A THOMASIAN biologist urged science students to increase research efforts to conserve endemic species in the Philippines.
Axel Arriola, a specialist in molecular and plant taxonomy, said there were unnamed plants in the country that needed to be recognized first before protected.
“Those species that are said to be cryptic, [we] can’t conserve them properly yet, so [we] have to properly identify them,” said Arriola in the 8th Carmen G. Kanapi Lecture at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium last Nov. 27
There are almost 6,000 endemic plant species in the Philippines, said Arriola, who has a doctorate in biology.
Arriola said morphology, the classical study of a species’ form and structure, was still crucial in discovering and naming organisms despite the advent of molecular biology.
“When morphology and molecular data go hand-in-hand, then we do what we call a good and sound taxonomical judgment. That is the case with how we discovered the genus Kanapia,” he said.
In 2016, Arriola and two other Thomasian biologists, Lyn Paraguison and Grecebio Alejandro, found a new Philippine endemic genus Kanapia, which was named after Dean Emeritus Carmen Kanapi of the College of Science.
Arriola reminded students of the role of scientific knowledge and skills in the environment and the society.