Dumaguete City, Philippines
Dumaguete City, Philippines

Silliman University is a private research university in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Established in 1901 as Silliman Institute by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, it is the first American university in the Philippines and the entire Asian continent. The university is named after Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman, a retired businessman and philanthropist from Cohoes, New York who gave the initial sum of $10,000 to start the school. Starting as an elementary school for boys, the school expanded to become a college in 1910, acquiring university status in 1938. For the first half of the 20th century, Silliman was run and operated by Americans. After the Second World War Filipinos began to assume more important positions, culminating in the appointment of Silliman's first Filipino president in 1952.In terms of accreditation, Silliman is one of only five universities in the Philippines with "Institutional Accreditation" by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines . Institutional Accreditation is the highest certification that can be granted to an educational institution after an over-all examination of its number of accredited programs, the quality of its facilities, services and faculty. Incidentally, Silliman also has the highest number of accredited programs in the country fourteen of which are on Level IV accreditation status, the highest level that can be granted to individual programs.Today, the university comprises ten colleges, five schools, and three institutes, enrolling over 9,600 students from the Philippines and from at least 30 foreign countries. It is registered as a National Landmark by the National Historical Institute and is one of few private higher education institutions in the Philippines that have been granted full autonomous status by the Commission on Higher Education. It is also a founding member of the Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia and one of the recognized institutions in the U.S. Veterans Administration's list of approved educational institutions. In 2014, the university ranked 47th as the most beautiful Christian university campus around the world.Silliman University offers programs in the early childhood, elementary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels. Programs in the undergraduate and graduate levels cover disciplines such as Arts, Accountancy, Agriculture, Business Administration, Engineering, English, Filipino, Information Technology, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Education, Economics, Foreign Languages, Journalism, Marine science, Nutrition, Music, Physics, Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, and Public Administration. In addition to its academic undertakings, the university is involved in research and community extension projects. Silliman's stature in the fields of environmental and marine science has led to its being designated by the USAID as a Center of Excellence in Coastal Resources Management. Wikipedia.


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Siler C.D.,University of Kansas | Diesmos A.C.,Herpetology Section | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University | Brown R.M.,University of Kansas
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2011

The spectacular, virtually endemic radiation of Philippine semi-fossorial skinks of the genus Brachymeles represent one of the few radiations of scincid lizards to possess both fully limbed and limbless species. And yet, nothing is known of the phylogenetic relationships of this exceptional group. Morphologically similar body plans have made it difficult to assess species-level diversity, and the genus has long been recognized as one of the more modest radiations of southeast Asian lizards. However, recent large-scale survey efforts have resulted in the discovery of numerous new species, and taxonomic studies indicate that the diversity within the genus Brachymeles is grossly underestimated. In this study we provide the first robust estimate of phylogenetic relationships within the genus Brachymeles using a multi-locus dataset and nearly complete taxonomic sampling. We provide statistical tests of monophyly for all polytypic species and two widespread limb-reduced species and our results indicate wholesale deviations from past summaries and taxonomic evaluations of the genus. With few exceptions, we are able to reject the monophyly of all polytypic and widespread species, thereby validating the need for large-scale taxonomic revisions. Our results reveal that the limbless, monotypic, genus Davewakeum is nested within Brachymeles. Mapping of body form on our preferred phylogenetic tree suggests that limb-reduction and digit loss has occurred on multiple occasions in the history of the genus. A Bayesian reconstruction of ancestral areas indicates strong statistical support for a minimum of five major dispersal events that have given rise to a major component of the observed species diversity on separate Pleistocene aggregate island platforms of the archipelago. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Weeks R.,James Cook University | Russ G.R.,James Cook University | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University | White A.T.,Asia Pacific Program
Conservation Biology | Year: 2010

Quantifying the extent to which existing reserves meet conservation objectives and identifying gaps in coverage are vital to developing systematic protected-area networks. Despite widespread recognition of the Philippines as a global priority for marine conservation, limited work has been undertaken to evaluate the conservation effectiveness of existing marine protected areas (MPAs). Targets for MPA coverage in the Philippines have been specified in the 1998 Fisheries Code legislation, which calls for 15% of coastal municipal waters (within 15 km of the coastline) to be protected within no-take MPAs, and the Philippine Marine Sanctuary Strategy (2004), which aims to protect 10% of coral reef area in no-take MPAs by 2020. We used a newly compiled database of nearly 1000 MPAs to measure progress toward these targets. We evaluated conservation effectiveness of MPAs in two ways. First, we determined the degree to which marine bioregions and conservation priority areas are represented within existing MPAs. Second, we assessed the size and spacing patterns of reserves in terms of best-practice recommendations. We found that the current extent and distribution of MPAs does not adequately represent biodiversity. At present just 0.5% of municipal waters and 2.7-3.4% of coral reef area in the Philippines are protected in no-take MPAs. Moreover, 85% of no-take area is in just two sites; 90% of MPAs are <1 km 2. Nevertheless, distances between existing MPAs should ensure larval connectivity between them, providing opportunities to develop regional-scale MPA networks. Despite the considerable success of community-based approaches to MPA implementation in the Philippines, this strategy will not be sufficient to meet conservation targets, even under a best-case scenario for future MPA establishment. We recommend that implementation of community-based MPAs be supplemented by designation of additional large no-take areas specifically located to address conservation targets. ©2009 Society for Conservation Biology.


