Remembering Dr Ong Bee Lian with the “Dr Ong Bee Lian – Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) Bursary Award” (raising funds by 15th Mar 2019)

OBL memorial photoWhen we shared the passing of Dr Ong Bee Lian, former students from over three decades at NUS shared their memories of her inspiring figure, her days in lectures and practicals, and strikingly, her nurturing mentorship and kindness in her various roles as lecturer, administrator, mentor and friend [link].

Now, I am happy to share that Friends of Dr Ong Bee Lian at the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) & Food Science and Technology Programme (FST), NUS have announced the initiation of a bursary in her name, and invite contributions very fittingly to help needy students in DBS & FST.

Their deadline is 15 Mar 2019.

“The Department of Biological Sciences together with Food Science and Technology Programme are initiating a bursary award for the late Dr Ong Bee Lian. Dr Ong was an exemplary and dedicated educator who was passionate about teaching. She was well liked by all her students, friends and colleagues at DBS as well as FST. She was always caring and constantly instilled enthusiasm for life in others. Her demise was sorely felt by many, though her strength of character and dynamic personality continues to be an inspiration to us all. In remembrance of her, whom we have missed dearly, we hope to name an award after her.

The bursary award will be named “Dr Ong Bee Lian – Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) Bursary Award”.

Please refer to the Appeal Letter for further details: [link]

If you wish to make a donation, please fill up the Gift Form: [link].

You can send the gift form by mail or email to Ms Lee Chooi Lan, Mrs Ang or Ms Sally Soh (email addresses are listed in the Appeal Letter). We hope to receive the funds by 15 March 2019 to qualify for the matching fund claim.

The sum we are trying to raise is only $25K. All donations are eligible for 2.5 times tax exemption.

Every amount makes a difference and it would be greatly appreciated. We look forward to your kind support and generosity to make this possible.

Please help to disseminate this message to friends who may be interested to know more about this worthy cause.

Feel free to contact Chooi Lan, Mrs Ang or Sally if you need clarification.”

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[Postdoc] Full-time Postdoc Opportunity in the Insect Diversity Lab, NUS

The Insect Diversity Lab at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, is in search of a full-time Postdoc. We study global insect diversity with current focus on bees and related wasps of Southeast Asia. A key goal is to develop taxonomic infrastructure and to use this to advance research on insect urban ecology, behaviour, and conservation.

Core Responsibilities include:

  • Organise and conduct DNA barcoding work for bees of Singapore and Southeast Asia.
  • Specimen preparation, database entries, DNA extractions, PCR and data analyses.
  • Coordinate with collaborators within the NUS Department of Biological Sciences and overseas.

Additional Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Data entry and management of specimen and bibliographic databases.
  • Technical and report/scientific paper editing.
  • Processing of collected specimens (pinning, labelling, curating, and dissection for DNA).
  • Specimen imaging using an imaging system.
  • Acting as a liaison with various external agencies, e.g. NParks to obtain permits.
  • Field sampling of bees/wasps using a sweep net.

Abilities:

  • Prior experience with molecular taxonomy, especially DNA barcoding and molecular diagnostics.
  • Prior experience in the field of entomology will help but can be picked up on the job.
  • Written and verbal competency in the English language is a necessity.
  • Familiarity with NGS barcoding techniques is desirable.
  • Prior technical expertise or familiarity with software used in data management, analysis, and visualization is preferred.
  • Additional abilities/experience in statistics is desirable.
  • The candidate should be conscientious and adaptive, and enthusiastic about working with insects both alive and dead.
  • The job requires attention to detail and the ability to maintain focus when working independently.

Application details

  • This position is for 1 year.
  • Applicants should be ready to start work in April 2019.
  • Ph.D degree in Life Sciences or related field.
  • Remuneration: SGD $4,500/month (dependent on qualifications and includes CPF contribution for Singaporeans/PR).
  • Interested applicants should submit their CV, a short write-up about how this job may contribute to the applicant’s long term goals, and a sample of their academic writing.
  • Please submit these to Dr John Ascher (dbsajs@nus.edu.sg) and Miss Ong Xin Rui (dbsoxr@nus.edu.sg) by 10 February 2019.
  • Short-listed applicants will be notified for an interview by late February 2019.

