Fri 05 Feb 2010: 4pm @ NUS LT20 – Tso on “Factors shaping the color-associated foraging traits of Araneae sit-and-wait predators”

Click to read the pdf file:


Weiting’s civet surveys – The Straits Times (Nov 2009) and continued work

I am playing a bit of catchup here – Systematics & Ecology Lab’s Honours student Xu Weiting’s research with civets in Siglap was featured in The Straits Times in November last year: “The great ‘musang’ stakeout,” by Ang Yiying. The Straits Times, 30 Nov 2009. The aim: To observe the Toddy Cat’s population size and habits. [pdf1pdf2]

At the time, Wild Singapore carried the news – link. Some of her honours classmates accompanied her on the survey and you can see them in the larger pdfs of the newspaper pages – just click the images below:

Civetgirl Weiting is still surveying Siglap and she has since seen civets in the day time too., demonstrating that persistence pays off in mammal work. Here she is looking very civet-like during one of our meetings!

This is a photo she obtained of one of the lovely wild carnivores of Singapore – we liked it so much, we use it for the sidebar thumbnail image for the link to mammal records entry on Habitatnews! If you wish to follow her on her night surveys, email her at

Ang Yi Ying previously wrote about Marcus honours year project that discovered mousedeer populations on Pulau Ubin – link.

Welcome Érica Sena, Full-Time Teaching Assistant

A warm welcome to Érica Sena Neves, the new Full-Time Teaching Assistant to the Biodiversity Crew. She was hired by the department to manage biodiversity modules and joins us next week, after an early drop in to an IVLE Workshop today.

In her first semester, will manage and teach in LSM1303 Animal Behaviour and LSM2251 Ecology and the Environment and help out with one or two other modules. Originally from Brasil, she has a background in animal ecology and behaviour and is enthusiastic about getting started!

Érica says,

“I am an animal enthusiast since my very first memories. I grew up surrounded by animals and  was always thrilled to understand their behavior; which is why I decided to be a biologist. I have worked with animals all through my academic life, mostly on the behavioral & ecological aspects.

There is a passage in The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins that is just immaculate and illustrates perfectly how I feel: “There is a better reason for studying zoology than its possible usefulness, and the general likeableness of animals. This reason is that we animals are the most complicated and perfectly designed pieces of machinery in the known universe. Put it like that, and it is hard to see why anybody studies anything else!”

Biod Grad Students at Chulalongkorn University, Dec 2009

The 14th Biological Sciences Graduate Congress was hosted by the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand in December 2009. The NUS Biodiversity Crew was represented by these six graduates: four oral presentations and two poster presentations:

  • Alison Wee (Applied Plant Ecology Lab) – Effects of fragmentation on gene flow in mangroves.
  • Chow Kwek Yan (Plant Lab) – Family composition and life form changes with extinctions, introductions, and cultivation in the total vascular flora of Singapore.
  • Nanthinee Jeevanandam (Terrestrial Ecology Lab) – Phenology of dioecious figs in Singapore.
  • Nghiem Thi Phuong Le (Terrestrial Ecology Lab) – Invasive trees in Singapore.
  • Toh Kok Ben (Marine Lab) – Camouflage and background matching: How good does the match have to be? Testing the background of prey and background spot size.
  • Tran Thi Minh Hang (Marine Lab) – Toward a national integrated coastal management policy for Vietnam.

L-R, Front row – Alison Wee (Applied Plant Ecology Lab), Nanthinee Jeevanandam (Terrestrial Ecology Lab), and Tran Hang (Marine Lab); L-R, Back Row- Chow Kwek Yan (Plant Lab), Nghiem Le (Terrestrial Ecology Lab), and Toh Kok Ben (Marine Lab)

The BioD group did well, with Nanthinee clinching the Best Oral Presenter Award for Biodiversity. The only two other awards up for grabs were for the Biodiversity Poster presentations and these went to Alison and Ben. Congratulations all of you!

Nanthinee reports.

“The congress was a beneficial experience with lots of feedback and questions during presentations by fellow graduates from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It was a good opportunity to meet and network with fellow graduate students in similar areas of research.

Chulalongkorn’s hospitality and organization was exemplary! I recommend this experience to my fellow graduate students, so look out for news of the 2010 graduate congress, to be hosted by the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur next December!”

The award winners: Ben, Alison and Nanthinee

TAs for 2009/10 sem 2 modules

Hi grad students,

TAs are required for the following modules:

  • LSM1103 Biodiversity – Fridays 2pm-6pm; 24 hours/session (two sessions max)
    • Kent Ridge
    • Plant Diversity (lab)
    • Animal Diversity (lab)
    • Changi Beach
    • Singapore Zoo
  • LSM2251 Ecology and the Environment – Thursdays, 10am-12pm; 24 hours/session (two sessions max).
    • Maps & Google Earth (lab)
    • Field Trip prep
    • Labrador Rocky Shore (Mon evening)
    • Report debrief/Ubin prep
    • Pulau Ubin (Sat morning)
    • Ubin report consultation
  • LSM1303 Animal Behaviour – Mondays, 14 hours/session (two sessions max).
    • Consultation, 1 hour face to face/2 hours by email.
    • Presentation (your group), 2 hours (evaluation)
    • Presentation (one other group), 2 hours (evaluation)
    • Extinction Game, 2 hours (facilitation)
    • Marking – symposium abstract, report, blog, 5 hours.

Please email FTTA JC Mendoza at or Sivasothi at if you are able to TA for these modules. Also welcome are marking specialists – submissions are all electronic, so this is possible even if you are overseas for a semester with compulsory hours to clear.