Babcock R.C.,CSIRO | Shears N.T.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University | Barrett N.S.,University of Tasmania | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2010

Decadal-scale observations of marine reserves suggest that indirect effects on taxa that occur through cascading trophic interactions take longer to develop than direct effects on target species. Combining and analyzing a unique set of long-term time series of ecologic data in and out of fisheries closures from disparate regions, we found that the time to initial detection of direct effects on target species (±SE) was 5.13 ± 1.9 years, whereas initial detection of indirect effects on other taxa, which were often trait mediated, took significantly longer (13.1 ± 2.0 years). Most target species showed initial direct effects, but their trajectories over time were highly variable. Many target species continued to increase, some leveled off, and others decreased. Decreases were due to natural fluctuations, fishing impacts from outside reserves, or indirect effects from target species at higher trophic levels. The average duration of stable periods for direct effects was 6.2 ± 1.2 years, even in studies of more than 15 years. For indirect effects, stable periods averaged 9.1 ± 1.6 years, although this was not significantly different from direct effects. Populations of directly targeted species were more stable in reserves than in fished areas, suggesting increased ecologic resilience. This is an important benefit of marine reserves with respect to their function as a tool for conservation and restoration.


Manalo R.I.,Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Incorporated | Alcala A.C.,Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Incorporated | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2015

The endemic Philippine crocodile Crocodylus mindorensis is one of the most Critically Endangered crocodilian species in the world. Four major captive-breeding programmes for the Philippine crocodile have greatly contributed to our knowledge about the biology and natural history of the species. In situ conservation actions, such as reintroduction, conservation breeding in large semi-wild areas with no supplementary feeding and head-starting programmes, could result in increasing the numbers of extant wild and semi-wild populations. If concerted efforts are directed at in situ and ex situ conservation, and locating quality habitats in which to establish new conservation sites for Philippine crocodiles, the species is likely to become widespread in the next few decades. Conservation measures that address species-specific issues promoting healthy viable populations in natural habitats are presented in this paper. © 2014 The Zoological Society of London.


Nilles-Bije Ma.L.,University of the Philippines at Diliman | Nilles-Bije Ma.L.,Silliman University | Rivera W.L.,University of the Philippines at Diliman
Parasitology Research | Year: 2010

Balantidium coli is a ciliated protozoon inhabiting the colon of swine, rodents, horses, nonhuman primates and humans. In association with disease triggered by other infectious agents, B. coli may become a pathogenic opportunist. This study describes the isolation, cultivation, morphological as well as molecular characterization of B. coli isolated from the large intestine of a pig in the Philippines. Based on scanning and transmission electron microscopy, this protozoon presents a dense ciliation in the oral structure and somatic cilia that are arranged in a more transverse field. Oral and somatic monokinetids were identified in the cortex of the organism. The presence of heterokaryotic nuclear condition is evident, and the cell body of the ciliate shows numerous mucocysts, several food vacuoles, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and contractile vacuoles. Polymerase chain reaction and phylogenetic analysis based on the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene were performed in order to compare our isolate with other previously reported B. coli isolates. The full-length sequence of the SSU rRNA gene of the isolate showed 99% similarity to other B. coli isolates reported in the GenBank. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the isolate clustered with previously reported B. coli isolates from gorillas, pig, and ostrich. To date, no studies on the ultrastructure and phylogeny of B. coli isolated in the Philippines have been reported. Results from this study may serve as a baseline data for further ultrastructural and phylogenetic studies on this organism. This study also suggests that morphological characteristics along with molecular identification are essential for validating and identifying species of Balantidium. © Springer-Verlag 2009.


Russ G.R.,James Cook University | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University
Ecological Applications | Year: 2011

Overfishing can have detrimental effects on marine biodiversity and the structure of marine ecosystems. No-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are much advocated as a means of protecting biodiversity and ecosystem structure from overharvest. In contrast to terrestrial protected areas, NTMRs are not only expected to conserve or recover biodiversity and ecosystems within their boundaries, but also to enhance biodiversity beyond their boundaries by exporting species richness and more complex biological communities. Here we show that species richness of large predatory reef fish increased fourfold and 11-fold inside two Philippine no-take marine reserves over 14 and 25 years, respectively. Outside one reserve (Apo) the species richness also increased. This increase beyond the Apo reserve boundary was 78% higher closer to the boundary (200-250 m) than farther from it (250-500 m). The increase in richness beyond the boundary could not be explained by improvements over time in habitat or prey availability. Furthermore, community composition of predatory fish outside but close to (200-250 m) the Apo reserve became very similar to that inside the reserve over time, almost converging with it in multivariate space after 26 years of reserve protection. This is consistent with the suggestion that, as community composition inside Apo reserve increased in complexity, this complexity spilled over the boundary into nearby fished areas. Clearly, the spillover of species richness and community complexity is a direct consequence of the spillover of abundance of multiple species. However, this spillover of species richness and community complexity demonstrates an important benefit of biodiversity and ecosystem export from reserves, and it provides hope that reserves can help to reverse the decline of marine ecosystems and biodiversity. © 2011 by the Ecological Society of America.


