Faculty position in Environmental Biology and Biodiversity Studies at NUS

The Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS), invites applications for faculty positions at the junior (tenure-track) or senior level in Environmental Biology and Biodiversity Studies. NUS is a world-class university that is strategically located within a tropical biodiversity hotspot.

Candidates with a strong research background in environmental and biodiversity research and a strong commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate education are invited to apply.

Currently, Singapore has allocated substantial funding for research in aquatic ecosystems, climate change, and the sustainability of urban environments.

Successful applicants will join a growing Environmental Biology group within a diverse Department of Biological Sciences with 60 full-time faculty members and over 300 graduate students from 19 countries. Facilities and research support are world-class and the university (www.nus.edu.sg) and department (www.dbs.nus.edu.sg) are internationally highly regarded. The university offers internationally competitive salary packages in Singapore’s low tax environment.

Interested, strong candidates with PhD and postdoctoral experience should forward a letter of intent describing their career goals, research plans, teaching interests, curriculum vitae and provide the names for at least five referees. Please send the material to:

Chair, Environmental Biology Search Committee
– Professor Rudolf Meier (c/o Ms Lisa Lau),
Department of Biological Sciences,
National University of Singapore,
14 Science Drive 4,
Singapore 117543,
Fax: (65) 6779 5671;
Email: dbsjobs@nus.edu.sg

Closing date of application: 31 January 2012


Friess et al (2011) – “Are all intertidal wetlands naturally created equal?”

Dan Friess (4)

Dan Friess & co. in Ted Webb’s Applied Plant Ecology lab have just authoured a humongous paper which Dan claims is readable for students. I have not decided if I should inflict this on the second year ecology undergrads so let me know what you think.

It’s must for all you mud-loving folk out there. And if you’re in Singapore, Dan is available for questions at one of the campus’ Spinellis, because you all know what a layabout he is!

Congrats Dan and all!

Friess et all, 2011 - Are all intertidal wetlands naturally created equal? Bottlenecks, thresholds and knowledge gaps to mangrove and saltmarsh.pdf (page 1 of 21)

QE: Fragmentation and Land-use Change: Impacts on Tropical Forest Biodiversity (Luke Gibson, 15 Sep 2011: 2.00pm)

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

Fragmentation and Land-use Change: Impacts on Tropical Forest Biodiversity

Speaker: Luke Gibson  (Graduate Student, Dept.of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date: 15 September  2011, Thursday
Time: 2pm
Supervisor: Prof Corlett R T

Forest loss and fragmentation increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for tropical biodiversity.

Using a meta-analysis, I first provide a global assessment of the impact of disturbance and forest conversion on biodiversity in tropical forests. Although there was some variation across geographic regions, taxonomic groups, ecological metrics, and disturbance types, forest degradation and conversion consistently reduced tropical biodiversity. Consequently, the protection of primary forests must represent a top conservation priority. Ongoing forest loss and conversion has also resulted in widespread fragmentation of tropical forest ecosystems, which represents another pressing threat to biodiversity.

In the second component of my research, I will study the impact of fragmentation on mammal communities in a large reservoir in southern Thailand. A previous study documented a crash in small mammal species richness and genetic diversity on islands in the reservoir just 5-7 years following isolation. I will resurvey the same populations to identify further changes in richness and genetic diversity after an additional 20 years of isolation. With this historical comparison, my research can be used to calculate the rates of ecosystem collapse and genetic erosion, which can then be applied to the management of wildlife populations in small isolated nature reserves. I will also survey bats and large mammals and compare the responses of different mammal groups with different dispersal abilities.

Finally, I will examine the ecological role of small mammals as dispersers of mycorrhizal fungi, and the effect of forest fragmentation on this important ecosystem function. These comprehensive studies – covering multiple disturbance types in a global meta-analysis and incorporating the full response and function of mammals in a fragmented forest system – will together provide a broad and detailed understanding of two of the major threats to tropical biodiversity.

Gibson - 2011

Jobs: Two RA positions immediately available in “Enhancing the Urban Native Biodiversity of Singapore” (26 Sep 2011)

Two Research Assistant positions are immediately available for the project “Enhancing the Urban Native Biodiversity of Singapore” under the charge of Associate Professor Hugh Tan, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.

This project seeks to

  • Increase the use of native landscape plants among professionals in the landscape and horticulture industry through publications, creation of the first native plant database, and demonstration landscape plots.
  • Develop appropriate know-how for propagation of native plants and diffuse the knowledge to NParks’ and local nurseries to enable a gradual build-up of native plant stock for landscape use.
  • Develop the know-how to screen and grow native plants in the urban environment for high survivability.
  • Demonstrate the positive ecological benefits of the use of native plants in urban landscapes in Singapore.

Job Scope
The job is a one-year contract research assistant appointment. Candidates are expected to:

  • Write species descriptions of native plants of Singapore that will contribute towards NParks’ Flora and Fauna Web.
  • Conduct propagation and germination experiments for native plants of Singapore.
  • Participate in field work around various locations in Singapore for plant collection.
  • Participate in faunal surveys at various native plants experimental/demonstration plots.
  • Write reports/contribute to publications arising from the project.


  1. Diploma in biotechnology or horticulture, BSc or BSc (Honours) in horticulture, botany, biology, life sciences (majoring in environmental biology or biology) or other related fields.
  2. Experience in horticulture is advantageous or candidates must have interest in cultivating native Singapore plants and botanical field research.
  3. Good writing skills.
  4. IT competent (MS word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Photoshop)
  5. Possession of a Singapore driving license with driving experience of at least a year or more is advantageous.
  6. Candidates who are selected must be willing to work part-time for a trial period of two months to asceratin suitability.

