Emails to Life Science undergraduates: field trips and research conversation opportunities

Sent to AY2014/15 Sem 1 students reading LSM1103, LSM2251 & LSM3261.

Field assistants for honours students
Sign up at: http://tinyurl.com/hons-fieldwork

Our undergraduate research students are engaged in a variety of field observations following monkeys in the forest, studying freshwater streams, mapping the distribution of fruit trees important to civets, exploring trash in mangroves and a variety other work.

This is an important period in their lives when they grapple with field work very seriously, examine the literature, evaluate their methods and collect data with specific objectives. It is a steep learning curve and educational for undergraduates to be exposed to.

Hence Life Science undergraduates are encouraged to sign up as volunteer student assistants to gain exposure to field work, learn about nature areas in Singapore and observe how science is conducted in the field. You will learn a lot from conversations with research students whom you follow.

That’s pretty much how I started – I was a first year undergraduate when I responded to an invitation to carry heavy stuff for a mangrove research team.

After you register, research students will contact you with their field trip schedule. It is not a blanket period, you will be able to pick and choose dates.

Once you respond to individual researchers, you must commit to the appointments you sign up for, turn up early rain or shine and be communicative with the researcher. You reputation depends on this. You can also ask the research students for recommendations to secure your own projects in future.

Cheerio!

Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman

Invitation to a post-exam conversation with EVB Graduate students:
Mon 08 Dec 2014: 7.00pm
Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/dec-chalk

Dear undergraduates,

I am pleased to announce that three graduate students from the Environmental Biology (EVB) track are inviting you to an informal discussion about interests and concerns you might have about research in the Department of Biological Sciences. This is relation to the Honours year thesis (FYP), UROPS, lab attachments or techniques, experiences, constraints and philosophies.

Conversation with EVB grads about research in NUS DBS
Mon 08 Dec 2014: 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/dec-chalk

Undergrads should think about and discuss these issues early in your journey. There are few formal opportunities to do this so these graduate students are extending an invitation for you to join them in just such a conversation.

While Darren Yeo (Evo Lab), Ian Chan (Marine Lab) & Jerome Kok (Freshwater Lab) are in the EVB track, this invitation is extended to all undergraduate biologists.

Cheerio!

Sivasothi aka Otterman

Job: Research Assistant (National Carbon Stock Assessment; deadline 31 Oct 2014)

Research Assistant (Natural Sciences and Science Education)
The National Institute of Education invites suitable applications for the position of Research Assistant on a 6-month contract at the Natural Sciences and Science Education (NSSE).

Project Title: ANRICA – Carbon Stock Assessment

Project Introduction:
This is a 5-year national carbon accounting project in collaboration with the National Parks Board (NParks) with the aim of developing a national system to monitor carbon emissions/reductions resulting from loss/gain of vegetation due to changes in the land use over time.

All greenery and soil in Singapore will be taken into account when calculating carbon stocks, and the data collected will be incorporated into Singapore’s national emissions report to the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) as part of our national obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

As this is the first time emissions from land use changes is reported for Singapore, the NParks has also hired the help of a consulting agency – the Austrian Natural Resources Management and International Cooperation Agency (ANRICA), who will provide the technical and reporting expertise required.

We are now seeking team leaders for data collection. Training will be provided to successful applicants, who will gain much experience in the full range of technical aspects involved in carbon stocks research in Singapore, as well as a deeper understanding of carbon reporting in the land-use change sector.

Requirements

  • At least a diploma in botany/forest ecology/relevant subject area.
  • Able to identify tree species would be an advantage.
  • Willing to go into forest areas and travel around Singapore.
  • Physically fit. Able to walk and hike long distances.
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently and in a team.
  • Responsible.
  • Possesses leadership qualities.
  • Fast learner.
  • Able to use Microsoft Office, especially Excel.
  • A valid Singapore Class 3 driving license is highly desirable.

Responsibilities

  • Leading a team through data collection
  • Setting up of field plots
  • Obtaining field data
  • Data entry into database

Training in field work methodology will be provided.

Application
Applicants should complete and submit the following item/s:

  1. Application form for Research Positions [link]
  2. Cover letter addressing how you meet the requirements of this position
  3. Supporting documents as stated on the job application form
  4. Other documents that demonstrate your qualifications

Please send your application to:

Denise Chng Pei Lin, Research Assistant
Natural Sciences and Science Education
National Institute of Education
Email: denise.chng@nie.edu.sg

**We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified**

Closing Date
31 October 2014

Other Information
NIE staff can take chartered buses at their own expense from or near their homes to the NIE campus. This is subject to availability of seats.

Jobs: 1) Research Fellow; 2) Research Assistant in Urban Ecology (Closing Date: 18 Oct 2014)

(1) Research Fellow in Urban Ecology

Job Description
The urban greenery and ecology group in the Department of Architecture at the School of Design and Environment invites application for a Research Fellow for a research project on biophilic design of townships in Singapore. The position is open for a 3-year appointment commencing in December 2014.

