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i'm terry gauss leaner and i'm senior curator of invertebrate zoology at the California Academy of Sciences 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's 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 a hundred million people now and 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 seven percent 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 policymakers 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 could ask for