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Biodiversity hotspot case study: Philippines

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Video transcript

- I'm Terry Gosliner and I'm senior curator of invertebrate zoology at the California Academy of Sciences. The Philippines are an amalgamation of 7,000 islands that have different origins. And all of that has been brought together to be a boiling pot of evolution. It has islands that used to be part of the continent of Asia. Others that have just risen up from the ocean floor through volcanism. And others that have migrated as continental masses from the southern part of the equatorial region. It's the area that appears to be the richest part of the ocean anywhere on the planet. An incredible diversity of life that, in the oceans, is unsurpassed anywhere else. On land, an amazing variety of life that is found nowhere else in the world. From that standpoint, every time we go there, we discover things that we've never seen before that are amazing surprises that we couldn't predict. The Philippines is an area that's very densely populated. It's almost 100 million people now in about the size of the state of Arizona. And so, there's a lot of pressure to be able to eke out an existence. Both on land and in the marine environment. Only about 7% of the original forest is left in the Philippines. There's great urgency to the study of these biodiversity hotspots. And we must translate the information that we have as scientists very rapidly into usable information by local people, by conservation organizations, by policy makers. It's that amazing opportunity to discover and to be able to apply our discoveries to shaping a more sustainable future and livelihood for the people that live in the Philippines. And that collaborative spirit and the open arms with which we are welcomed is one of the most inviting things that you can ask for.