Job: Full-time Research Assistant – NUS-NParks Marine Debris Project (apply by 15 Nov 2016)

The full-time Research Assistant will manage the NUS-NParks Marine Debris project which includes desktop and field research, data mining, analysis and establishment of a database and management of an education programme including workshops.

Apply for the position at JobsBANK.
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The job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Literature review to establish, from published works and existing data, a baseline assessment of the current status of marine debris in Singapore
  • Design and conduct experiments and field surveys to document and monitor marine debris
  • Data management, integration, synthesis and analysis
  • Establish a data submission and sharing mechanism
  • Develop an integrated national citizen science programme to monitor marine debris
  • Develop educational resources
  • Prepare and conduct workshop to build capacity and facilitate information-sharing
  • Draft reports, recommendations and publications
  • Organise a conference at the end of the project
  • Report to and work with the principal investigator and project manager

Job Requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in Sciences/Biology/Environmental Studies or a biology-related field
  • Familiar with literature review and research
  • Excellent data management and analysis skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and able to work with different groups of people
  • Some experience with volunteer work in nature or environment projects
  • Highly organised and proactive
  • Able to work independently and meet deadlines


  • A B.Sc. (Hons) degree with experience in biology or ecology research
  • Have good knowledge and experience on marine debris and micro-plastics
  • Proficient in field surveys and monitoring of marine debris
  • Familiar with citizen science programmes
  • Excellent in interacting with local agencies and groups
  • Experience in organising workshops and conferences

Pollen movement across central Singapore appears to be maintained, despite forest degradation, fragmentation and urbanisation

Noreen, A. M. E., Niissalo, M. A., Lum, S. K. Y., & Webb, E. L. (2016). Persistence of long-distance, insect-mediated pollen movement for a tropical canopy tree species in remnant forest patches in an urban landscape. Heredity, 5 October 2016 | doi:10.1038/hdy.2016.64

“Given the robust pollinators of Koompassia (e.g. Apis dorsata), pollen movement across central Singapore appears to be maintained even after forest degradation, fragmentation and urbanization.”

Abstract – As deforestation and urbanization continue at rapid rates in tropical regions, urban forest patches are essential repositories of biodiversity. However, almost nothing is known about gene flow of forest-dependent tree species in urban landscapes. In this study, we investigated gene flow in the insect-pollinated, wind-dispersed tropical tree Koompassia malaccensis in and among three remnant forest patches in the urbanized landscape of Singapore.

We genotyped the vast majority of adults (N = 179) and a large number of recruits (N = 2103) with 8 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers. Spatial genetic structure of the recruit and adult cohorts was significant, showing routine gene dispersal distances of ~ 100–400 m. Parentage analysis showed that 97% of recruits were within 100 m of their mother tree, and a high frequency of relatively short-distance pollen dispersal (median~ 143–187 m).

Despite routine seed and pollen dispersal distances of within a few hundred meters, interpatch gene flow occurred between all patches and was dominated by pollen movement: parentage analysis showed 76 pollen versus two seed interpatch dispersal events, and the seedling neighborhood model estimated ~ 1–6% seed immigration and ~ 21–46% pollen immigration rates, depending on patch. In addition, the smallest patch (containing five adult K. malaccensis trees) was entirely surrounded by 42.5 km of ‘impervious’ substrate, yet had the highest proportional pollen and seed immigration estimates of any patch.

Hence, contrary to our hypothesis, insect-mediated gene flow persisted across an urban landscape, and several of our results also parallel key findings from insect-pollinated canopy trees sampled in mixed agricultural–forest landscapes.

Mon 31 Oct 2016: 6.15pm @ LT27 – sale of “Plants in Tropical Cities” at discounted price of $48 (student price $35) – before Jerry Coyne’s talk

On Mon 31 Oct 2016, “Plants in Tropical Cities” will be on sale at the discounted price of $48 and the special NUS Staff and Student price of $35 (show your NUS ID) at LT27, from 6.15pm to 7.00pm.

This is just before the Jerry Coyne’s “Why Evolution is True” talk (registration link).

On sale at $60 at Kinokuniya, this special discounted offer is being made by the book author Boo Chih Min (email: who was a botany student in NUS herself not too long ago! She is keen to teach out to students and is making this effort to make the book accessible to them. The 19 features on roadside plants, epiphytic plants, aquatic plants, mangroves, etc. will be especially useful to anyone starting out.