Assistant Professor John Stoskopf Ascher
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

IDL

[PhD] PhD Opportunity with research focus on bee diversities in Singapore and the region [by 31 Jan 2019]

IDL

The Insect Diversity Lab at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, is in search of an enthusiastic PhD student with a strong academic background and interest in accomplishing a research project focused on bee diversities in Singapore and the region.

This student should have interests in entomology, taxonomy, and conservation biology, and will design and implement question-based research based on assembled integrative taxonomic resources, which includes DNA barcodes and image databases. This student will generate and analyse DNA barcodes, and apply existing analytical tools to assess faunal overlap, rate of discovery of new species, turnover of faunas across ecological gradients, and other phenomena of importance to conservation and management.

We are looking for a student that is capable of developing and testing original hypotheses to increase the scope and applicability of these taxonomic resources, especially in the areas of conservation and management. Prior experience with molecular taxonomy, especially in DNA barcoding and molecular diagnostics, is essential. Familiarity with NGS barcoding techniques, statistical analyses with R programming, and excellent writing skills would be ideal.

Application

Interested students should submit

  • their CV specifying their research experience,
  • a short write-up about how this positon may contribute to their long term goals,
  • a sample of their academic writing and
  • two referees.

Please submit these documents to Dr John Ascher (dbsajs@nus.edu.sg) and Miss Ong Xin Rui (dbsoxr@nus.edu.sg) by 31 Jan 2019. Short-listed applicants will be notified for an interview by mid-February 2019.

Assistant Professor John Stoskopf Ascher
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology publishes A Special Tribute to Dr. Benito Tan

The Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology has published “A Special Tribute to Dr. Benito Tan” – please see their webpage for the articles. It includes an article by Ho Boon-Chuan Ho and James R. Shevock entitled, “A tribute to Benito C. Tan (1946–2016), distinguished muscologist”.

“Benito’s interest in Asian mosses brought him back to Asia where he took up the position of Associate Professor in Botany in the National University of Singapore (NUS) from 1998 to 2007.”

He is fondly remembered by us all.

BenitoTan
Thanks to Adrian Loo for the alert.

[Job] Full-time Internship (May to Aug 2018): Ecosystem Services in Urban Landscapes with Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre

We are looking for a full-time intern to assist with field data collection and management for the ecological component of the Ecosystem Services in Urban Landscapes project from May to August 2018.

Project description

The Ecosystem Services in Urban Landscapes research project brings together a team of ecologists, environmental modellers, planners, and landscape architects, to investigate how different types of vegetation can be used to make cites safer and more comfortable for their residents. A core part of the project will be a large-scale field survey of vegetation in Singapore, that quantifies ecosystem service provision.

The work will involve setting up and maintaining a network of environmental monitoring equipment, including temperature sensors. Field surveys will be conducted to collect data on vegetation, soil functions, public perception on birds and urban greenery, canopy interception as well as other ecosystem services to examine ecological and physical processes. In addition to the intensive field surveys and laboratory work, the intern will also assist with data entry and management, and literature review.

Main responsibilities and duties

  • Field sampling of ecological and physical processes, including soil functions and canopy interception.
  • Field sampling and mapping of ecological communities including vegetation and birds.
  • Conducting surveys to study public perception on birds and urban greenery.
  • Maintaining environmental monitoring equipment at locations across Singapore.
  • Data entry and management, literature review and storing field data in a GIS framework.

Training and guidance will be provided.

Requirements

 The candidate should have / be

  • A current undergraduate, preferably in Life Sciences or Environmental Sciences, or related fields.
  • Able to work outdoors for extended periods of time.
  • Meticulous, responsible, communicative and able to work independently.
  • Keen interest in nature, environment and scientific research.
  • Willingness to learn new skills.
  • Able to commit to a minimum of two months period.

