Thursday, 23 May 2013

Local experts critical for new discoveries

Developing experts in Fiji and the South Pacific region is critical in further discoveries and documentation of new species. USP, as a highly recognised institution in Fiji is one place where opportunities are given to develop quality researchers. This is because of the quality resources available and the institution’s successful collaboration with quality researchers abroad. USP has proved to have developed quality researchers and this could be seen by the success of the student researchers it produces. For instance, the discovery of a newly recorded plant in Fiji by a Graduate student researcher and field assistants at USP shows the capability of Fiji in making new discoveries on their own without depending on foreign scientists to make new discoveries for them. The plant, which was a bryophyte plant, was a result of a study taken for the first time in Fiji and the region. USP Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said the finding of a plant species never recorded in Fiji before was an example of the need to develop our capacity for research within the Pacific Island countries. He said it represented a significant step in the development of independence of our societies and nation and it was important that people in Fiji realise this. Collections Manager and Adjunct Curator at the Field Museum ofNational History in USA Dr Matt Von Konrat said the discovery reinforces the fact that there are many exciting discoveries remaining both for Fiji and the region. Konrat said the new finding highlighted that nothing could replace having a resident expert.