Plants in Tropical Cities
By Boo Chih Min, Sharon Y. J. Chew & Jean W. H. Yong
The Definitive guide for Plants in Singapore and the neighbouring countries.

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With close to 2800 plants featured, we hope that this book will help everyone to appreciate all the plants around us in our daily lives. Nineteenth palettes or likely scenarios/situations (e.g. roadside plants, green roofs, green walls, epiphytic plants, aquatic plants, seashore planting, school gardens, mangroves, plants to attract butterflies, fragrant plants) were prepared that will be helpful for anyone embarking on any plant-related development projects or simply as a hobby. Not forgetting the scientific researchers and the graduate students for their plant identification needs, we put in as many botanical details as possible for each species, within the 1000 page limit! Additionally, an Index of Genus names for quick reference was also included at the back of the book.

The “A to Z” listing of plants gave us a chance to feature 26 photos, each of which is the representative” for each alphabet (based on the scientific name). Whenever possible, native species (to our Malesian region) and various plant functional groups (e.g. aquatic plants, epiphytes, mangroves, climbers) were featured throughout the book in our bid to promote better understanding of plant adaptations and also to protect our unique regional plant biodiversity. Plants in Tropical Cities managed to feature two-thirds of Singapore’s flora (ca 2800, including 650 native species; Singapore has ca 4100, with 2100 natives; exotics are ever increasing with new plant imports).

Read the review by retired NUS botany professor Wee Yeow Chin here.

View sample pages from the book here.


Thu 27 Oct 2016: 6.30pm @ SR1 – For undergraduates: A chat about research opportunities in NUS with grad students

DBS graduate students Jerome Kok, Dorothy Cheong & Kenny Chua present a chat about about research opportunities in NUS. This is a lovely opportunity for undergraduates to get some advice from your seniors and to ask some frank questions.

Thu 27 Oct 2016: 6.30pm – 7.30pm @ Seminar Room 1 (S2-0414)

Sign up at

Job: Full-time internship (2–4 months) for Dense & Green Building Typologies project in Singapore

Job: Full-time paid interns wanted to assist in determining environmental services and benefits of Dense & Green buildings in Singapore.

We are looking for full-time interns to identify/validate/map plant species and plant locations at green spaces on and around buildings in Singapore. The position will also require assisting in other aspects of the environmental benefits package under the Dense & Green Building Typologies project at the Singapore ETH centre in CREATE at University Town NUS (see details below).

Project description:
The Dense & Green Building Typology research team at the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) investigates new building typologies with public and green spaces in high-density urban environment in terms of their environmental, social, architectural/urban and economic benefits. The findings will be integrated and translated into strategies and guidelines for architectural design and urban planning. The project is jointly led by ETH Zürich and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The duration of the project is 3 years. More information about the project can be found under at this webpage.

Successful applicants will:

  1. Visit selected buildings in Singapore’s urban areas to:
    • Validate existing plans to ensure that species and plant locations have been correctly listed.
    • Identify and record the location and spatial extent of plant species in buildings where they are not known (or the plan information is incorrect).
  2. Conduct desk based research at FCL in CREATE (NUS University Town):
    • Reviewing literature to contribute to a database outlining the environmental benefits of plant species
    • Collecting (online) data on other environmental and economic variables
    • Map species and compile basic statistics on their distribution area and abundance on-site

Expectation on candidates:
Applicants are expected to have strong enthusiasm for environmental research and have plant identification skills. They are also expected to be able to work independently. Certain basic skills are required (using Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.). An ability to use ArcGIS would also be a bonus but training will be given on how to use this software and conduct any statistical analysis.

This internship position will last a minimum of 2 months, potentially extending to 4 months.

The successful applicants will receive

  1. An internship certificate from FCL.
  2. First-hand experience with laboratory research related to green spaces typologies within an international team at an internationally recognised department.
  3. Training on how to use ArcGIS software
  4. Payment based on working hours or a fixed monthly depending on the particular working schedule.

Supporting documents for application
Curriculum Vitae highlighting relevant skills (including relevant university modules undertaken with knowledge gained) as well as a brief statement on personal interests are required for this internship position application.

For further information about the position, please contact Richard Belcher (
Work location:
1 Create Way, CREATE Tower, Singapore 138602 (NUS University Town)

The Singapore-ETH-Centre is an equal opportunity and family-friendly employer. All candidates will be evaluated on their merits and qualifications, without regards to gender, race, age or religion.