Wed 28 Oct 2015: 5.00pm – Richard Leschen on New Zealand’s Alpine Beetle, “Life in the Clouds”

“Life in the Clouds”
New Zealand’s Alpine Beetle

By Richard Leschen
New Zealand Arthropod Collection

Wed 28 Oct 2015: 5.00pm
Seminar Room 2
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

Host: Rudolf Meier

All are welcome.


Thu 29 Oct 2015: 7.00pm @ LKCNHM – Dwi Listyo Rahayu on “Hermit crabs of Singapore”

“Hermit crabs of Singapore”

by Dr Dwi Listyo Rahayu
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI),
Lombok, Indonesia.

Shell Visiting Scientist
NUS Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum &
Shell Singapore.

Thu 29 Oct 2015: 7.00pm
(dinner is provided)
Venue: Learning Lab 2,
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
National University of Singapore

Mon 26 Oct 2015: 4.00pm @ SR2 – Maxine Mowe on ‘Growth and toxin production of cyanobacteria Microcystis spp. from Singapore reservoirs.’

Mad Mowe  LKCNHM

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination

“Toxic cyanobacteria in the tropics: Effects of environmental factors on the growth and toxin production of Microcystis species isolated from Singapore reservoirs.”

Maxine Allayne Darlene Mowe
Graduate Student
Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS

Mon 26 Oct 2015: 4.00pm
DBS Seminar Room 2 (S2 Level 4, #04-15)
Supervisor: Darren Yeo Chong Jinn

All are welcome


Cyanobacterial blooms are a global problem for water resources due to toxin production. The majority of studies have focused on blooms in temperate areas with less focus on the tropics. A global meta-analysis of cyanobacteria blooms in tropical lakes conducted to better understand prevailing trends revealed Microcystis and microcystin to be the most commonly encountered cyanobacterial genus and toxin.

To investigate this trend in Singapore, potentially toxic species from Singapore’s reservoirs were isolated and cultured, including species of Microcystis, Cylindrospermopsis, Planktothrix and Planktothricoides, which were found to produce microcystins (RR and LR) and cylindrospermopsins. Focussing on Microcystis, laboratory and field experiments were then conducted to investigate the effects of light, temperature, and nutrients on their growth and toxin production.

Low light and high nutrient levels were found to increase Microcystis growth, while low light and lower phosphorus levels increased toxin cell quotas. This study is the first to record the effects of environmental variables on toxin cell quotas of Microcystis ichthyoblabe, M. flos-aquae and M. viridis isolated in the tropics. This information will benefit water management in Singapore by improving the understanding the growth conditions conducive Microcystis growth and how these influence toxin production.

Photo by Priya Jean Alexander.

23 Oct 2015: 4.00pm – Guy Nathan Rutty on “The pathology of King Richard III”

20151023 GuyNathanRutty

In February this year, the news cycle carried the story of forensic expert who revealed that King Richard III was killed by a sword thrust to the base of the neck which went all the way up into his head.

Well, that was Guy Rutty of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit (Univ. Leicester) who spotted the wound while examining Richard III’s skull. The investigation was being video-recorded so the moment was captured:

See “Richard III killed by sword thrust upwards into neck,” by Rossella Lorenzi. National Geographic, 12 Feb 2015.

Job: Part-time research field assistant in Small Mammals, Nov 2015 – Mar 2016

Job Description: Research Field Assistant – Small Mammals
Duration: November 2015 – March 2016
Position: Part time – hours based, remuneration depends on qualification.

Summary of job duties: The successful applicant will join a team of researchers investigating the role of small mammals in the transmission of pathogens in Singapore. Field work will involve setting up traps for small mammals in different sites in Singapore, checking and baiting the traps twice daily and collecting environmental variables. This applicant will also have a chance to handle the animals, and collect biological samples from them. The applicant will assist to transport the samples back to Duke-NUS and update any records and databases of the collections. Hours will vary based on the number of animals trapped and location accessibility. The field work require an early start (7am).
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. This candidate will also be trained in all field required techniques.

Requirements: Looking for a team player with a background in ecology 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. Past animal or laboratory experience is useful. Possession of a class 3 driver’s license is also beneficial.

To apply please write to:
Erica Sena Neves
Signature Research Program – Emerging Infectious Diseases,
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School

Job: Conference organization assistant for Conservation Asia 2016 in Singapore (immediate to Jul 2016)

Conference organization assistant: Conservation Asia 2016

This is an opportunity to contribute to a landmark conservation conference in Singapore.

Conference introduction:
The NUS Department of Biological Sciences, along with the Asia regional chapters of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation and the Society for Conservation Biology, are hosting the Conservation Asia 2016 conference 29 June – 3 July 2016. This conference is expected to attract upwards of 500 conservation practitioners, academics and students from across the Asian region and beyond. The conference will be held at University Town on the NUS campus. This will likely be the largest conservation-oriented conference ever held in Singapore.

