QE: Toh Tai Chong on “The use of sexually propagated scleractinian corals for reef restoration”

DBS Qualifying Exam

“The use of sexually propagated scleractinian corals for reef restoration,”

Toh Tai Chongby Toh Tai Chong
Graduate Student
Marine Biology Lab
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

Wednesday, 30th Nov 2011: 4.00pm

Seminar Room 1 (Block S2, Level 4)
Department of Biological Sciences
Map: http://tinyurl.com/map-nusdbs

Supervisors: Prof Chou Loke Ming & Dr James R Guest

Abstract – Coral reefs are one of the most productive ecosystems, providing $375 billion in ecosystem goods and services for over 500 million people globally. However, increasing anthropogenic pressures coupled with global climate change have resulted in rapid degradation of coral reefs. While active restoration efforts can hasten the recovery process, the science underlying reef restoration is still in its infancy. Recent developments in reef restoration have explored the use of sexually propagated scleractinian corals, but most studies were limited to small-scale experiments. Hence, this study aims to assess and improve the feasibility of this technique for reef restoration.

In the first part of the study, two species of massive corals were reared from larvae and transplanted to reefs in Bolinao, Northwestern Philippines. The technical and economic feasibility of this technique will be evaluated through ongoing monitoring efforts and cost-effective analysis. The second aspect aims to increase the post settlement survivorship of corals by examining the effects of co-rearing Pocilliopora damicornis recruits with two grazers, Salmacis sphaeroides and Trochus maculatus ex situ, to limit the proliferation of fouling algae. Future studies will involve the feeding of juvenile Pocillopora damicornis corals with live Artemia salina nauplii, to examine the effects of inducing initial growth spurts on pre- and post- transplantation survivorship of the corals.

Results from this study will fill key knowledge gaps in coral biology and enhance the feasibility of applying larval rearing techniques to large-scale reef restoration efforts.

coral reef plugs

Wired Science highlights paper from Spider Lab: Nephila antipodiana’s chemical defense against ants

Spiders Coat Webs With Toxic Chemicals for Self-Defense | Wired Science | Wired.com

The paper is: Shichang Zhang, Teck Hui Koh, Wee Khee Seah, Yee Hing Lai, Mark A. Elgar, and Daiqin Li. A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants. Proc R Soc B 2011 : rspb.2011.2193v1-rspb20112193 (Published online before print November 23, 2011, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2193).

A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants

Thanks to bio-alumni Lee Kee Seng’s highlight on facebook.

M Nadchatram, RIP. Acarologist and Senior Teaching Fellow at NUS Zoology, 1983-1988

M Nadchatram was a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Zoology, National University of Singapore from 1983 to 1988 (now part of the Department of Biological Sciences). Before he left, he donated a mite collection of about 1,500 specimens including 76 paratypes to the Zoological Reference Collections (now Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research).

He was teacher and colleague to many, a scientist and naturalist, and will be sorely missed by all. RIP.

His daughter Indra wrote to inform his old friends of his passing earlier today:

“It is with very deep sorrow that I inform you my father M. Nadchatram passed away on morning of 21 November 2011. I have heard of many of you, and met some, and I thought you would like to know.

He went peacefully in his sleep, and had the most serene look on his face. I’d like to think he is in a big golf course somewhere in heaven enjoying a cold beer with my brother Santha Kumar.

Here is a link to a story that was published today.

Mom and I are OK i guess. Although papa was ill last year, he picked up a lot this year, ever alert and reenergised. While I am immensely proud of all that he had achieved in his life professionally, I am essentially proud of the father he was to me, and the love he showered on me always.

I would be grateful if you could also inform other friends of papa’s. I don’t have all emails, only some which dad share with me sometime back.

Indra Nadchatram

For his students who are out there reading this, do drop a comment below or email me at sivasothi@gmail.com and I will forward your thoughts to his daughter.

Though retired, he was very active and just a few years ago, “his message to the younger generation of Malaysian scientists is that communication and net-working with colleagues should be regarded as a functional part of research.”


  • Nadchatram, M. 2008. The beneficial rainforest ecosystem with environmental effects on zoonoses involving ticks and mites (Acari): a Malaysia perspective and review. Tropical Biomedicine (Supplement): 25: 69–92.
  • Nadchatram, M., 2006. A review of endoparasitic acarines of Malaysia with special reference to novel endoparasitism of mites in amphibious sea snakes and supplementary notes on ecology of chiggers. Tropical Biomedicine, 23(1): 1–22 (dedicated to his mentor, Prof J Ralph Audy).

Sat 26 Nov 2011: 2.00pm – Carlos Lopez Vaamonde on the “Ecology and conservation genetics of the Spanish moon moth”

Note that this seminar is on Saturday – the Nature Society (Singapore) Butterfly Interest Group will be hosting Dr. Carlos Lopez on Saturday 26 Nov 2011 who is on a day transit to Australia for a conference. Carlos is a faculty member at INRA, Orleans, France where he works on moths.

After viewing the Butterfly Trail @ Orchard, SBG, Dr. Carlos Lopez willl give a talk at NUS which Anuj Jain is hosting:

Ecology and conservation genetics of the protected Spanish moon moth, Graellsia isabellae

By Dr Carlos Lopez Vaamonde
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)-Centre d’Orleans,
Unite de Zoologie Forestiere, France

Sat 26 Nov 2011: 2.00pm
At NUS DBS Seminar Room 2

Department of Biological Sciences (map)
Block S2, Level 4,
Science Drive 4, National University of Singapore.


