Job: Research Associate/Assistant in Coastal Ecosystem Assessment (NUS Geography, 15 Aug 2020 – 30 Jun 2021)

Research Associate/Assistant in Coastal Ecosystem Assessment
In the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC), Asian School of the Environment, and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

The Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore (NUS), in collaboration with the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) and Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) invite applications for up to 2 Research Associates/Assistants in coastal ecosystem assessment, to begin on 15th Aug 2020 or soon thereafter. The position will run until 30th June 2021. The successful applicant will be part of a multi-million dollar project on the topic of ‘A Natural Capital Assessment for Singapore’ (

The Research Associates/Assistants will conduct data analysis to determine trends in the health of Singapore’s coastal and marine environment and the ecosystem services it provides. This will involve the compilation of several existing temporal and spatial datasets, and modelling of coastal ecosystem services using software such as R and/or ArcGIS. S/he will also provide assistance to other ongoing projects, including field data collection, laboratory soil analysis and literature review.

S/he will have knowledge of tropical coastal ecosystems and the ecosystem services concept, and will have strong quantitative analysis skills. S/he will work closely with project staff, as well as the PIs to ensure the requirements of the project work plan are met.

Job responsibilities:

  • Compilation of management of spatial, ecological and social datasets related to Singapore’s coastal and marine environment
  • Data processing and modelling in both R and ArcGIS
  • Assistance with field data collection in mangroves, seagrasses and beaches
  • Report to and work with the principal investigator and assigned project staff
  • Any other ad-hoc duties as assigned by the principal investigator

Required Skills:

  • Undergraduate degree (second upper or higher) in Geography, Environmental Science, Life Sciences or related fields (for position at the Research Assistant level)
  • Strong skills in coding, data processing and analysis using R
  • Experience with Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Highly organized and proactive
  • Ability to work independently and meet deadlines
  • Positive working attitude, both in a team and independently

Desired Skills:

  • A Masters degree in Geography, Environmental Science, Life Sciences or related fields (for position at the Research Associate level)
  • Experience with other data analysis software (e.g., Matlab, SPSS or Python)
  • Experience with statistical data analysis techniques (e.g., ANOVA, PCA, Regression)
  • Experience with basic laboratory techniques such as sediment grain size analysis and carbon estimation
  • Excellent data management and analysis skills

The overall aim of the project is to quantify the economic, social, and cultural value of Singapore’s environmental assets (its ‘Natural Capital’), and present and model the information in such a way that it can inform future policy and urban development. To protect and enhance natural capital in Singapore and secure the long-term foundational benefits from this capital, we need to understand the current status of Singapore’s ecosystems, and develop tools to predict the environmental impacts of future urbanization. This will be achieved by: 1. quantifying the current status of Singapore’s terrestrial and coastal-marine ecosystems 2. quantifying the value of Singapore’s terrestrial and coastal/marine ecosystems to Society. 3. assessing tradeoffs between urban development (urban assets) and natural capital (natural assets) 4. assessing future policy and development opportunities that integrate natural capital

The QS World University rankings place NUS in the top 15 universities in the world and number one in Asia. In the same rankings the Department of Geography is generally ranked among the top 10 Geography programmes globally. Further information on the Department is available at:

Young and research-intensive, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is ranked 13th globally and 1st amongst the world’s best young universities. The Asian School of the Environment is home to Environmental Sciences at NTU. Our aim is to provide the next generation of Geoscientists, Ecologists and Environmental Sociologists with the training they need to succeed in their chosen career. For more information, please visit:

The Singapore-ETH Centre was established in 2010 by ETH Zurich and Singapore’s National Research Foundation, as part of its CREATE campus. The vibrant hub for research aims to provide practical solutions to some of the most pressing problems through its programmes – Future Cities Laboratory and Future Resilient Systems.


  • The appointment will be tenable until 30th June 2021
  • The position comes with competitive remuneration
  • Singapore citizens and permanent residents are eligible for provident fund benefits

Interested scholars should submit i) a letter of interest, ii) a Curriculum Vitae and iii) the contact details for two references via email to by 5pm 10th July 2020: Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed over Zoom.

For further information on the project contact Dr. Dan Friess ( or Dr. Natasha Bhatia (

Job (Closed): Full-Time Teaching Assistant for undergraduate zoology modules (6 months)

SGUnited Teaching Apprentice Job Description
Job Title: Full-time Teaching Assistant

Job description: The FTTA will be working with a team with professors and laboratory officers to achieve holistic goals for undergraduate education in NUS. The FTTA must possess familiarity with administration and data management, be digitally competent, be consultative and exhibit leadership with peers, understand undergraduate student issues, be communicative and a team player and be passionate about teaching. The applicant will be a teaching staff in the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore for six months.

