Our Quest for Excellence
Important recognitions awarded to members of the Zoology Division
The National Museum's scientific experts and researchers in the field of zoology are richly endowed with a natural flair for research and development. Many of them have their names permanently inked in the pages of the Philippine Journal of Science because of the number and variety of studies undertaken which are indeed a source of pride and prestige for the agency.
As a result of these researches, the Zoology Division has produced a substantial number of identified new species or new records of different Philippine fauna in the last 40 years. In 1996, for instance, 12 new species of sponges were discovered from the old materials in the national reference collections of the Museum which were left unreported until then. This unexpected imd has led to the updating of synonymy of some sponge species. In the same vein, 15 new records and one new species of crustaceans were discovered from the collections of the National Museum in 1999. Still another noteworthy discovery, because of its economic potential, is that of a large eunicid worm, Marphysa sp., along the mangrove swamps of Buenavista, Guimaras in 1998.
As international institutions recognized the capability and expertise of their local counterparts, more scientific endeavors have been extended. A case in point is the Biodiversity Information Center - Animal Unit (BIC-AU), a special project under a US$67,000 grant from Mac Arthur Foundation. Being conducted in conjunction with the Botany Division, the BIC-AU project involves the collection of voucher specimens, scientific identification, assessment of threats and economic potential of Philippine animals. It also manages a special library on biodiversity surveys, conservation and other issues. Two very interesting components of this project are the databasing and presentation of complete , zoological collections, and the launching of a CD-ROM Birdbase Introductory version.
Also part of the Division's global interaction is the continued conduct of and participation in seminars/workshops and conferences, such as the First Herpetological Symposium held at the National Museum and the First Symposium on the Biogeography and Systematics of Philippine Amphibians and Reptiles which were both attended by leading herpetologists from all over the world.
As if present efforts are still not enough, scientific globalization through the exchange of publications with foreign experts and institutions is being pursued. In 1998, an update on crustacean research was made possible by the donation of scientificjournals from the University of Singapore, University of Hawaii, National Science Museum of Japan and the Smithsonian Institution.
Remarkably, so much was accomplished in the last century but certainly so much still has to be done. The Zoology Division with Curator Rodolfo A. Caberoy (Poriferologist) and Assistant Curator Jaime J. Cabrera (Conchologist) as well as its 18 researchers and staff are all geared to move forward with utmost dedication toward the new challenges of the next century of the Museum.