At the young age of 36, Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo has probably accomplished more feats than most of her immediate colleagues has done in their entire academic lives. This soft-spoken lady with a medium frame may look ordinarily among a throng of people but few now already know that she is standing among the giants of Philippine science.

Aimee Lynn, the daughter of UPLB-based entomologists Alberto and the late Adelina Barrion has just been awarded on 10 July as one of the country’s Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS) for 2015. The award, given by the National Academy of Science and Technology, is itself a recognition to the excellence and dedication of the Barrions to science; the father-mother-daughter trio are all OYS awardees, a record of some sorts.

Interestingly, this family feat is probably expected, especially that Aimee Lynn has been reared by a couple whose passions lie on the taxonomy and ecology of insects.

As a child, Aimee Lynn have been exposed to early scientific investigations, as she has been able to observe her parents conducting studies at the laboratories, and even sometimes at home. When most of her childhood friends have been playing with dolls or robots, Aimee Lynn was keen on using vials and insect nets to collect spiders for derby fights.

She caught the bug very early and naturally gravitated to studying insects in college, obtaining her BS Agriculture degree, major in Entomology from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1999. She proceeded in getting her MS Entomology degree from the same university in 2004, and finally receiving her doctorate in Entomology in 2011.

For her dissertation, she worked on the taxonomy of Philippine Geometridae -- the second largest and least-studied family of Lepidoptera. So far, she has published three publications on Lepidoptera.

Between and after getting her academic degrees, Aimee Lynn has relentlessly pursued research on the taxonomy and ecology of Geometridae and allied moth families; forest and cave spider taxonomy and ecology; and the distribution, ecology and taxonomy of Philippine native bees and associated insect taxa of quarantine importance.

She has published a total of 29 journal articles, books, book chapters since 2002, most of which published by institutions indexed by Thomson Reuters Institute for Scientific Information. Currently, she has six new papers co-authored with her students and colleagues at UPLB’s Institute of Biological Sciences waiting for publication; a proof of her productivity as a researcher.

Aimee Lynn’s sheer productivity in “basic” studies cannot be overemphasized. As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Philippines is compelled to develop and implement strategies that will preserve all levels of biodiversity be it at the genetic, species or ecosystems level.

As such, no protection efforts will be possible without adequate basic research data on the species. Dr. Barrion-Dupo’s work seeks to address the issue of lack of information of many insect species in the Philippines.

But what separates her from the pack is her intense dedication to field work, and the pursuit of new knowledge by truly going out in the field, participating in biodiversity field expeditions and collection trips. Her involvement in the UPLB Museum of Natural History, first as a Research Associate, and later as a Curator, has enabled her to pursue taxonomic and ecological researches on a myriad of insect taxa.

Not resting her laurels, Dr. Barrion-Dupo has actively conducted and participated in surveys. She is not even 40 and yet she has already co-authored the description of 24 new species of rice black bugs from Philippine rice agro-ecosystems, now an important arthropod to local rice farmers. She has sole-authored the description of 5 derby spiders that are new to science. In both cases, Dr. Barrion-Dupo has contributed significantly to the taxonomy and ecology of these little-known groups.

Aside from this, her collaborative work on highly important rice-infesting delphacid plant hoppers elucidates a comprehensive knowledge base necessary to clearly build an understanding of this insect group in the Philippines including all rice-producing countries in Asia and the world. The information provided by her taxonomic researches helps bridge the gaps in insect and spider species databases used by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during its priority-setting workshops on Philippine biodiversity.

Truly, nothing is more original than describing species that are new to science. Dr. Barrion-Dupo has described more than 50 new species of insects and spiders. Her interest in insects and spiders has also led her to collaborate with other researchers in employing novel techniques in investigating arthropod ecology and taxonomy.

Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo is truly a remarkable young scientist. Even before becoming a recipient of the OYS Award, she has already 14 individual and group awards already tucked under her belt.

But despite all of these, she has made it a point to translate everything she knows and experienced in the field to something that can be taught to students. At the Institute of Biological Sciences, she continually uses the outputs of her researches in her environmental biology and ecology classes.

She has continuously served as an active curator at the UPLB Museum of Natural History where, aside from doing research, she also allots time to train student participants taking “Biodiversity for Beginners,” a yearly summer short course aimed at enabling students and nature enthusiasts alike to conduct biodiversity surveys.

She has expanded her service to the University more by accepting the responsibility of being the coordinator of the UPLB Bee Program and is now serving as the Deputy Director of the Institute of Biological Sciences.

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