Thu, 17 Apr 2014, 3.00pm @ CR1: Zarina Zainul on “The Early Biofilm Community of Antifouling Surfaces in Static and Shear Conditions”

ZarinaQualifying Examination

The Early Biofilm Community of Antifouling Surfaces in Static and Shear Conditions

Zarina Zainul  

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014: 3.00pm

Graduate Student
Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS

@ DBS Conference Room, S3 Level 5
Supervisor: Asst Prof Peter Alan, Todd

All are welcome


“The process of marine fouling upon submerged surfaces usually begins with the formation of a microorganismal biofilm ‘slime’ that has been shown to influence the subsequent development of macrofouling communities, including algae and invertebrates. This study seeks to understand the relationships between microbial components in slime communities that develop on man-made surfaces. The focus will be on biofilms formed on marine antifouling coatings as unlike natural surfaces, these materials have been chemically defined and are economically important.

Copper-based paint is the most commonly used antifouling strategy for the shipping industry, but in recent years there has been a move towards non-biocidal materials featuring a variety of foul-release and anti-fouling surface chemistries and microtopographies.  This project will observe the development of the early biofilm community upon these surfaces in both static and shear conditions, the effect of diatom Halamphora coffeaeformis on biofilm development, and the subsequent interaction between these biofilms and settlement of model fouling organisms – barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite and tubeworm Spirobranchus kraussii  – with and without the presence of H. coffeaeformis.”

Job: Laboratory Officer (with field work and teaching support; deadline 15 May 2014)

— beg —
Specialist Associate Grade 4

You are to provide support for fieldwork and teaching. The main duties include the following:

  1. Provide research support to ensure laboratory’s research goals are met.
  2. Assist lecturers in preparation and setting up of laboratory classes.
  3. Assist lecturers in preparation and organization of overseas field course for students.
  4. To manage the research field equipment and ensuring asset/ inventory records are maintained in order.
  5. Assisting in the administration and maintenance of safety in the teaching laboratories.
  6. Driving assignments for staff on official business, department’s visitors, conference or special events.
  7. To manage a research boat and its crew.
  8. Provide audio visual support for teaching and seminar support, e-learning.


  • At least Polytechnic diploma with major in Biology or Biotechnology
  • Relevant work experience in laboratory and fieldwork an advantage
  • Possess a valid class 3 driver’s licence, with minimum 1 year’s driving experience
  • Proficient in general MS office applications
  • Proactive, meticulous, resourceful, highly motivated, initiative, a good team player and enjoy working with people

For more information on the department, please see:

For any enquiries, please email

You may email CV and application form to: OR mail to:

National University of Singapore
Department of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543
(Attn: Ms Lisa Lau)

Closing Date: 15 May 2014


Calling EVB Honours students: Stand by poster at the Evening of Biodiversity! (Wed 16 Apr 2014 @ LT25)

Dear honours students,

You must be celebrating after submitting your thesis!

20140411 Germaine thesis complete

Well, now we want to share your work with the community at large, and have them hear from you directly!

If you can stand by poster at the Evening of Biodiversity [advert] on Wed 16th Apr 2014: 6.00pm at LT25, sign up here: by Monday morning and then turn up at LT25 next Wednesday at 5.30pm.

We picked this date actually because you would have a very strong grasp of your subject matter now and would have cleared most assignments deadlines by now!

This will be a good occasion to awareness about research and labs in the department – 177 people have registered so far and about 35% are students. We expect to welcome some 200 people eventually. We will email participants the list of posters and share this information here on the NUS Biodiversity Crew webpage.

You will also be asked to indicate if interested to share your posters at these events:

  1. Faculty of Science Open House (May; at Lab 7),
  2. Alumni Day (June; Lab 7)
  3. Festival of Biodiversity (July)

These are LKCNHM Toddycats will be a great opportunity to communicate about science.

We do not do this every year, so it would be great opportunity for this cohort come and enjoy the interaction and atmosphere at this event.



