Thu 16 Apr 2015: 3.00pm – Joshua Koh on “The ecology and management of Sus scrofa vittatus in CCNR”

NUS DBS Qualifying Exam

The ecology and management of Sus scrofa vittatus in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve of mainland Singapore

Joshua Koh Jun Min
Graduate Student,
Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS

Thu 16  April 2015: 3.00pm     

Conference Room 2
S1, Level 3, mezzanine (access via S2-03)
Department of Biological Sciences
Science Drive 4
National University of Singapore

Supervisor: David Bickford

Abstract – The banded pig, Sus scrofa vittatus, in the absence of natural predators and hunting pressures, is hypothesized to be hyper-abundant within Singapore’s forests. Their high densities pose a threat to Singapore’s already disturbed forest ecosystems and increases the risk of human-animal conflicts. Despite being a native animal, its role within Singapore’s forest ecosystems has not been fully understood yet. Therefore, there is a need for estimating the absolute abundance of Sus scrofa vittatus and quantifying its effects in Singapore’s forests.

The proposed method is to analyse data, obtained from camera trapping, with a recently developed Spatial Capture-Recapture (SCR) model that overcomes most of the problems encountered by traditional capture-recapture models. Additionally, an exclusion plot study is proposed to quantify both positive and negative impacts the pigs have in Singapore’s forests.

All are welcome!

Vote for Singapore’s National Butterfly! Deadline – 30 April 2015

The National Butterfly will not only be an ambassador for butterfly species, but also for the lesser studied but equally important insects living within the same environment.

What to find out about these butterfly nominees? Check out Singapore’s National Butterfly webpage to find out more about these charismatic species –  their colours, size, habitat, and more!

The National Butterfly campaign, launched on 21 Mar 2015 (Sat) in conjunction with World Water Day, aims to raise awareness on the importance of butterflies in the environment. There are over 300 species of butterflies in Singapore, of which 20 are critically endangered. Without butterflies, reproduction of our trees and shrubs will be severely affected, and our biodiversity will be reduced.

Each of these nominees have been carefully selected by experts in field based on their beauty, size, life status (if they are threatened or endangered), endemism or uniqueness to Singapore, as well as its reflection of Singapore traits or symbols (e.g., resilience, adaptability, the Singapore flag). All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are eligible to vote for a butterfly they feel is representative of the Singapore identity. 

The deadline for voting is 30 Apr 2015 (Thurs), so do cast your vote now. Not to mention, voters of the winning butterfly will stand a chance to win an amazing mystery prize in a lucky draw!

For more information, do check out their webpage or facebook page.

RIP Mr Lee Kuan Kuan Yew

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew dedicated his entire life in service of our nation and its people. His leadership was always marked by hope and a sense of collective purpose, inspiring us all to work towards an ever better Singapore. We mourn the passing of an eminent alumnus, an inspirational leader, and a Singapore icon. Our thoughts are with PM and Mrs Lee, and the Lee family during this difficult time.”
– Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President

“NUS and Singapore have lost a great man. As Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team transformed an island with no natural resources into a thriving, cosmopolitan city – all in just one generation. Mr Lee focused on education as a key pillar for national development, and for this, we will always be grateful. We are proud that he was a part of Raffles College and NUS. We are deeply saddened by his passing, and send our condolences to PM Lee, Mrs Lee and the Lee family.”
– Prof Tan Eng Chye, Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost

LKY Memoriam NUS

The NUS community is invited to share their thoughts in memory of Mr Lee on the NUS Facebook page.

Talk: Weevils with weapons: alternative mating tactics & exaggerated trait evolution in brentine weevils

With the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum now located halfway across the Kent Ridge campus and the advent of common labs at S3 and S14, catching up with the rest of the NUS Biodiversity Crew isn’t as convenient as the corridor talk that used to happen at S2.

However, I learnt about Spider Lab’s new postdoctoral research fellow – Chrissie Painting – and her work in Singapore through twitter, where she frequently posts images of her field sightings, specimens, and quips about Science. Chrissie will be working on jumping spider sexual selection, and will be giving a talk as part of an existing series organised by Seshadri. Would try to catch this! Talk details below:

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Abstract

Many animal species have evolved weaponry as a means to resolve conflict between conspecifics in the acquisition of mates. In those species with high size variation, it is common for there to be alternative mating tactics, where dominant individuals behave differently to subordinate males during mate searching and copulation. Despite these alternative mating tactics, subordinate males are usually thought to have a lower mating success than dominant males, and are simply making the best of a bad situation. Males of the New Zealand giraffe weevil (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis) possess greatly elongated rostrums used as weapons during contests with other males for access to females. However, adult males are also highly size variable such that there is a 6-fold difference between the smallest and largest equivalent-aged individuals. I will discuss findings from my PhD research on the mating system of this species, in particular focusing on the evolution of flexible alternative mating tactics and our current evidence for sexual selection on male rostrum size. I will also highlight diversity in weaponry among other brentine weevils around the globe and our current research on these fascinating beetles.

