Wed, 16 Oct 2013, 10.00am @ SR1: Alison Wee on “Genetic connectivity of four mangrove species from the Malay Peninsula”

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination
“Genetic connectivity of four mangrove species from the Malay Peninsula”

Alison Kim Shan Wee
Graduate Student
Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS

Wed, 16 Oct 2013: 10.00am
@ DBS Seminar Room 1, S2 Level 4
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Webb, Edward Layman

All are welcome


“Mangroves are threatened globally by land conversion, habitat degradation and climate change. The challenge in maintaining sufficient genetic diversity and evolutionary potential within species in an increasingly fragmented landscape places great importance on the genetic connectivity among populations. This thesis investigated the effects of reproductive traits, physical barrier and ocean currents on the genetic connectivity of four major species from the Malay Peninsula (MP)—Avicennia alba, Sonneratia alba, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza and Rhizophora mucronata.

A comparative analysis was conducted to examine the effects of physical barrier and reproductive traits on genetic connectivity. Convincing evidence from the study showed that the MP is a selective “filter” to gene flow—genetic discontinuity was more distinct in A. alba and S. alba than in B. gymnorhiza, and not at all in R. mucronata. The relative propagule dispersal potential across species provided a compelling explanation for the genetic pattern observed.

A more detailed study involving ocean circulation simulation on R. mucronata provided evidence that the gene flow in R. mucronata is maintained by ocean current-facilitated propagule dispersal. This thesis offered valuable insights on the factors influencing gene flow among populations, which are useful in understanding how increasing anthropogenic disturbances may threaten mangrove communities.”

Andie Ang receives the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Grant

Congratulations to Andie Ang who received the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Grant of USD 12,000 for studying the Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in Vietnam!

The fund awards grants toImage individual species conservation initiatives and recognizes leaders in the field of species conservation. The grant will fund her field and genetic work on the Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys. The research will be critical for the conservation of these enigmatic Colobines, which are amongst the 25 Most Endangered Primates of the world.

Andie, a former member of the Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, worked on banded leaf monkeys in Singapore. The study provided valuable information on the population size and genetic variability amongst these primates. We wish her all the very best for her future work!


© Le Khac Quyet

Here is the summary of her project:

The Tonkin snub-nosed monkey is endemic to northeastern Vietnam, with only 200-250 individuals left in two provinces. This species is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and in the Red Data Book of Vietnam. It is also among the Top 25 Most Endangered Primates in the World. Extrinsic threats to the species include hunting for traditional medicine and habitat loss and degradation. The long-term viability of this species is further threatened by intrinsic factors such as inbreeding due to low population numbers and complete isolation between all remaining populations.

Quantitative data such as current population numbers, distribution, and genetic variability is urgently required. Genetic analyses are also essential for uncovering patterns of paternity and relatedness among individuals in social groups, and for understanding male and female reproductive strategies. This information will be useful for future conservation action such as translocation of individuals. Andie proposes to study the Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in Khau Ca forest in Ha Giang Province, where there are ca. 100 individuals in the wild (2010 estimate), the largest known population of this species.

Khau Ca forest is located within the “Northern Indochina Subtropical Moist Forests Ecoregion”, a major zoogeographic ecotone featuring high species richness for birds and mammals. The habitat also belongs to the “South Chinese Floristic Province of the Indochinese Region within the Paleotropical Kingdom”, a crossroad for the South and East Asian floras. Hence, Khau Ca forest features rich fauna and flora biodiversity, and unique geological and cultural heritage. Continued preservation of the habitat of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys will thus protect the wealth of this karst ecosystem.

Job: 2-year Research Assistant position for Green Spaces project

A two-year Research Assistant position is immediately available in Associate Professor Tan Puay Yok’s team for a research project on the distribution of green spaces in SIngapore.

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  • Job scope: The successful candidate will assist in the research and provide administrative support.
  • Qualifications: The position is open to candidates from a range of background, including urban planning, landscape architecture, biological sciences, geography, but experience in remote sensing and/or GIS will be advantageous.
  • Salary: commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits will be provided according to University’s guidelines, which include annual leave and medical coverage.
  • Period: The appointment can start immediately for a period of up to 24 months.

Interest individuals should contact Dr. Tan with a CV:

Associate Professor Dr. Tan Puay Yok
Department of Architecture
School of Design and Environment
National University of Singapore
DID: 6516 3531