Hilly Ann Maria Roa Quiaoit is a staunch conservationist, environmental advocate and professor, who is known internationally as the “mother of giant clams.” She is currently doing free-lance consultancy and independent research and development works on ecosystems-based approach to restoration and multi-sectoral approach to environmental governance.
Her efforts in culturing, producing and reseeding clams all over the Philippines have prevented extinction of these organisms. To date, natural recruitment of these endangered shelled giants have been successful. Working for the Center for Tropical Ecology in Germany, she carried out scientific research on the ecology, reproduction and mass production potential of Red Sea giant clams. She has also made significant contributions to global biodiversity with the discovery of new species of giant clam (Tridacna costata Roa-Quiaoit et al, 2008,Tridacnidae) found so far only in the Red Sea. In 2007, she was awarded as one of “The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS)” by the President of the Philippines for her exemplary contribution to environmental conservation.
She graduated with a BS Marine Biology degree from Xavier University in 1989 and for the next decade she worked as a research assistant at the world-renowned U.P. Marine Science Institute, devoting her life to the conservation, preservation and rehabilitation of the marine environment. After earning a Doctorate in Natural Science (Dr. Rerum Naturalium), Magna Cum Laude from the University of Bremen in Germany in 2005, she returned to Xavier University. She became the Vice President for Research and Social Outreach (2005), an innovative cluster in the university that coupled research and extension for the work on greater societal engagement. She assembled a multidisciplinary research team that focuses on the integrated landscape-seascape in northern Mindanao. She founded the alliance of 14 Local Government Units for baywide integrated coastal managment, the Macajalar Bay Development Alliance. In 2018, she garnered another national award as “The Outstanding Filipino (TOFil) in Environment.