Thu 26 Oct 2017: 2.30pm [QE] – Emily Curren Ern-Min on “Diversity, distributions and ecology of tropical marine cyanobacteria”

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

“Diversity, distributions and ecology of tropical marine cyanobacteria”

Speaker:          Emily Curren Ern-Min (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date:               26 Oct 2017, Thursday
Time:               2.30PM
Venue:             DBS Conference Room (S3 Level 5, #05-01)
Supervisor:      Professor Wong Sek Man

Abstract: – Cyanobacteria are oxygenic photosynthetic organisms that play important roles in primary production in the marine environment. The characterisation of cyanobacterial blooms and the diversity of cyanobacteria in the tropics have not been well documented. In this study, the diversity of marine cyanobacteria in Singapore is explored, with species characterisation using morphological and phylogenetic approaches. The invasive toxic cyanobacterium Moorea producens was prevalently distributed along the coasts of Singapore and I investigated its phylogeography, with divergence dating analysis.

The global dissemination of toxic cyanobacteria is of an increasing environmental concern. The bio-invasion of these marine organisms has been suggested to originate from the ballast water of ships and hitchhike on vectors such as microplastics. These non-indigenous cyanobacteria threaten local biodiversity and act as seeds of future harmful cyanobacterial blooms.  I intend to investigate microplastics as vectors for the introduction of invasive cyanobacteria, to understand the diversity of cyanobacterial biota hitchhiking on these surfaces.

All are welcome


Fri 20 Oct 2017: 2.00pm [PhD Defense] – Chia Yi-Hou on “Spatial evaluation of the effects of human, livestock and wildlife systems on infectious disease emergence: implications for surveillance and management”

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination
Department of Biological Sciences, NUS

“Spatial evaluation of the effects of human, livestock and wildlife systems on infectious disease emergence: implications for surveillance and management”

Speaker:            Chia Yi Hou (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)  
Date:                   20 Oct 2017, Friday
Time:                   2pm
Venue:                DBS meeting room (located at DBS admin office, Blk S3 Level 5)
Supervisor:        Asst Prof Carrasco T, L Roman
Co-supervisor:  Prof John D. Mumford

Abstract – 

“Emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases has health, social, and economic implications for human populations. Hosts and reservoirs for zoonoses are diverse and come from different taxa. Areas of high biodiversity may be sources for new pathogens for humans. Understanding of spatial and temporal patterns of where interactions may occur between human and animal populations will give insights for surveillance and planning for eventual outbreaks.

The research aims of this dissertation were to assess spatially explicit emerging infectious disease (EID) probabilities at the national level across the globe, assess emergency funding resource gaps, investigate routes for through which air travel facilitates disease transfer, and project changes in the probabilities of EID occurrence events relating to changes in livestock density in Africa through 2050. In this dissertation, modeling studies were conducted with aims to identify what socioeconomic and ecological variables may predict infectious disease emergence and how they may interact to lead to future emergence events.”

All are welcome

Chia-Yi Hou

Jobs: Research Fellow and Research Assistants (three positions) for “An Estimation and Assessment of Carbon Stocks in the Nee Soon Swamp Forest”

Dr. Chong Kwek Yan at the Department of Biological Sciences (NUS) is recruiting a team of four full-time researchers to conduct forest inventory plots to study the relationship between hydrology and carbon stocks in a freshwater swamp forest landscape in Singapore. This project is being conducted in collaboration with the National Parks Board, the Tropical Marine Science Institute (NUS), and the Department of Geography (NUS).

Who is this for?

  • If you are interested to pick up the mysterious arts of the forest botanists, e.g., tree identification, dendrology, vegetation science, etc., this is for you.
  • If you are thinking of developing some basic research skills, such as fieldwork, GIS, data analysis (with R), and scientific writing, in preparation for postgraduate studies, this is also for you.


  • Four Research Assistants or 3RAs and 1 Research Fellow.
  • Contract period: 1 year, renewable upon performance and funds up to and beyond March 2019. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Desired attributes/skills:

  • BSc, preferably with Honours, in Life Sciences or Environmental Sciences specialising in Environmental Biology, or related fields.
  • Team players with a good work ethic
  • Some prior exposure to ecological field work involving the setting up of vegetation plots, tree measurement, and other forms of data collection in a tropical forest environment.
  • Must be physically fit enough to carry equipment and trek fair distances over swampy ground.
  • Keen interest in plant identification, nature, outdoor work, and scientific activities such as data analysis and experiments.
  • Some experience with the statistical scripting language R, as well as geographic information systems software such as GoogleEarth, would be advantageous.
  • Evidence of good verbal and written communication skills (in English) and good work etiquette.
  • Preferably possess a Singapore Class 3 driving license that is non-probational (>1 year since obtaining license).
  • Note: academic qualifications are secondary to work ethic, competent workers in teams and interest in the work.

Apply to Dr. Chong Kwek Yan (
Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Include the contacts of at least two character referees.