specimens.