Job: 1-year Full-time Research Assistant for data collection and management

A research assistant position for up to one year is available. The successful candidate will assist on ecosystem services, carbon emissions and agricultural production data collection and management.

Basic knowledge of GIS and/or R and ability to perform literature reviews would be an advantage but is not essential.

This position will be especially relevant to applicants with an interest in conservation.

Requirement: BSc or BSc (hons) degree.

Interested applicants can email their curriculum vitae to the address below.

Dr. L. Roman Carrasco
Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543


Job: Lab Tech @ Duke-NUS, Mar 2012 – Feb 2013: bats, birds, small mammals

Job Description: Laboratory Technician – 1 position available

Duration: March 2012 – February 2013

Position: Full time – daily hours will vary based on job required

Summary of job duties: The successful applicant will join a team of researchers investigating the role of different animals in the transmission of pathogens in Singapore.

There are two parts to this job. One is work in the field and the second is work in the lab.

Field work will involve setting up traps for small mammals, birds, bats, and mosquitoes in different sites in Singapore with team members from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. This applicant will handle the animals, collect biological samples from them, and keep records of all activities. They will transport the samples back to Duke and update any records and databases of the collections.

Labwork will include sample processing, including the extraction of genetic material from samples and running diagnostic tests. Hours will vary based on which animal type is being collected and their hours of peak activity. Birds and small mammals require an early start, whereas the trapping of bats takes place at dusk and into the night. Laboratory work will be done during normal business hours.

The successful candidate will undergo a health inspection from OSHE at NUS, be given the appropriate vaccinations, and will take an animal care and handling class at NUS.

This candidate will be trained in all field and laboratory techniques. In addition, there will be opportunities for authorship on scientific publications.

Requirements: Ideally looking for a team player with a background in the biological sciences who is willing to contribute to a unique island-wide project and is interested in gaining research experience.

Must enjoy working outside, be physically fit (field work involves moderate labor), not be afraid of animals, be very flexible with working hours, have good communication and interpersonal skills, and be fluent in English (writing, reading, and speaking).

Past animal or laboratory experience is useful, but not necessary. Possession of a class 3 driver’s license is also beneficial.

We are looking for any motivated individual – status of degree matters less than interest and passion.

Interested applicants please contact: ian.mendenhall

Job: 1-year, Full-time Research Assistant opportunity, coral and sediment analysis

Full-time Research Assistant opportunity

We are seeking a research assistant for a collaborative project between the DHI-NTU Research Centre and the National University of Singapore: “Impacts of shipwake-induced sediment resuspension on corals and sea grass in Singapore”.

The main role of the research assistant will be to conduct a range of analysis on coral (e.g. zooxanthellae counts, chlorophyll and lipid concentrations) and sediment samples (e.g. particle-size and carbonate content analysis).

The candidate should have 2-3 years laboratory experience with strong experimental design and analysis skills, and be confident in implementing new ideas/techniques if needed.

A degree in marine biology or a related field would be advantageous. The research assistant will also have the opportunity to join the field research team during survey trips to collect samples for laboratory analysis, and will be involved in organising field logistics.

The position is for one year and is available immediately. If you are interested, please contact Elimar Precht (email: or Peter Todd (email:

Job: Instructor/Lecturer level in Environmental Biology, NUS

Eb Instructor_lecturer ad (march 2012)[1].pdf (1 page)

Instructor/Lecturer level in Environmental Biology, NUS

The Department of Biological Sciences at NUS invites applications for 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 keen interest in regional and global 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.

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:

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

Closing date for application: 31 March 2012

Field experience in environmental biology – follow honours students into the field

Last year, I included this in an email to undergraduate students reading my modules about post-exam activities. The honours students are winding own their field trips but opportunities still exist.

They need help with small mammal work, wild pig and otter surveys, measuring trees and other help in the field. This is a great way for undergraduates to gain exposure to field work and learn about nature areas in Singapore as well as how science is conducted in the field.

