Plant Discovery in the Southern Philippines
The Philippines archipelago, comprising over 7500 islands, is known to contain high levels of unique plant and animal diversity but several of the islands, especially Visayas and Mindanao in the south of the country, still need to be intensively sampled. Many animal and plant species, including potential crop plants, await discovery and description even as extensive areas are threatened by deforestation. This four-year project will document and describe land plant and lichen diversity in the southern Philippines through a series of large field expeditions followed by taxonomic study and formal description. The project team will document the occurrence and abundance of diverse plant species through a combination of physical museum collections and high-resolution photographs. All images and locality data will be placed online in easily searchable formats. The project will also develop a DNA repository of collections made during the field expeditions for future genealogical studies. Project data will be used to assemble species inventories in different areas of the southern Philippines to both identify biodiversity hotspots and prioritize land management decisions. Diverse training in field and laboratory methods will be provided to undergraduate and graduate researchers in Texas and North Carolina to prepare them for diverse science careers. U.S. high school students will learn about biodiversity through a project-based curriculum that includes exposure to collections, digital data, and spatial analysis. Outreach, including online interactive programs through the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), will disseminate research findings broadly within the U.S. and the Philippines to both scientists and the public.
This botanical survey of the southern Philippines will be conducted through eight major field expeditions. Herbarium specimens will be digitized and freely disseminated along with associated metadata and images of both living in-situ and museum specimens derived from the collections generated by the project. Collections will be analyzed using a combination of morphological and molecular systematic approaches to produce a diversity of taxonomic products, including revisions, regional annotated checklists, and multi-entry keys. Project data will be used to characterize patterns of species richness and endemism and test biogeographic hypotheses associated with the effect of Pleistocene land conformations on the Philippine flora. The project will discover new species, rediscover poorly known species, and document new species records for the Philippines.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Cryptogams of Northwestern Missouri
Cryptogams (bryophytes and lichen-forming fungi) are diverse organisms that occupy most terrestrial ecosystems on the planet. Basic knowledge of species distributions is lacking in many regions and this project aims to inventory the cryptogams of Northwestern Missouri.
Collecting Plant and Fungal Genome Grade Tissues for the Global Genome Initiative (GGI)
This is a cooperative effort between the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and and the Smithsonian Institution to collect vouchers and tissues for DNA analyses and plants and lichen-forming fungi across Texas.
Monitoring Biodiversity and Habitat Management in Missouri Ozark Glade Ecosystems
Glade ecosystems in Missouri occur in the Ozarks on various geological substrates and are inhabited by diverse floral and faunal communities. These ecosystems are under severe negative pressures including fire suppression, invasive species, and human disturbances (e.g. ATV use). The diversity of reptiles, including birds, amphibians, and vascular plants are being used to asses the impacts of management and the aforementioned negative pressures on glade habitats.
Additional Research Projects
Lichens of Mason County
Bryophytes and Lichens of Texas State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas
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