Biology student Enrico Sanchez could probably brag that he has one of the best student research papers of the year considering how he helped discover two new beetles in Ifugao.
The Philippines is one of the most environmentally rich places in the world. As a major hub of biodiversity, the country is home to many species of animals, plants, trees, and more. The country’s vital forests and coasts are host to many species that help the world operate in its natural order. And with so much life teeming in these places, it won’t be too hard to imagine more undiscovered gems within the environment. And college student Enrico Gerard Sanchez can proudly lay claim to helping unearth some of these hidden gems. He recently was able to discover not one, but two new species of beetles in the Philippines.
TWO NEW BEETLES IN THE COUNTRY
Ateneo de Manila BS Biology student Enrico Gerard Sanchez, with the help of his thesis adviser Dr. Emmanuel Delocado and co-adviser Prof Dr. Hendrik Freitag, recently confirmed the existence of two new species of beetles in Ifugao. Their work was recently published in an international science journal. They shared their findings on the two new species of water scavenger beetles. While discovering a species or two is indeed an amazing feat, especially for someone still in school, the moment was even more impressive as Sanchez spent a good chunk of his work in a home set-up.
He began his experiments during the pandemic, so he worked with a home lab set-up. He consulted with his advisers via online meetings and used courier services to share their data with one another. When restrictions eased up, Sanchez was able to use the resources of the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory.
Since he was the one who discovered the beetles, Sanchez had the honor of naming them. He chose anacaena angatbuhay and anacaena auzilium. The former was named after former VP Leni Robredo’s Angat Buhay foundation and “a nod to the countless Filipinos working for and with far-flung communities whose efforts were not widely recognized.” The latter was named after the high school he attended in Pangasinan, Mary Help of Christian High School Seminary in Binmaley. He adds that their names are also an important call for “the need to pay attention to the vulnerable stage of freshwater biodiversity in the SEA region.” It also served as a reminder that these bugs went unnoticed for a long time yet are vital in protecting the environment. For all his efforts, Sanchez received the Dean’s Choice Awards at the School of Science and Engineering.
THE POWER OF YOUNG SCIENTISTS
Despite the lack of resources they often get, scientists, especially in this country, serve as a vital tool in helping push society forward. There are young scientists around the country, some of whom are still in school, whose ideas and experiments might just become the next big thing. Just recently, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that 3rd year applied physics major William Kevin Abran from UP Los Banos would have his experiment be tested on the International Space Station later this year. Depending on how it goes, his work could potentially be applied when designing spacecraft and other materials. These achievements and more are just further proof that we shouldn’t disregard the work young scientists are doing.