Contact Information
Please contact Mr. Alvin Lok (dbsloks@nus.edu.sg; 65162708) for any enquiries. Interested candidates to email his or her covering letter and an up-to-date curriculum vitae (including the names of three referees) by 26 Sep 2011.

“The Next Generation” at the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III

The first time we organised the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium was in 2003 and many of us rallied to ensure the event a success. Then we partnered NParks in 2007 and four years later, once again, are working together with them to present an array of speakers to inform, enthuse and engage the community.

This time, “The Next Generation” surfaced during early discussion to identify speakers so that becamee the theme of symposium! There will be many new faces to get to know amongst the 21 speakers who will address education, research and management in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems of Singapore. A special session will deliver updates about the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). Two teas during the symposium will set the scene for discussion with each other and with poster presenters.

The Biodiversity Crew are deeply involved, not just as organisers but in contributing speakers at every session. The tone and pace is suitable for the public and students and anyone with an interest in biodiversity in Singapore. It’ll be an event to remember and we’re all looking forward to it.

So see you at the symposium – register by 18th September 2011!

EvoLab continues to colonize the US.

The evolutionary biology lab’s (http://evolution.science.nus.edu.sg) goal of populating US universities is on track. Three of our alumni have now infiltrated the University of Colorado and UC Santa Barbara to join the Evo lab crowd on the East Coast (Gwynne at Cornell and Farhan at Harvard) and West Coast (Guanyang and Weisong UC Riverside). Andie and Gaurav have headed to the Rocky Mountains (University of Colorado at Boulder).

Andie will continue her studies of Asian primates (particularly endangered colobine monkeys of Southeast Asia) with Prof Herbert Covert at the Department of Anthropology. She’s looking forward to studying their ecology and behavior, hoping to find ways to preserve these adorable monkeys in the wild.

Gaurav Vaidya is joining Prof Robert Guralnick at the Department of Ecology and Evolution to work on biodiversity informatics. His first task will be to work on the Map of Life project, an ambitious plan to combine individual expert range maps to create a single integrated map of species from around the world. Apart from making it much easier to find out where species can be found, this project will create a platform to easily search for, model, download and summarize species distribution maps.

Our West Coast’s pioneer community will be strengthened by the arrival of Shengrong, who is just settling at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is undertaking a Masters in Environmetal Science and Management.

Congratulations! Now one doesn’t have to travel to Singapore in order to see the bunch of aging lab-members!

Job: NParks is recruiting a Senior Biodiversity Officer

Judging from the last 2 posts, ’tis the season to be hiring!

NParks is recruiting a senior biodiversity officer.

Job scope

The Coastal and Marine Environment (CME) Section aims to provide Singapore with a strong basis to adopt a proactive, balanced and forward-planning approach to CME-related policy, management, and research-direction issues, consistent with its long-term economic and sustainable development goals. This is part of the National Parks Board’s (NParks) commitment to an inter-agency initiative to strengthen Singapore’s capacity in areas related to the coastal and marine environment and to the conservation of Singapore’s marine biodiversity.

Our interdisciplinary team undertakes a broad range of technical projects, including ecology & the environment, coastal dynamics, legislation & regulations, and other technical areas of coastal and marine environment concern. An external committee of domain experts provides advice on these projects. Publication of results and policy recommendations for the management of the coastal and marine environment are key deliverables of the team. Team members are expected to work collaboratively with each other, and with counterparts working in related areas within NParks and other agencies.

Key roles:

  • Primarily responsible for the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity with a strong focus on the conservation of mangrove habitats.
  • Other responsibilities will be to provide inputs to development projects, be involved in field surveys, monitor other coastal and marine habitats and manage related scientific projects.

The Senior Biodiversity Officer will join a team of officers who manage technical projects, monitor key issues, and support the day-to-day operations related to the goals of the CME Section. Preparation of reports and formulation of coastal and marine conservation policy will be key deliverables; supporting the team in the organization of technical meetings and conferences is also part of the scope of this position.


  • Degree from a recognized university and at least 3 years of work experience.
  • Successful applicants will have at minimum a first degree in a relevant discipline.
  • At least one year work experience in ecology, environmental management, and nature conservation will be a strong advantage.
  • Field experience in mangroves coupled with a working knowledge of conservation and management issues of mangrove habitats will be a strong advantage.
  • More experienced and qualified applicants may be considered for, and given more management-level responsibilities.
  • Applicants must have an excellent command of spoken and written English and be able to analyse issues from a broad-based strategic perspective.
  • Possession of a Class 3 license and diving certification is preferred.
  • Demonstrated keen interest and passion in environmental conservation.
Application ends Wednesday, 7 September 2011.
Apply here.

Job: Research Assistant for Genotyping Mangrove Plants

The Applied Plant Ecology Lab has an immediate position open for a Research Assistant (RA).

Job scope

Successful candidate will perform or assist in the genotyping of mangrove plants from Malay Peninsula and beyond. This project is part of a biogeographical study to understand gene flow in mangroves.


  • Diploma or BSc degree with major in Biology
  • Relevant work experience in laboratory is an advantage
  • Must have a sound knowledge in molecular biology
  • Meticulous, resourceful and highly motivated
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

For any enquiries, please email ted.webb@nus.edu.sg or kswee@nus.edu.sg

Interested candidates are to send in their CV and two recommendation letters to:
Assist. Prof Edward Webb
National University of Singapore
Department of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543