PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination
Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
“The Ecology, Genetics and Conservation of Pangolins”
Helen Catherine Nash
Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS
Tuesday 8th May 2018: 10.00am
At the DBS Conference Room (S3-05)
Supervisor: Asst Prof Rheindt, Frank Erwin
Abstract – Globally, pangolins are one of the most heavily trafficked mammals in the illegal trade of wildlife. Chinese and Sunda pangolins are particularly threatened and their populations have rapidly declined, yet research is lacking to inform effective conservation management and action plans for these species. In this PhD I have helped to build the evidence base for effective conservation action at local, regional and global scales, based on the research priorities stated in the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group’s global conservation action plan.
In Chapter One, I demonstrate the value of using large-scale systematic surveys of local ecological knowledge to understand the status and threats of pangolins, with the example of Chinese pangolins across protected areas in Hainan. In Chapter Two, I applied a large number of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to investigate the population genetic structure of Southeast Asian Sunda pangolins and to trace the origin of illegally traded pangolins. In Chapter Three, I initiated a post-release monitoring programme for rescued, rehabilitated and released Sunda pangolins in Singapore to better understand their post-release ecology and behaviour, with a particular focus on their dispersal movement, habitat selection and urban ecology in relation to their ontogenesis.
My doctoral research has contributed towards an evidence base to inform effective conservation management and action for pangolins. Many of my methods and analyses could also be applied to other endangered or cryptic species.
All are welcome