The conference is being planned by a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), chaired by Associate Professor Edward Webb (DBS) and with membership from several other organizations including NParks, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Fauna and Flora International, BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the two scientific societies (ATBC, SCB). Conference organization is being accomplished by subcommittees of the LOC (e.g. scientific content, social, finance, marketing, logistics)

Position description:
The Local Organizing Committee is seeking to hire a motivated and organized person to assist with conference organization. The appointment will begin as soon as possible and extend through the end of July 2016.

The general terms of this position are to assist in the day-to-day activities of conference planning. The assistant will report directly to the Chair of the LOC, and will liaise with the subcommittees to facilitate their work. Examples of tasks include minute taking at monthly LOC meetings; website information management; conference advertising; communication with LOC members, conference speakers and conference attendees; spearheading environmentally-friendly conference policy (food, materials); logistical assistance to subcommittees; volunteer management; expenditure processing; and establishing realistic timelines for subcommittee actions.

The assistant will begin with an hourly rate ($8/hour) through December, with the possibility of a full-time contract for January – July 2016.

How to apply:
Interested applicants should email A/P Webb at Please provide a cover letter explaining your experience, a resume, and the names and contact information of two references. Please also indicate your general availability through July 2016.

Review of applications and interviews will begin immediately, with a start date to be determined with the applicant.

Job: Research Assistant or Associate: Land use change and conservation in Myanmar (3 years)

Research Assistant or Associate: Land use change and conservation in Myanmar
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore

Period of position: 3 years total (renewable contracts)
Salary: Commensurate with experience

Project description:
The NUS Department of Biological Sciences, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society, is conducting a multi-disciplinary research programme on forest and land cover change in Myanmar. The research seeks to understand the drivers of deforestation and the dynamics of the agriculture-forest interface within the changing policy and economic context of Myanmar. The research will utilize a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods intended to yield relevant, scientifically credible information that will directly support policy recommendations to reconcile Myanmar’s forthcoming economic development with the conservation of habitat and biodiversity.

Position description:
We seek a talented and highly motivated early-career scientist to join our team as a research assistant/associate. The researcher will play an integral role in all aspects of the project, with particular emphasis on quantitative modeling. This project will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, so the researcher will need to have some familiarity working across disciplines. Specific duties of this position include facilitating consensus building exercises (horizon scanning); assisting in the design and implementation of social surveys; coding and executing quantitative models that may be systems dynamics, economic, or agent-based in nature; statistical analyses and consolidating data; and contributing to the writing of research reports for publication. The researcher will also assist with overall project management, including mentoring undergraduate researchers.

Applicants should have a BSc or MSc in Life Sciences, Environmental Science, Biology, Economics, Geography or other relevant to the position. Applicants with a BSc should have at least two years of relevant experience. Knowledge domains should include some of the following: land use change, deforestation, industrial agricultural expansion, conservation biology, rural development, and environmental policy, especially pertaining to SE Asia. Field experience in tropical Asia would be useful.

Other required experience:
Computer programming (R, C++, or equivalent) along with an ability to develop simulation and statistical models. Experience with spatially-explicit modeling and geographic information systems (GIS) would be beneficial.

A track record of publishing, or a strong desire to publish peer-reviewed scientific articles.

How to apply:
Interested applicants should email Dr. Edward Webb at Please include a brief cover letter explaining your experience, a cv, relevant peer-reviewed publications, and the names and contact information of two referees.

Applications will be reviewed until a suitable candidate is found.

QE: Discovery, evolutionary ecology, and conservation of rare endemic frogs in Western Ghats, India (Seshadri Kadaba Shamanna, 5/10, 3.30pm)

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

Discovery, evolutionary ecology, and conservation of rare endemic frogs in Western Ghats, India
Speaker:          Seshadri Kadaba Shamanna (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date:               5 Oct 2015, Monday
Time:               3.30pm
Venue:            Conference Room-II (S1, Level 3, mezzanine)
Supervisor:     Asst Prof Bickford, David Patrick

Abstract: –

Amphibians are facing increased threats of extinction and population declines. With about 40% of all amphibians already threatened globally, conservation action is imperative. But formulating effective conservation interventions is a challenge because of several knowledge gaps in species’ ecology and behaviour. The Western Ghats of India is a biodiversity hotspot known for an impressive adaptive radiation of frogs. In the last decade, over one hundred new species have been discovered and yet, information about natural history and ecology for most species is sparse and/or anecdotal. In my thesis, I bridge the knowledge gap by uncovering new behaviours and species, understanding the radiation in an evolutionary ecology framework, and finally, highlight the need for conservation action for the rich amphibian diversity in India. Specifically, (1) I will highlight the important role played by natural history observations in enabling the discovery of a novel reproductive behaviour in amphibians (2) Use tools like integrative taxonomy, citizen-science and engagement, and ancient DNA from museum specimens to discover and/or re-describe new species of frogs. (3) Undertake the first quantitative study to understand reproductive behaviour in frogs of South Asia and shed light on the adaptive significance of parental care behaviour and lastly, (4) I will identify threats and challenges, and formulate conservation strategies for rare and endangered frogs in the Western Ghats.

 All are welcome