Russ G.R.,James Cook University | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University
Oecologia | Year: 2010

No-take marine reserves (NTMRs) provide hope that local carrying capacity may be partially restored if reserves are protected long enough. How long is long enough? We assess the duration of protection required for populations of large predatory reef fish in marine reserves to attain new steady states. We monitored biomass of large predatory fish in two marine reserves at Sumilon and Apo Islands, Philippines, almost annually for 26 years (1983-2009), and fit a logistic model to the data. As duration of reserve protection increased, biomass of predatory fish approached an asymptote, although the models suggest that 20-40 years of protection is required to attain new steady states. Thus, for local carrying capacity to be rebuilt, no-take protection must be effective on decadal timescales. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Abesamis R.A.,James Cook University | Abesamis R.A.,Silliman University | Russ G.R.,James Cook University
Coral Reefs | Year: 2010

The abundance of newly settled recruits of coral reef fishes was monitored at a total of 11 sites at two islands and two coastal locations in the central Philippines for a 20-month period (February 2008 to September 2009) that included two monsoon cycles. Recruitment occurred throughout the year. Most of the abundant species exhibited protracted recruitment seasons. This confirms the expectation of extended breeding of reef fishes at lower latitudes. The annual pattern of recruitment of reef fishes as a group was predictable. Annual fluctuations of sea surface temperature and wind strength largely explained the pattern. Rainfall, however, did not significantly influence the pattern of recruitment. Peaks in density and species richness of recruits occurred during the southwest monsoon and the second inter-monsoonal period of the year (July to October) when temperatures were highest and when most of the sites were sheltered from winds or when winds were weak. Conversely, lowest density and species richness were observed during the northeast monsoon (November to March) when temperatures were lowest and most sites were exposed to winds. The same pattern could also be seen in the recruitment of both damselfishes (Pomacentridae) and wrasses (Labridae), notwithstanding a tenfold difference in abundance of recruits between the two families. The pattern was fairly consistent across most sites, among most of the species that were examined, and between the 2 years that were sampled. This study is one of the few to provide insights into the influence of environmental factors on the recruitment patterns of fishes on Indo-Pacific coral reefs situated at lower latitudes. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Weeks R.,James Cook University | Russ G.R.,James Cook University | Bucol A.A.,Silliman University | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University
Biological Conservation | Year: 2010

Marine protected area (MPA) networks designed without consideration of the interests of local communities are likely to fail. However, in many regions where conservation action is needed most urgently, socioeconomic data are not available at spatial scales relevant to conservation planning. In the Philippines, the primary stakeholders relevant to conservation efforts in coastal waters are small-scale fishers. Unlike commercial fisheries, no logbook data are kept to record fishers' spatial effort and usage patterns. We investigated the effects of including different surrogates for small-scale fishing effort in the systematic design of an MPA network for Siquijor Province. We compared a reserve selection scenario in which socioeconomic data were not considered with four different surrogates for fishing effort and with empirical data on the spatial distribution of fishing effort collected through interviews. We assumed that minimising opportunity costs to fishers would increase the likelihood that they would support and comply with MPA implementation, resulting in more effective conservation. Surrogates modelled on the number of fishers or boats in each community consistently outperformed those based on population census data. However, none of the surrogates we tested were able to accurately predict fine-scale resource use patterns. Whilst socioeconomic surrogates may be able to assist conservation planners to identify regional-scale opportunities where conservation objectives may be met more easily, they cannot act as a shortcut for comprehensive consultation with communities, which will be required to identify actual sites for MPA implementation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Hind E.J.,Northumbria University | Hiponia M.C.,Silliman University | Gray T.S.,Northumbria University
Marine Policy | Year: 2010

Before the mid-1990s, Apo Island, Philippines, was often described as one of the world's best examples of community-based marine management. This paper studies the less-documented transition of the island during the late 1990s from community-based management to centralised national state management. Extensive interviewing of islanders has revealed deep misgivings about the centralised regime-the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). PAMB's aim of implementing the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (NIPAS) Act was initially looked upon favourably by islanders, but it has lost that support because of its exclusion of stakeholders from management and its poor institutional performance. The paper's conclusion is that the implementation of the NIPAS Act highlights the limitations of top-down management, and that there is a need to restore an element of local stakeholder participation in the governance of Apo's marine protected area (MPA). A system of co-management between community and national state actors is essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of Apo's marine resources. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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