The research domain covers the multiple disciplines of landscape architecture, urban planning and design and human-nature relationships using urban ecology as the overarching framework. Additional project information can be found here (Project 3).

The Research Fellow will work closely with the Principal Investigator and co-Principal Investigators to conduct the research, assist in the general administration and management of the project, including supervision of Research Assistant and Graduate Student Researchers, and produce reports and papers. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and track record.

Requirements

The candidate should possess the following qualifications:

  • PhD from a recognized university in landscape architecture, urban planning and design, urban ecology. Relevant background related to the research and experience in conducting perception studies in urban areas is advantageous.
  • Excellent in spoken and written English, and communication skills.
  • Motivated and independent worker capable in managing a research team.
  • Strong interest in multi-disciplinary research.
  • Proficiency in basic design softwares, including AutoCAD and Adobe Programs.

Interested candidates should contact Assoc Prof. Tan Puay Yok (akitpy@nus.edu.sg) with the following:

  1. Cover letter describing career goals and motivations
  2. CV, which should include names of referees
  3. Examples of two to three pieces of scholarly writings

Please refer to the JobsBank link for the application process.

(1) Research Assistant in Urban Ecology

Job Description

The urban greenery and ecology group in the Department of Architecture at the School of Design and Environment invites application for a Research Assistant for a research project on biophilic design of townships in Singapore. The position is open for a 3-year appointment commencing in December 2014.

The research domain covers the multiple disciplines of landscape architecture, urban planning and design and human-nature relationships using urban ecology as the overarching framework. Additional project information can be found in this link (Project 3).

The Research Assistant will work closely with the Principal Investigator and his team in various aspects of the research, including collection of data, analysis and coordination of input from different research components. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and track record.

Requirements
The candidate should possess the following qualifications:

  • A good degree or Masters from a recognized university in landscape architecture, urban planning and design, urban ecology. Relevant background related to the research and experience in conducting perception studies in urban areas is advantageous.
  • Excellent in spoken and written English, and communication skills.
  • Motivated and independent worker who can work in a team.
  • Proficiency in basic design softwares, including AutoCAD, Adobe Programs
  • Proficiency in basic 3D rendering.

Interested candidates should contact Assoc Prof. Tan Puay Yok (akitpy@nus.edu.sg) with the following:

  1. Cover letter describing career goals and motivations
  2. CV, which should include names of referees
  3. Examples of two to three pieces of scholarly writings

Please refer to the JobsBank link for the application process.

— end —

Fri 03 Oct 2014: 2.00pm @ DBS Conf Rm 2: Sinlan Poo on “Reproductive Ecology and Parental Care of a Southeast Asian Treefrog”

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral ExaminationSheila

Reproductive Ecology and Parental Care of a Southeast Asian Treefrog”

Sinlan Poo
Graduate Student,
Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS
Supervisor: Asst. Prof David Bickford

Fri 03 Oct 2014: 2.00pm
DBS Conference Room II (S1 Level 3, Mezzaine)

All are welcome

Abstract – 

“Parental care is a reproductive strategy that increases fitness of parents by having more surviving offspring. The evolution of parental care is closely linked to sexual selection, mating systems, and other life-history characteristics of an organism. However, parental care can be overlooked or assumed in taxa that are underrepresented in the literature. Consequently, there is a gap between observations and analyses, which limits our understanding of general and taxa-specific trends associated with parental care.

I used in-situ observations and experiments to study the costs and benefits of parental behavior in a Southeast Asian treefrog, Chiromantis hansenae. Female frogs that attended egg clutches contributed to offspring survival primarily by preventing egg desiccation. Parental behavior was the main factor in determining offspring survival and was driven by harsh environmental conditions. Using a predatory katydid, I tested prediction of parental investment theories by observing anti-predator behavior of frogs. Defense against predators and ability to differentiate risk levels was sex-specific and only present in female frogs caring for their eggs. Maternal defense was positively correlated with predation risks and was not influenced by offspring age. These results are contrary to existing theory, which suggests investment ought to be negatively correlated with parental predation risks and affected by offspring age. Finally, I examined hatching plasticity of eggs. When exposed to predation cues, both young and old eggs shortened their embryonic period by hatching early. Hatching time was not correlated with duration of maternal egg attendance. Rather, embryonic response to cues depended on their developmental stage. Younger eggs, not yet capable of hatching, continued to develop after being exposed to predation cues, while older eggs hatched rapidly in response to predation of neighboring eggs.

This is the first empirical, experimentally-driven, parental care research on a Southeast Asian amphibian. Results demonstrate behavioral adaptations by parents and offspring to reduce egg stage mortality. It supports overarching theories of parental care evolution, but provides unexpected trends of parental investment in relation to certain life-history characteristic and environmental factors. This study highlights the importance of examining parental care in underrepresented taxa and geographical regions, and the potential of using C. hansenae as a study system. These findings form a basis for further research on reproductive strategy comparison and hatching plasticity that will lead to improved understandings of decisions involved in both adult and offspring behavior and the evolution of parental care.”

All are welcome