New sepsids from Vietnam – three new species and two new records in Zookeys

Yu Chen announced a paper he and his supervisor Rudolf Meier just published in Zookeys: Ang Y, Meier R (2010) Five additions to the list of Sepsidae (Diptera) for Vietnam: Perochaeta cuirassa sp. n., Perochaeta lobo sp. n., Sepsis spura sp. n., Sepsis sepsi Ozerov, 2003 and Sepsis monostigma Thompson, 1869. ZooKeys 70 :
41– 56. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.70.766

Perochaeta cuirassa: 1 4th sternite, ventral
Gotta love those fourth sternites!
one of the drawings Yu Chen has been labouring over


Of the journal, Yu Chen remarked,

“check out the Zookeys journal – ISI covered, open access, decent image reproduction. Authorship fees ca 150 euros per paper – not too shabby! Plus point, its FAST as hell to publish in there – If you are speedy about it, it takes maximum two weeks from review to being published – I submitted my proof on Friday night and it got published last night at 1am!”

­­­Five additions to the list of Sepsidae (Diptera) for Vietnam: Perochaeta cuirassa sp. n., Perochaeta lobo sp. n., Sepsis spura sp. n., Sepsis sepsi Ozerov, 2003 and Sepsis monostigma Thompson, 1869. - Pensoft

Job opening (NUS): Instructor/Lecturer in Environmental Biology (deadline 15 Jan 2011)

Instructor/Lecturer in Environmental Biology @ Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Application Deadline: 15 Jan 2011


The Department of Biological Sciences at NUS invites applications for two, full-time, 3-year, non-tenure, teaching track positions at the Instructor/Lecturer level in Environmental Biology.

Candidates should have a Ph.D., a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, and a broad interest in regional environmental issues. Relevant postdoctoral research experience and a good publication record will be advantageous. Please visit our website at for further details of the Department and its teaching programs.

We are looking for candidates who can start in April-May 2011, although other start dates may be negotiable.

Interested candidates should email a CV and a cover letter, describing their career goals and teaching interests, and giving the names and addresses of four academic referees to:

Environmental Biology Teaching Track Search Committee,
Department of Biological Sciences,
National University of Singapore,
14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543

Closing date for application: 15 January 2011

Job opening (NUS): Full-time Teaching Assistant (deadline 10 Dec 2010)

Full-time Teaching Assistant (FTTA) for Life Sciences Undergraduate Courses @ Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Application Deadline: 10 Dec 2010

The Department of Biological Sciences is inviting applications for the posts of Full-Time Teaching Assistant (FTTA) in Life Sciences undergraduate courses, in the field of Biodiversity and Ecology.

Candidates should preferably possess an Honours Degree but exceptions may be made for degree holders with relevant expertise and industrial experience. Fresh graduates with Honours Degree are welcome to apply.

The FTTA will be working as a team with professors, laboratory officers and teaching assistants to achieve holistic goals for student education in NUS. The FTTA must be reasonably competent with data management and administration, comfortably manage and consult peers, appreciate student issues and be passionate about teaching and field work.

The specific duties of the FTTA include:

  • oversee biodiversity and ecology modules;
  • recruit, manage and train part-time TAs;
  • oversee the schedule of field trips and/or laboratory practical sessions;
  • manage and mark continual assessments;
  • manage student marks databases; and
  • handle student queries.

The appointment will commence in January 2011. This appointment is a 1-year contract which is renewable based on performance.

Interested candidates are invited to apply with cover letter and detailed curriculum vitae, together with letters from three referees by Friday 10th Dec 2010 to:

Lim Miah Kyan (Mr.)
Life Sciences Undergraduate Program
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore
Block S3 Level 5, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543

Evolab says “Congrats Denise and Shiyang!”

During the annual Faculty of Science Awards ceremony, Evolab was pleased to see Denise Tan and Kwong Shiyang awarded Teaching Assistant Awards, thus continuing lab tradition of winning teaching awards! This is well deserved for their efforts in grilling in evolutionary biology concepts into students! 

The laminated certificate is just half of the prize; we are beginning the process of persuading the award winners to contribute a part of their cash prize to our goodies fund!

Members of Evolab also congratulate all the winners of the Teaching Awards from the crew!

Part-time TAs recognised at the Faculty of Science Award Ceremony 2010

The Part-Time Teaching Assistants (PTTAs) play a critical role in undergraduate education. Biodiversity and ecology classes are usually broken down during laboratory and field practical sessions into small groups led by PTTAs in ratios ranging from 1:10 to 1:13. The TAs engage students in content and discussion, may instruct students in writing and oral skills as well and along the way share with students their research experience and expose them to wider issues. These small group sessions constitutes the largest amount of face to face academic interaction which most undergraduates will experience during their time in NUS.