This is pretty much how I got started, following a researcher in the field. It certainly opens up a world to you.

You can sign up here:
The honours students will contact you once you register.

Your participation is also an opportunity to establish your reputation as a field worker and of your reliability, which will be useful in future opportunities.

In the news: “Remote copulation: male adaptation to female cannibalism” by Li Daiqin and colleagues

Li Daiqin’s paper with colleagues on genital amputation in the orb-web spider Nephilengys malabarensis has received considerable coverage, congratulations, Daiqin!

Li Daiqin

Nephilengys malabarensis
A large female Nephilengys malabarensis spider with the severed
copulatory organ (highlighted by the red square) of the smaller,
red-coloured male, embedded in her genitals.

Daiqin Li, J. Oh, S. Kralj-Fišer and M. Kuntner, 2012. Remote copulation: male adaptation to female cannibalism. Biology Letters, 01 Feb 2012; doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.1202.


“Sexual cannibalism by females and associated male behaviours may be driven by sexual conflict. One such male behaviour is the eunuch phenomenon in spiders, caused by total genital emasculation, which is a seemingly maladaptive behaviour. Here, we provide the first empirical testing of an adaptive hypothesis to explain this behaviour, the remote copulation, in a highly sexually cannibalistic orb-web spider Nephilengys malabarensis.

We demonstrate that sperm transfer continues from the severed male organ into female genitals after the male has been detached from copula. Remote copulation increases the total amount of sperm transferred, and thus probably enhances paternity. We conclude that the mechanism may have evolved in response to sexual cannibalism and female-controlled short copulation duration.”

And The Guardian used photos from Lee Qi Qi’s wikispaces page for the species.

Male spiders sacrifice their genitals to fertilise big hungry females | Science |

The article has been covered by:

See also this paper form last year about the same species: Kralj-Fišer, S., Gregorič, M., Zhang, S., Li, D., Kuntner, M. 2011. Eunuchs are better fighters. Animal Behaviour, 81, 933-939. [link].

“Genital amputation, that is, genital damage or loss, seems maladaptive because it renders the amputee functionally sterile, but is nevertheless common in sexually dimorphic spiders. In these species, male genital amputation correlates with plugging of female genitals and with sexual cannibalism. Genital amputation in male spiders may be partial or full; the latter is known as the eunuch phenomenon. We tested two adaptive hypotheses about eunuch behaviour in an orb web spider, Nephilengys malabarensis: (1) the plugging hypothesis (i.e. broken male genitals (palps) effectively plug the female genitals) and (2) the better fighter hypothesis (i.e. eunuch males are better fighters than their intact rivals).

By staging mating trials, we documented genital amputation (occurrence and frequency), sexual cannibalism and genital organ reuse, morphologically examined plugs to infer their effectiveness, and conducted a series of maleemale contests to determine whether eunuch males were better fighters. Copulations always resulted in amputation of the palps: 87.5% of males became eunuchs directly during copulation and plugged females, while 12.5% of males first partially damaged the palps and then severed them after copulation. Sexual cannibalism and plugging effectiveness both reached 75%. Eunuchs guarded females, were highly aggressive and active, and initiated and won contests more often, whereas intact males and half-eunuchs showed significantly lower levels of guarding behaviour, aggression and general activity. Thus, both hypotheses are supported and we conclude that the eunuch phenomenon is adaptive.”

Raising hell at CAC+US 2012 (Meryl Theng performs on electric guitar)

When not searching for smooth-coated otters and their spraints, or catching fish to figure out what they’re eating, Ottergirl Meryl Theng plays a Schecter C1 FR Hellraiser Electric Guitar.

This 18th and 19th February 2012, Meryl will be performing at CAC+US a concert which showcases performances by the various subgroups of the Cultural Activities Club. Find out more at This will be Meryl’s second go at raising hell amongst NUS youth. Have fun!

Meryl Theng cac us (?2010) cacus