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Darin Penneys, a UNCW assistant professor of biology and marine biology, is part of an international, multi-institutional team of botanists who will collect and identify plants and lichens that are unique to the Philippines but at risk of extinction due to rapid deforestation and climate changes.
The project will involve a series of expeditions to the island of Mindanao and is funded by a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to UNCW, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and Southern Illinois University. The Central Mindanao University is the key in-country collaborating institution.
The Philippines is a “biodiversity hotspot,” with a high concentration of plant species found nowhere else in the world, said Penneys, a co-principal investigator whose share of the grant is $350,000. But the limited land area, a growing population and demand for agricultural products have led to widespread clear-cutting.

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Originally published Nov. 19, 2018.