Looking for gravid females

A bunch of students from Ecolab accompanied honours student Joanne Khew (in blue) on her field trip to catch a female gravid tree-climbing crab, Episesarma sp. It was a pleasant morning’s field trip to get a glimpse of the crab’s behaviour.

They used the typically “high-tech” equipment to get the job done and two individuals were brought back to the department aquarium. Joanne will be observing the larvae when they hatch.


New Book: Decapod Crustacean Phylogenetics

A new book, Decapod Crustacean Phylogenetics includes two chapters co-written by Peter Ng with contributions by many familiar friends of the Systematics & Ecology Lab.

decapod crustacean phylogenetics

The book blurb reads,

“Decapod crustaceans are of tremendous interest and importance evolutionarily, ecologically, and economically. There is no shortage of publications reflecting the wide variety of ideas and hypotheses concerning decapod phylogeny, but until recently, the world’s leading decapodologists had never assembled to elucidate and discuss relationships among the major decapod lineages and between decapods and other crustaceans.

Based on the findings presented by an international group of scientists at a symposium supported by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, The Crustacean Society, and several other societies, and with major funding from the National Science Foundation, Decapod Crustacean Phylogenetics provides a comprehensive synopsis of the current knowledge of this vast and important group of animals.

This volume contains state-of-the-art reviews of literature and methodologies for elucidating decapod phylogeny. The contributions include studies on the fossil origin of decapods, morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses, the evolution of mating and its bearing on phylogeny, decapod evo-devo studies, decapod spermiocladistics, and phylogenetic inference.

The experts also present research on preliminary attempts to construct the first known phylogenetic tree for various groups of decapods. Several contributions offer the most comprehensive analyses to date on major clades of decapods, and others introduce data or approaches that could be used in the future to help resolve the phylogeny of the Decapoda.

Currently, the Decapoda contain an estimated 15,000 species, some of which support seafood and marine industries worth billions of dollars each year to the world’s economy. This volume is a fascinating overview of where we are currently in our understanding of these important creatures and their phylogeny and also provides a window into the future of decapod research. This work will be of great interest to researchers, instructors, and students in marine biology, evolutionary biology, crustacean biology, resource management, and biodiversity database management.”

Fri 18 Sep 2009: 7pm @ NUS DBS Conference Room – Reuben Clements asks “Is there hope for rhinos, elephants and tigers in Malaysia?”

“Trio under threat: Is there hope for Rhinos, Elephants and Tigers in Malaysia?”

By Reuben Clements
Species Conservation Manager

Friday, 18 Sep 2009: 7.00pm
This will be a talk, Q&A and discussion session.

Venue: Conference Room
Block S3, Level 5 (next to the general office),
Department of Biological Sciences,
National University of Singapore.

Please let me know you are coming:

Register at http://tinyurl.com/bejc-19sep2009

Host: N. Sivasothi

Abstract – “Three of Malaysia’s charismatic large mammal species are experiencing diverging fates.

Populations of the Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) have been decimated by chronic hunting and loss of lowland forests to the point costly management interventions are being developed to prevent its extinction.

Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) populations appear to be stable and even increasing in some areas. However, escalating levels of human-elephant conflict due to land conversion will eventually threaten their long-term survival.

The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris) is at a crossroads – the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia was recently initiated by the federal government to double the current wild population by 2020. However, this can only happen if illegal hunting of both tiger and prey species in important tiger habitats is arrested as soon as possible.

Reuben will discuss these threats and associated scientific, management and policy challenges. He will also highlight recent conservation initiatives (e.g., the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary, Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers) that can help secure the future of these species in Malaysia, as well as other range states within Southeast Asia.”

About the speaker – Reuben Clements completed his BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees with the Department of Biological Sciences in 2007, publishing 14 scientific papers on animal behaviour, biogeography, conservation science, ecology and systematics. A member of with the IUCN/SSC Mollusc Specialist Group and IUCN Cave and Karst Task Force, he has reviewed papers for Animal Conservation, Biological Conservation and Journal of Biogeography and his work has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, Nature, CNN and the Straits Times and of course, this blog!

As a student he volunteered with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore programme and participated in salvage operations on Pulau Ular and Tanjung Chek Jawa, Singapore.

He joined WWF-Malaysia in late 2007, where as Species Conservation Manager, he manages the Malayan tiger and the Sumatran rhinoceros projects in Peninsular Malaysia. His team implements activities involving large mammal monitoring, identification of ecological linkages, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, anti-poaching and community outreach.

His journey in conservation started locally and went regional under the mentorship of his professors in NUS, Li Daiqin, Peter Ng and Navjot Sodhi and shaped by his volunteer activities on the ground in Singapore.

DBS 60th anniversary lecture series

All lectures @ LT 31: 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Abstracts and registration at the DBS 60th Anniversary Webpage – link.

Tues, 18 August 2009

  • Prof. Paul Matsudaira – ‘Movement is Life’
  • Prof. Leo Tan – ‘Confessions of a Nature Addict’

Tues, 1 September 2009

  • Assoc. Prof. Hugh Tan – ‘Cultivating the Native Plants of Singapore’
  • Dr. Chew Fook Tim – ‘Your Sweat: Wound Healer, Virus Inhibitor and Bacteria Killer’

Tues, 15 September 2009

  • Prof. Richard Corlett – ‘Plants on the Move: Seed Dispersal and Climate Change’
  • Assoc. Prof. Lim Tit Meng – ‘Programmed Cell Death: What Happens When the Programme Fails?’

Tues, 29 September 2009

  • Adj Assoc. Prof. Stella Tan – ‘CSI: NUS – Forensic Science and the Law.’
  • Prof. Peter Ng – ‘Climate Change and Marine Biodiversity – Lessons from a Small Red Dot’