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. Shortlisted applicants will be notified for the interview in early 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….

The future of evolutionary diversity in reef corals – Huang & Roy 2015

Ted Webb alerted us this morning with this message, “Danwei has published an important paper in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, that looks at threats and future losses of evolutionary diversity across the world’s coral reefs. (PS great use of skull and crossbones on Fig 1!).”

Huang Danwei and Kaustuv Roy have published “The future of evolutionary diversity in reef corals” in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2014.0010

“One-third of the world’s reef-building corals are facing heightened extinction risk from climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. Previous studies have shown that such threats are not distributed randomly across the coral tree of life, and future extinctions have the potential to disproportionately reduce the phylogenetic diversity of this group on a global scale. However, the impact of such losses on a regional scale remains poorly known.

In this study, we use phylogenetic metrics in conjunction with geographical distributions of living reef coral species to model how extinctions are likely to affect evolutionary diversity across different ecoregions. Based on two measures—phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic species variability—we highlight regions with the largest losses of evolutionary diversity and hence of potential conservation interest.

Notably, the projected loss of evolutionary diversity is relatively low in the most species-rich areas such as the Coral Triangle, while many regions with fewer species stand to lose much larger shares of their diversity. We also suggest that for complex ecosystems like coral reefs it is important to consider changes in phylogenetic species variability; areas with disproportionate declines in this measure should be of concern even if phylogenetic diversity is not as impacted.

These findings underscore the importance of integrating evolutionary history into conservation planning for safeguarding the future diversity of coral reefs.

Danwei and Roy 2015 Future of evol diversity in coral reefs pdf  page 2 of 11

Danwei and Roy 2015 Future of evol diversity in coral reefs pdf  page 5 of 11

Job: Field Assistant for Radio tracking civet project (deadline: 31 Jan 2015)

FIELD RESEARCH ASSISTANT NEEDED pdf  1 page

Field Assistant required for a radiotracking project with translocated civets
Januar – June 2015.

Part time or Full time field assistant; pay: $10/hour
Location: Central Catchment/MacRitchie

Requirement:

  • Physically fit, hiker, knowledge of trails and landscape at site
  • Orienteering ability,
  • Good hearing
  • Owns a smartphone or GPS
  • Preferably with access to car

Contact Dr. Christina Colon at christinacolon@hotmail.com
or call 8359-3747

Deadline 31 Jan 2015