Invitation to An Evening of Biodiversity: “The Secret Lives of Mammals in Singapore”, Wed 16 Apr 2014: 6.30pm @ NUS LT25

Evening of Biodiversity 2014

I am glad to announce "An Evening of Biodiversity: The Secret Lives of Mammals in Singapore” presented by six young graduates of the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. They share with us short stories about wild mammals from their recent student research and their hopes for Singapore’s wildlife and heritage.

Come and be surprised by the stories about Singapore’s wild leopard cats, small mammals, smooth-coated otters and the common palm civet. The graduates, Amanda Tan, Chloe Tan, Marcus Chua, Meryl Theng, Fung Tze Kwan & Xu Weiting do this as part of a desire to contribute to public awareness and the protection of our fragile ecosystems.

And they look forward to entertaining the audience!

An Evening of Biodiversity will be held on
Wed 16 Apr 2014: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Lecture Theatre 25 (next to the Science Canteen)
Science Drive 2
National University of Singapore

Please RSVP at

(Parking is available at Car Park 10 across the road)

Veteran vertebrate naturalist Yeo Suay Hwee of the Nature Society (Singapore) had these kind words for the group,

“I hope this kind of presentation become a tradition where I can see more and more young scientists and new graduates/undergraduates ready to contribute in protecting our fragile wildlife and the habitat.”

We do look forward to your company.

Do RSVP if you are able to join us and feel free to forward this invitation to family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you!


Sivasothi aka Otterman

N. Sivasothi
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

About the talks

Small mammals have rarely been studied in Singapore and after over a decade Amanda Tan conducted a study of the diversity and abundance of small mammals around the Eco-Link. Once again the value of our unique, precious and fragile Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was demonstrated and the importance of the new forest connection with the Central Catchment realised.

Chloe Tan took small mammal exploration island-wide for the first time, documenting diversity in nine sites of varying forest quality. Eight species and three habitats later, she realised we cannot be hasty about connecting all our green areas – what were her concerns?

Sometimes we conduct surveys just for completeness. But on April Fool’s Day no less, the eyes of a leopard cat gleamed at Marcus Chua from amidst the undergrowth. After more than four decades, three populations provide relief about the longevity of this rare species but new issues emerge for our attention.

The smooth-coated otter (“anjing ayer”) returned to Singapore in 1998 exactly as predicted – Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, where these fish-eaters enjoyed prawns too! In the northeast, otters spread from Pulau Ubin through Punggol and eventually south to Marina Bay! Meryl Theng tracked the otters, not only by foot but through the enthusiastic and generous submissions of Singaporeans delighted at the return of this wild carnivore.

The common palm civet is a wild carnivore nestled in our backyard but surprisingly poorly understood. At Pulau Ubin, poop-specialist Fung Tze Kwan was surprised to discover that civets favoured the fruits of the common fish-tail palm and improved the growth of its seedlings! When adopted as the logo of the Raffles Museum, the toddycat was entwined with a palm leaf – little did we realise this poorly studied pair was linked in an ecological partnership which may prove to be relevant in habitat restoration in the future.

As wildlife spreads in this garden city, they feel the pinch of space too. As Xu Weiting studied wildlife-human interactions, orphan civets needed care and the protocols which arose went online and helped civets elsewhere in Southeast Asia too! This furry animal is not always greeted with delight, sometime conflict arises. Awareness of these neighbourhood acrobats has helped to transform fear to delight and a hope in the hearts of young researchers of a future of greater co-existence.

Undergrad part-time lab assistants wanted (April-Dec 2014)

Two or more part-time assistant(s) are required for sample processing (cell counting) from April to Dec 2014.

PUB: Local Catchment Water

Project description: Sampling and experimental work on toxic cyanobacteria isolated form Singapore’s reservoirs.

Job Scope

  1. Sample processing (cell counting) of samples collected from previous experiments


Candidates should be:

  1. Meticulous and careful with samples.
  2. Be able work over the semester break and on weekends to complete sample counting.
  3. Knowledgeable in use of compound microscopes and cell counting but not necessary as training will be provided.




Please contact Maxine Mowe, Graduate student, Freshwater and Invasion Biology Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. or call 6516-4255.