Date: Wednesday 25th March 2015
Venue: Block S16 #04-31
Time: 4 pm to 5 pm
All are welcomed

Internship position open for mammal outreach and research

Internship position open for mammal outreach and research

Do you have an interest in mammals? Want to learn more about wildlife and contribute to conservation in Singapore?

The NUS Common Palm Civet Research Team seeks an intern to help with outreach, research and public education activities for 2015.

An urban common palm civet (Photo by Xu Weiting)

An urban common palm civet (Photo by Xu Weiting)

Duties and responsibilities

  1. Assist with the administration, communication, and implementation of outreach and public education activities e.g. setting up a common palm civet resource website and designing materials for public education
  2. Maintenance of the common palm civet blog and Facebook page, and mammal sighting records
  3. Recovery of mammal carcasses and collection of civet scat samples through public submissions
  4. Assist in common palm civet research as needed

Requirements

The ideal candidate should be interested in nature and is passionate about conservation and the environment in Singapore. Candidate should be responsible, communicative, has to be proficient with social media and interacting with members of the public. Enthusiasm and the ability to work independently is a requirement. Able to work on weekends or at night depending on the activities.

Application deadline:  03 April 2015, Friday

Interview date:  Mid – late April 2015

Internship duration: 6 months commencing April 2015.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Mr N. Sivasothi at mammal@sivasothi.com.

All applications will be processed in the 1st week of April and shortlisted applicants will be notified. The interviews for shortlisted applicants will be in the 2nd last week of April 2015.

“Creating complex habitats for restoration and reconciliation” – Lynette Loke, Peter Todd et al

A new paper out of Peter Todd’s lab: Loke, L. H., Ladle, R. J., Bouma, T. J., & Todd, P. A. (2015). Creating complex habitats for restoration and reconciliation. Ecological Engineering, 77, 307-313.

Simplification of natural habitats has become a major conservation challenge and there is a growing consensus that incorporating and enhancing habitat complexity is likely to be critical for future restoration efforts. Habitat complexity is often ascribed an important role in controlling species diversity, however, despite numerous empirical studies the exact mechanism(s) driving this association remains unclear. The lack of progress in untangling the relationship between complexity and diversity is partly attributable to the considerable ambiguity in the use of the term ‘complexity’. Here, we offer a new framework for conceptualizing ecological complexity, an essential prerequisite for the development of analytical methods for creating and comparing habitat complexity.

Our framework distinguishes between two fundamental forms of complexity: information-based complexity and systems-based complexity. Most complexity–diversity studies are concerned with informational complexity which can be measured in the field through a variety of metrics (e.g. fractal dimensions, rugosity, etc.), but these metrics cannot be used to re-construct three-dimensional complex habitats.

Drawing on our operational definition of informational complexity, it is possible to design habitats with different degrees of physical complexity. We argue that the ability to determine or modify the variables of complexity precisely has the potential to open up new lines of research in diversity theory and contribute to restoration and reconciliation by enabling environmental managers to rebuild complexity in anthropogenically- simplified habitats.

Four days in a Wilderness First Aid Course

I spent the first of four days in a wilderness first aid training course with colleagues from the Department of Biological Sciences (aka NUS Biodiversity Crew). This course brings everyone up to speed and prepares us for difficult situations in the field.

Ted, Amy, Morgany, Poh Moi, Frank, JC & Tommy were able to make it today and already this group makes me feel confident about student care on local or overseas field trips. Many of us have had some first aid training, either formally or from field situations. However, our exposure to incidents have been relatively low (thankfully so) hence the need for a refresher.

20150129 Widerness First Aid

It is excellent that we are working together and we are having highly interactive sessions with the trainers from ARIS Integrated Medical an experienced group who are glad to work with a field-savvy group.

Group scenarios have been productive and the many hands working together here has been efficient, communicative and builds an appreciation for each other. It took years for Tommy to secure the funding and get several of us together for four days, so this is a precious experience. Certainly the FTTAs, LOs and lecturers in a field module should work together again like this in future.

First published at Otterman speaks….