Desirable skills but absence is not a preclusion

  • Experience in ecological fieldwork and data collection
  • Prior exposure to GIS software and statistical analyses (ArcMap, QGIS, R etc).

Work location: 1 Create Way, CREATE Tower, Singapore 138602 (NUS University Town)

Duration: Full-time internship position for 2 – 3 months between May to August 2018

To apply/for more information, Interested applicants should submit a CV, highlighting relevant experiences and skills, a personal statement explaining why they are interested in this position, and availability period to Fung Tze Kwan at tze.fung@arch.ethz.ch. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted for interviews.

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.

About Singapore-ETH Centre

The Singapore-ETH Centre was established as a joint initiative between ETH Zurich – the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF), as part of the NRF’s CREATE campus. The centre serves as an intellectual hub for research, scholarship, entrepreneurship, postgraduate and postdoctoral training.

The centre currently runs two research programmes, the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL), followed by Future Resilient Systems (FRS). It is home to a community of over 100 PhD, postdoctoral and Professorial researchers working on diverse themes related to sustainable cities and resilient infrastructure systems. In the course of their work, researchers actively collaborate with universities, research institutes, industry, and government agencies with the aim of offering practical solutions.

Thu 28 Sep 2017: 3.00pm @ NUS DBS CR1 – Cecilia Larrosa on “Unintended Feedbacks: challenges and opportunities for improving conservation”

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination: 28 September 2017, Thursday, (Cecilia Larrosa / Dr Carrasco) – 3pm

Abstract:

Human reactions to conservation interventions can trigger unintended feedbacks resulting in poor conservation outcomes. Understanding unintended feedbacks is a necessary first step toward the diagnosis and solution of environmental problems, but existing anecdotal evidence cannot support decision-making. The aim of this PhD is to improve our understanding of the role these unintended feedbacks play in conservation science, and provide recommendations for incorporating them into practice.

After analysing the implications these unintended feedbacks have for conservation from a social-ecological systems perspective, I present a conceptual framework and a typology of unintended feedbacks drawing on examples of conservation science and provide recommendations for future work. In the remaining three chapters I focus on large-scale potential economic feedbacks based on recommendations from chapter two. Widely used tools for conservation planning could produce misleading recommendations if feedbacks are ignored. For example, in systematic conservation planning, effectiveness depends partly on accounting for natural and anthropogenic dynamics. Some dynamic conservation planning approaches exist, but they need to be further developed, and assessed against static approaches. I develop a model that accounts for both economic and environmental feedbacks into spatial planning for a set-aside programme, and compare it with a static approach. I model changes in forest connectivity and land opportunity costs to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the set-aside programme based on spatial static and discrete dynamic conservation planning. Finally, I apply the model I developed to multiple policy relevant targets of Atlantic Forest restoration and provide recommendations for prioritising areas.

This work identifies an urgent needed for the collection of evidence in a structured way in order to understand the mechanisms by which human decision-making feeds through to conservation outcomes at different scales. Socio-economic data availability, a mismatch in scale between data availability and prioritisation grain, and economic model complexity present the main limitations to accounting for these feedbacks in spatial conservation planning. Even though a dynamic approach to spatial conservation planning does entail higher computational requirements and transactions costs, I find the potential benefits in terms of increased cost-effectiveness could offset these costs. Most importantly, the analysis shows that a dynamic approach can help decision-makers maximise the existence of informational rents by prioritising areas with higher informational rent capture and still result in a lower overall intervention cost. Accounting for environmental and economic feedbacks can be a valuable tool for more evenly distributed interventions that provide higher incentives for participation without increasing intervention cost.

People adapt and respond to conservation interventions, and their actions feed through into changes in the conservation situation itself; this fact is something that conservationists rely on for their impact. However, these same responses are being overlooked when they affect outcomes indirectly through unintended feedbacks. The research undertaken for this PhD advances knowledge on the role feedbacks play in both applied conservation and conservation science.

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