The modules that the staff will be teaching and/or handling the administrative duties of the following zoology modules –

  • LSM2251 Ecology and the Environment
  • LSM2252 Biodiversity
  • LSM3254 Ecology of Aquatic Environments
  • GES1021 Natural Heritage of Singapore

The responsibilities of the FTTA include:

  1. Teaching undergraduates in Biodiversity and Ecology modules
  2. Manage communication and administrative needs of modules
  3. Recruit, train and supervise part-time teaching assistants
  4. Oversee scheduling of field trips and laboratory practical sessions
  5. Undertake and manage all students’ assessments
  6. Initiate improvements to management and pedagogy with advice and support from module coordinators

Basic qualifications:

  1. A Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident
  2. Graduating in 2020 or have graduated in 2019
  3. A Bachelor (Honors) Degree in Zoology, Life Sciences or Environmental Studies or in a relevant field; field related experience is desirable
  4. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom and Google Docs.

For more details, please see the SGUnited job description here:

To apply for this position, go to the NUS Department of Biological Sciences website > Jobs in DBS to apply. Deadline is 17 June 2020, Wed.

Job: Full-Time Teaching Assistant for undergraduate Botany modules (6 months) [expired]

SGUnited Teaching Apprentice Job Description
Job Title: Full-time Teaching Assistant

Job Description: This position is within the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore. This Teaching Assistant position is for two modules:

  • LSM3256 Tropical Horticulture
  • LSM3258 Comparative Botany

The Teaching Assistant will help run the following activities

  • Laboratory practical sessions,
  • Field trip practical sessions,
  • Mentor mini-project tasks for Continuous Assessments
  • Evaluate reports and invigilate tests
  • Manage  safety of the class during field trips

Basic qualifications: Bachelor (Honors) Degree in Botany, Horticulture, Life Sciences or
Environmental Studies or in a relevant field.

For more details, please see the SGUnited job description here: SGUnited JD_Tg Apprentice for LSM3258 and LSM3256 AC.pdf

Visit NUS Talent Connect to apply.

FTTA Botany

Fri 8th May 2020: 4.00pm #SGSTEM2 (Zoom chat) – “Otters of Singapore” with Sivasothi aka Otterman

Learn about that recent Circuit Breaker sighting of a smooth-coated otter family in the heart of Singapore at Little India, and more about the origins and ecology of Singapore’s otters.

Register at: – come with questions for a conversation; it’s not a lecture!

Ref: “Family of otters frolicking outside Mustafa Centre is looking for a permanent home,” by Vanessa Liu. The Straits Times, 24 Apr 2020

Friday 1st May 2020: 4.00pm on Zoom – #SGSTEM No. 1 with Prof Koh Lian Pin, NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions

Hello, everyone! We just welcomed Koh Lian Pin to the department on Earth Day and now he will be online for a dialogue before his physical lab is even setup. Lian Pin assume the appointment of Professor of Conservation Science, Technology and Policy at NUS Biological Sciences on 1 April 2020 [link].

Kannan Raja & Marcus Chua are Singaporean graduate students from Bangor and GMU, and while back in Singapore have decided to host a series of web #SGSTEM talk & trivia sessions this #CircuitBreaker. Thanks guys!

So they begin with Lian Pin and you can join the session by registering at for the Zoom details.

Come with questions and see you on May Day!


[Temp Job] Junior Casual Research Assistant (apply by 31 Jan 2020)

Junior Casual Research Assistant for NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project
2 months position; apply by 31 Jan 2020

The Research Assistant will assist in the NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project and primarily involve data compilation.

Job requirements:

  1. Minimum ‘A’ level Biology
  2. Familiar with the use of Microsoft Excel and Word.
  3. Strong written, communication, and oral skills.
  4. Meticulous, good organizational skills and able to focus on detail.
  5. Self-motivated and able to work independently.
  6. Must possess a personal laptop.

Desirable – have some knowledge of marine debris and local environmental efforts.

This is a part-time position, with hourly pay dependent upon qualifications and experience.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Ms Joleen Chan (NUS Department of Biological Sciences) at Shortlisted applicants will be notified for interview by early Feb 2020.

