Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Visiting Scientists Feature: Students from the Iligan Institute of Technology

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Visiting Scientists Feature: Students from the Iligan Institute of Technology

Over two weeks following the CNY holidays, the LKCNHM research lab was ablaze with the enthusiasm and lively chatter from a group of graduate students from the Iligan Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University, in the Philippines.

The exuberant group of four—Ms. Meriam M. Rubio, Ms. Ziljih S. Molina, Mr. Jemateo B. Neri, and Ms. Emmarie F. Mapi-ot—were here to work on the poorly studied freshwater decapod crustaceans of Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines, as part of an ongoing collaboration between their advisor, Prof. Olga Nuñeza, and our crustacean curator, Dr. JC Mendoza. They are the second batch of students working on Mindanao freshwater decapods, following the visit last year of graduate student, Ms. Nickel Jean S. Lagare.

(Clockwise, starting from top left): Mr. Jemateo B. Neri, Dr. Jose C. E. Mendoza, Ms. Ziljih S. Molina, Ms. Emmarie F. Mapi-ot, and Ms. Meriam M. Rubio in the LKCNHM research lab.

Their research is focused on crabs from the genera Isolapotamon and Sundathelphusa, and shrimps from the genus Macrobrachium.

During their time here, the students identified specimens—collected from months of fieldwork in various localities on Mindanao Island—by comparing them with those in the Zoological Reference Collection (ZRC). They were delighted to find some species that are probably new to science, and shall be working with Dr. Mendoza towards their formal description in a scientific journal.

It was a pleasure hosting these students, and their passion for science has warmed our hearts. It is our hope that with greater collaboration alongside researchers from neighbouring countries, the biodiversity of Southeast Asia can be better known.

Crab from the genus Isolapotamon. Photo by Dr. Jose C. E. Mendoza.
Shrimp from the genus Macrobrachium. Photo by Dr. Jose C. E. Mendoza.