Current / Past Research / Research By Category

Publications 10.17.15

Recent higher-level frog phylogenetic analyses have included a few members of the endemic Philippine frog genus Sanguirana. Although the monophyly of the group has never been disputed, the recent phylogenetically-supported inclusion of the Palawan Wood Frog (Sanguirana sanguinea) in this clade was highly unexpected. In addition, species boundaries and relationships remain unclear and new species continue to be discovered. We estimate the...


News 05.19.15

Our expeditions to Gabon to study to the river biogeography of the Ogooué was very productive. In 5 weeks, we sampled over 1000 amphibians and reptiles from 7 different stations spread around the entire river. Since Gabon has seen so little herpetological work it was impossible for us to know which species would be the focal species of the study until we...


Publications 11.05.14

We describe two new species of morphologically cryptic monitor lizards (genus Varanus) from the Philippine Archipelago: Varanus dalubhasa sp. nov. and V. bangonorum sp. nov. These two distinct evolutionary lineages are members of the V. salvator species complex, and historically have been considered conspecific with the widespread, northern Philippine V. marmoratus. However, the new species each share closer phylogenetic affinities with V....


Research 10.27.14

Some of Southeast Asia’s most enigmatic reptile species include the arboreal (tree-dwelling), frugivorous (fruit-eating) monitor lizards of the central and northern Philippines. Comprised of just three known species, this distinct group has even been assigned to its own subgenus, Philippinosaurus on the basis on cranial features and dentition (characteristics of the teeth). Knowledge on the biology of Philippine frugivorous monitor lizards has...


Research 10.22.14

The Philippines represent an ideal region for examining the effects of geologic and climatic influences on evolutionary processes and the accumulation of new species. Though the monitor lizard is the target of conservation efforts, little research has looked at the geological processes which have shaped the evolution and distribution of this group. Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex) are distributed throughout a...


Research 10.21.14

The genus Brachymeles represents a unique radiation of semi-fossorial (burrowing) lizards, all but two of which are endemic to the Philippines in Southeast Asia. This radiation represents one of the best systems for studying the evolution of limb reduction and loss; body forms within the genus range from pentadactyl (five digits per limb) to externally limbless. Over the last decade, 21 new...


Research 10.06.14

While new species are always being discovered, it is very uncommon to discover a completely new species of large-bodied vertebrates. Most large vertebrates have been discovered because there are so few places for them to remain hidden, with all the exploration that people and scientists have performed. Every year, there are fewer and fewer uncharted regions. Because it is so difficult for...


Research 10.04.14

Researchers want to know more about the evolutionary history and achieve a greater understanding of the diversity of land vertebrates in the Philippines. Though technological and statistical tools can help with this understanding, other problems have gotten in the way and research has only recently begun to accumulate. Looking at two species of Old World tree frogs – Rhacophorus bimaculatus and Kurixalus...


Publications 09.15.14

We utilize robust geographical genetic sampling, a multilocus dataset, a new synthesis of numerous fossil calibration points, a time-calibrated phylogeny, and the Dispersal–Extinction–Cladogenesis model to test the prediction that widespread Southeast Asian water monitor species initially diversified on the Asian mainland and subsequently invaded the island archipelagos of the Philippines, Sundaland, and Wallacea. Our results strongly contradict these expectations and instead infer...


Publications 09.15.14

Aim To utilize comprehensive geographical sampling and a new, multilocus dataset to re-examine the biogeography of spotted stream frogs (Hylarana signata complex) throughout Southeast Asia. To compare patterns of diversification among stream frog populations on land-bridge islands and oceanic islands and to re-evaluate a previous ‘dual-invasion’ hypothesis for the origins of endemic Philippine taxa. Location Southeast Asia, Sundaland, and the Philippines. Methods...


Research 09.09.14

Greg Jongsma – Masters Research Background The genus Hylarana is a member of the family Ranidae and part of the larger radiation called the Natatanura. Ranidae is one of few globally distributed frog families and comprises more than 350 species (Frost 2014) that exhibit a wide range morphological and ecological diversity. The genus Hylarana is unique among the members of Ranidae because its distribution...