Tue 12 Nov 2019 4.00 pm – Amy Aritsara on “In pursuit of the heteroxyly hypothesis: Sharing tasks between xylem tissues for performance implementation”

In pursuit of the heteroxyly hypothesis: Sharing tasks between xylem tissues for performance implementation

amy aritsara talk

Speaker: Aritsara Amy Ny Aina (College of Forestry, Guangxi University, China)
Date/Time: Tue, 12 Nov 2019, 4 pm
Venue: DBS Conference Room 1 (Block S3 Level 5)

Growing skywards implies that trees have to deal with different kinds of constraints: mechanical support, water transport, resource storage, etc. The heteroxyly hypothesis states that sharing those functions among specialized tissues is more efficient than multifunctional tissues. My study mainly focuses on xylem parenchyma and its contribution to plant hydraulic safety and efficiency. In palms, the ground parenchyma, with its high storage capacity, is vital for the plant to escape from the constraints due to the theoretical vessel tapering and to optimize their water transport efficiency. In basal angiosperms, the axial parenchyma has been believed to hold space and to use large amounts of resources for maintenance, hence trading-off with hydraulic efficiency and safety. However, our findings suggest that it coordinates with the optimization of water transport. In the new era of changing climates, would a xylem with more parenchyma tissue guarantee higher survivorship against environmental stochasticity?

All are welcome.

Thursday 7 Nov 2019 9.30 am [Qualifying Exam] – Sean Yap on “Reproductive evolution of dung beetles in Southeast Asia”

Speaker: Sean Yap (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date/Time: Thursday, 7 November 2019: 9.30am
Venue: S3-05-02, DBS Conference Room (S3 Level 5)
Supervisor : Dr Nalini Puniamoorthy

Southeast Asia is biodiversity rich, but the role of reproductive isolation via mechanisms of sexual selection remains largely unexplored. Here, we aim to investigate the potential role of sexual selection in reproductive diversification of dung beetles in SEA.

Dung beetles are an incredibly species rich group and provide key ecosystem services in forested and agricultural communities. Globally, these insects are excellent models to investigate speciation by sexual selection because most species and even populations might exhibit stark differences in pre- and postcopulatory sexual traits. However, little is known about reproductive diversification of dung beetles in SEA. There are incomplete records on regional biodiversity and little to no information about genetic structure among widespread populations and morphological variation within species, especially with respect to traits that might establish reproductive barriers to gene flow.

Thus, this research aims to address four complementary research questions to study reproductive evolution in local and regional dung beetle fauna, focusing on two main genera, Onthophagus and Catharsius:

  1. What are the morphological and molecular estimates of dung beetle biodiversity in the region?
  2. Is postcopulatory sexual selection driving incipient speciation in the Catharsius molossus species complex?
  3. Do widespread populations of Onthophagus species differ in sexual selection across SEA?
  4. Does nematode diversity and load increase with the intensity of sexual selection across species and populations?

All are welcome.

Fri 8 Nov 2019: 9.00 am [PhD Defense] – Lam Weng Ngai on “Nepenthes: A Model System for the Study of Resource-Mediated Interspecific Interactions”

Nepenthes: A Model System for the Study of Resource-Mediated Interspecific Interactions

weng ngai defense

Speaker: Lam Weng Ngai (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date/Time: Friday, 8 November 2019: 9.00am
Venue: S3-05-02, DBS Conference Room (S3 Level 5)
Supervisor: A/P Tan Tiang Wah, Hugh

Carnivorous pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes bear modified leaves which employ pitfall trap-type mechanisms to capture and digest invertebrate prey. Nutrients obtained from these prey allow Nepenthes to survive in environments that are deficient in these resources. The fluid-filled traps of Nepenthes are also habitats for specialized aquatic organisms known as inquilines, which have been shown to facilitate prey carcass breakdown and thus nutrient sequestration in Nepenthes pitchers.

In this thesis, I use Nepenthes pitcher plants as a model to investigate key topics in ecology relating to interspecific interactions, namely coexistence, facilitation and context dependency.

My thesis is divided into two sections. The first investigates resource-based interactions within this diverse plant genus—specifically, resource competition and facilitation between Nepenthes species—and establishes the key premise of prey resource limitation in Nepenthes species.

The second conditions upon this established premise, but focuses instead on the resource-mediated interactions between the Nepenthes host and its inquilines. Findings of the second section lead me to postulate a previously unexplored mechanism behind resource-mediated positive species interactions.

In the final chapter of the thesis, I investigate this mechanism by formulating a generalizable, consumer-resource type model of what I term as “resource conversion interactions”. Predictions of this model are compared with earlier empirical findings, and synthesis across the whole thesis is attempted.

All are welcome.