Graduate student Hannah Jane F. Din and her adviser, Prof. Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz, Dr. rer. nat. of the Fungal Biodiversity, Ecogenomics, and Systematics Group of the Research Center for Natural and Applied Sciences won the Best Poster Paper award (Professional Category) during the 12th Regional Convention and Scientific Meeting of the Philippine Society for Microbiology, Inc. – Bicol Chapter. The event took place from February 21-22, 2020, in Legazpi, Albay.

The winning paper was entitled “Soil, Mound or Termites: Which carry the greatest number of fungi?” It determined “the fungal communities found within the termite mounds and those attached to the termite bodies.” The study “also compared these fungal communities with those found in soil adjacent to the mounds. The soil samples and termite specimens of Macrotermes gilvus were collected from six mounds within Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Park in Quezon City.”

Din and dela Cruz’s study isolated a total number of 57 fungal strains, which could be grouped into 31 morphospecies. The highest number of morphospecies were recorded from termites, followed by soil and mound.” The study “the first to look at termite-associated fungi in the Philippines.”