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For five weeks during May and June 2000, Mark McGrouther and Kerryn Parkinson (Australian Museum), joined Jeff Williams and Jerry Finan (Smithsonian Institution), Mark Westneat and Jeff Janovetz (Field Museum, Chicago) and Kent Carpenter (Old Dominion University, Norfolk) on a survey of the marine fishes of Mindoro Island (Philippines).

Beaked Leatherjacket collected on the Mindoro Island
A Beaked Leatherjacket collected on the Mindoro Island, Philippine Islands expedition, May-June 2000. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

We worked closely with the staff of the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), notably Mudjie Santos, Leony Mijares Luz Regis and Alex Biasbas, and Arvin Dantis from the University of the Philippines (UP).

The trip began with several weeks working near Sabang Beach in northern Mindoro, followed by a circumnavigation of the island, during which we lived aboard the MV Mary Chris and the MV Michelle & Mikie Jnr. Our aim was to collect as many species of fishes from the region as possible, and submit a species list to our colleagues at BFAR and UP. This list could then be used to help make informed fisheries management and research decisions.

During the trip we recorded over 700 species of fishes. Most of these were photographed and tissue samples were taken from many species. These tissue samples will be used in genetic research. Part of this unique collection is now held in the Australian Museum Fish Collection.