Congrats to Chou Loke Ming and Leo Tan on their forthcoming SNAS fellowship

We received some happy news that the Singapore National Academy of Science (SNAS) Fellowship will be conferred on 11 distinguished scientists this week.

” The SNAS Fellowships have been instituted to recognize outstanding individuals in Singapore who have distinguished themselves in the field of science.

A rigorous selection process involving reports from nominators, screening by a selection committee of the candidates’ Curriculum Vitae and publication lists, and review by the Council of the Singapore National Academy of Science, has led to the selection of 11 candidates for the SNAS Fellowships. “

Our hearty congratulations to all the SNAS Fellows and to the two from the Biological Sciences in particular:

Prof Chou Loke Ming,
Professor of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore
Chou Loke Ming - The Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium I (2003)

Prof Leo Tan Wee Hin
Professor of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore
Director of Special Projects, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore
leotan.jpg 640մ26 pixels

The fellowship will be conferred during a Conferment Ceremony on Thursday, 24 Nov 2011 at 6.00 pm in the University Hall Auditorium at the National University of Singapore.

Here is the complete list as they are all familiar names from sciences including our current dean and provost:

Singapore National Academy of Science (SNAS) Fellowship

Prof Louis Chen Hsiao Yun
Professor of Mathematics, National University of Singapore
Director, Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Prof Chong Chi Tat
Professor of Mathematics, National University of Singapore
Head, Department of Mathematics, National University of Singapore

Prof Chou Loke Ming
Professor of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore

Prof Andy Hor Tzi Sum
Professor of Chemistry, National University of Singapore
Executive Director, Institute of Materials Research & Engineering

Prof Lee Soo Ying
Professor of Chemistry, Nanyang Technological University
Head, Division of Chemistry & Biological Chemistry, Nanyang Technological University

Prof Lui Pao Chuen
Senior Advisor to President, Nanyang Technological University

Prof Tan Eng Chye
Professor of Mathematics, National University of Singapore
Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs), National University of Singapore

Prof Bernard Tan Tiong Gie
Professor of Physics, National University of Singapore

Prof Leo Tan Wee Hin
Professor of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore
Director of Special Projects, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore

Prof Shen Zuowei
Professor of Mathematics, National University of Singapore

Prof Andrew Wee Thye Shen
Professor of Physics, National University of Singapore
Dean, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore

DBS Research Talks – posters to entice you

Yong An Nee, who has been creating posters for all our events for more then a decade now, has probably enjoyed making these light-hearted posters for the in-house research talks meant to allow department staff get to know each other’s work.

The department has got quite big and it will be a useful session. Each lab has only 15 mins and were told to keep it enjoyable. I am looking forward to this and hope I have my marking done by then!

DBS Research Lab Talks 2011(3).pdf

Wed 16 Nov 2011: 5.30pm @ NUS LT20 – Panut Hadisiswoyo on “Human-Orangutan Conflict Resolution in North Sumatra”

“Human-Orangutan Conflict Resolution in North Sumatra, Indonesia”

By Panut Hadisiswoyo
Founding Director,
Orangutan Information Centre,
North Sumatra, Indonesia

Wednesday, 16th November 2011: 5.30pm
Lecture Theatre 20
National University of Singapore
Click here for map

Host: N. Sivasothi

All are welcome

Please register at http://tinyurl.com/panut-16nov2011 (just name and email)

Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) are critically endangered, due to ongoing poaching, deforestation, degradation and fragmentation of their rainforest habitats. Increased conversion to cultivation has increased the frequency of human-orangutan conflicts from crop raiding. To mitigate such conflict, an understanding of local perceptions to crop-raiding orangutans is required and the impact on rural subsistence economies as well as orangutan response to living in human-dominated landscapes.

The Orangutan Information Centre of Sumatra, Indonesia, established a Human-Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) in North Sumatra. Responsible for investigation, assessments, enumerations and mitigation of conflict between farmers and orangutans, this programme is the first to provide insights on factors influencing human-orangutan conflict in Sumatra. It is also providing direct support to agricultural communities affected by crop-raiding orangutans.

The HOCRU team has surveyed local farmers about their methods for dealing with conflict. With affected communities, they have established a Conflict Reporting Centre which compiles data on orangutan, elephant and tiger conflict, and ensures relevant units act on report. A Standard Operating Procedure with Best Practice Mitigation Methods for Orang Utans has been developed. The Orangutan Information Centre has also initiated restoration of degraded orangutan habitat due to palm oil expansion and conducted various forms of education and outreach activities for local communities.

About the speaker
Panut Hadisiswoyo founded the Orangutan Information Centre in 2001, working for the protection of rainforests, the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan and thousands of other species sharing their habitat.

He promotes conservation amongst communities living adjacent to the Gunung Leuser National Park, helping them protect and improve their livelihoods and, in the process, safeguarding an ecosystem of vital importance in the global fight against climate change.

About the Organisation
The Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) is dedicated to the conservation of Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) and their forest homes. The OIC’s grassroots projects in Sumatra work with local communities living alongside orangutan habitat. The OIC plants trees, visits schools and villages, and provides training to help local people work towards a more sustainable future.

The OIC is a local NGO staffed by Indonesian university graduates, believing that Sumatran people are best suited to have an impact in and help Sumatra.

Panut is also speaking at National Geographic Store (Singapore), Vivocity at 7.00pm on Thu 17 Nov 2011 – register here. This talk is hosted by ECO Singapore.