So we are pleased when PTTAs are recognised for their teaching efforts. With two away in the field, four of our Biodiversity Crew (photos below) marched up to receive their awards from the Dean of Science, Prof Andrew Wee, at the Faculty Awards Ceremony on 18th November 2010.

We extend our heartiest congratulations to these biodiversity TAs who were recognised for their excellent performance in part-time teaching. They were amongst the twenty-two in the faculty who were similarly recognised for the academic year 2009/2010.

Biodiversity Crew winners of the Teaching Assistant (Part-time) Award, AY2009/2010

  1. Chua Aik Hwee, Marcus
  2. Kwik Teik Beng, Jeffrey
  3. Kwong Shiyang
  4. Ng Yi Hui, Eunice
  5. Jacob Wesley Phelps
  6. Tan Siew Hoong, Denise

The other biodiversity crew award winners were listed on Raffles Museum News earlier.

Faculty of Science Awards 2010 - Eunice Ng
Eunice Ng

Faculty of Science Awards 2010 - Denise Tan
Denise Tan

Faculty of Science Awards 2010 - Kwong Shiyang
Kwong Shiyang

Jacob Phelps

Thanks to Faculty of Science for the photos by Tan Kai Seng, Leong Siew Loon and James Wee.

Virgins No More

Graduate students Nguyen Thanh Son and Robert Lasley Jr of the Systematics and Ecology Lab have published their first crab papers in the cruel, hard academic world.

Son and Rob looking pretty!

Robert Lasley Jr described two new species of crabs, Guitonia leimomi from Hawaii and G. paulayi from Guam with JC Mendoza and Prof Peter Ng in Zootaxa 2684: 1-13.

G. leimomi gets its name from the rows of conjoined granules on the carapace which resembles a pearl necklace (Hawaiian: lei = necklace, momi = pearl).

Guitonia leimomi (A & B) and G. paulayi (C & D). The boxed areas show the prominent granules on the carapace of G. leimomi. (photos by Rob)

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Son described a new genus of the family Portunidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) and the identity of Portunus (Cycloachelousyoronensis Sakai, 1974 with Prof Peter Ng in Zootaxa 2677: 38-48. Unique to portunids, adult males of this species have unique deep depressions in the sterno-abdominal cavity to accommodate the male reproductive parts. In this paper, Nguyen & Ng synonymise Portunus yoronensis to Cavoportunus dubius.

Exposed abdominal flap reveals male reproductive parts
of Cavoportunus dubius. (Photo by Son)

Congrats lads!

[The title of this post was suggested by Prof Peter Ng, the enthusiastic co-author of these two carcinologists while he was stuffing himself over lunch with fish head curry.]

Trina Chua says of 1st year, “I was not prepared for such a stressful education in university.”

“Looking back at Year 1”
by Trina Chua,
Honours Class, 2009/10

“When I think of Year 1, I think of stress, stress and more stress. It has not changed much over the past three years but one thing has definitely changed – how I handle the stress.

Unlike many of my university peers, I did not take the conventional route of going to Junior College after my O Levels and then continuing to university. Instead I graduated from polytechnic and optimistically started the first day of school in NUS in August 2006. Optimism slowly faded away during the first lecture! The words in the lecture notes looked like Arabic to me and everything just seemed so new although the lecturer re-iterated during class that ‘all of you should already know this since you’ve studied it in JC’.

I started to panic. Not a day passed without me worrying about the various modules. The only thing that made me feel just slightly better was the fact that I was not alone. My friends in NUS and other universities were as stressed about school work as I was and in one extreme case, a friend quit university! Similar thoughts crept into my mind but I told myself to go on…you’ll get used to it!

My parents started to worry about me when they saw me taking one too many snoozes on the study table and looking weary too often. Basically, I was not prepared for such a stressful education in university.

But before I knew it, there I was, enjoying my Honours year, and grateful for not giving up in the first year. Honestly, it becomes wayyyyyyyy better after you pass the first year mark as you’ll get used to it! First year is the time when you adjust to the new environment and find out which is the best way for you to excel in your studies! Get yourself involved in extra-curricular activities to give yourself a break from work or you will just burn out.

Most importantly, although grades are very important, enjoy your university life!”

Facebook | Photos of Trina Chua
Trina Chua rescuing horseshoe crabs @ Mandai Besar mudflat, 07 Sep 2010

Trina did research work with mudskippers in her 3rd year, spiders in her honours year, played squash for NUS and after participating in several mangrove cleanups, became a Site Captain with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore this year.