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Jump to Philippines mentors

Dr. David Gauthier

Project Principal Investigator (Old Dominion University)

Dr. David Gauthier is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University.  He holds a Doctorate in Marine Science from Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), The College of William and Mary, and has been in the faculty of Biological Sciences at ODU since 2008.  Dr. Gauthier’s research interest is in diseases of aquatic organisms, particularly the bacterial disease mycobacteriosis in finfishes.  He also works with the ODU Tick Research Team in ticks and tick-borne diseases, particularly in population genetics of Amblyomma ticks and the pathogens they carry.  Dr. Gauthier also has a longstanding commitment to undergraduate research education, serving as Undergraduate Research Director for ODU from 2015-2019, co-director of the Research for Undergraduates in Math and Science program, and instructor of a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in the Biological Sciences Department. 

Dr. David Gauthier
Department of Biological Sciences
202E Mills Godwin Bldg.
Norfolk, VA 23529 USA

Dr. Chris Bird

Project Principal Investigator (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi)

Dr. Chris bird is an Associate Professor in Life Sciences at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi where he has been a faculty member since 2012. He holds a Doctorate in Botany: Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Bird is broadly interested in using molecular genomics to advance our understanding of marine species and promote the sustainability of marine ecosystems. Projects in his lab are focused on the processes driving the evolution of marine species on the scale of days, to months, to years, in response to anthropogenic and natural processes. Dr. Bird has an established record of promoting diversity in STEM fields and served as the faculty mentor of the local chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos Hispanics and Native Americans in Science from 2015-2020.

Department of Life Sciences
Tidal Hall, Room 309
6300 Ocean Dr
Corpus Christi, TX 78412 USA

Philippines mentors

Dr. Nadia Palomar-Abesamis


Dr. Nadia Palomar-Abesamis is an Associate Professor and chairperson of the Silliman University Biology Department. Her research interests include the biology, ecology and behavior of benthic marine invertebrates, plankton biology, marine biodiversity and conservation and coastal resource management. Her recent publications have focused on the biology and ecology of the commercially important sea cucumber Stichopus horrens and the behavior and ecology of Irrawaddy dolphins in Negros Occidental, Philippines. She would like to expand her research to cover the reproductive biology and ecology of the crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster cf. solaris in the Philippines.

Persie Mark Q. Sienes


Persie Seines is an Assistant Professor in the Silliman University Biology Department. His research interest revolves mainly on barcoding studies of blue swimming crabs, bacteria used as probiotics in aquaculture, freshwater fishes, and bats sampled in Negros Island and in the Philippines. The results of these studies contribute to the barcode database of the Philippines. Other research involvement includes the study of goods and services of marine ecosystems in three regions of the Philippines, Palinpinon, Valencia subwatershed assessment, and spatial distribution of marine plankton in Bais Bay.

Dr. Robert Guino-o


Robert S. Guino-o II is an Associate Professor at the Center for Tropical Conservation Studies, Department of Biology, Silliman University. Dr. Guino-o does research in molecular biology, limnology, and ecology. Ongoing projects include ‘Philippine Mullets (Family Mugilidae: Teleostei)’, Limnological Assessment of Valencia Sub-watershed on Negros Island, Philippines, and Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Settlement Behavior and Resiliency of Communities Along Ocoy River System on Negros Island. 

Michael R. Alcala


Michael R. Alcala is an Assistant Professor at the Silliman University Biology Department. His early research initiatives were in coral larvae and reef fish ecology, marine protected area (MPA) establishment and coastal resource management. Asst. Prof. Alcala’s current research interests are now in the field of terrestrial biology specifically in herpetology, biodiversity (caves & tropical forests), and wildlife conservation. His recent research involvement is in the biodiversity monitoring and assessments of herpetofauna and volant mammals in Negros Oriental, Philippines.