Talk: Weevils with weapons: alternative mating tactics & exaggerated trait evolution in brentine weevils

With the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum now located halfway across the Kent Ridge campus and the advent of common labs at S3 and S14, catching up with the rest of the NUS Biodiversity Crew isn’t as convenient as the corridor talk that used to happen at S2.

However, I learnt about Spider Lab’s new postdoctoral research fellow – Chrissie Painting – and her work in Singapore through twitter, where she frequently posts images of her field sightings, specimens, and quips about Science. Chrissie will be working on jumping spider sexual selection, and will be giving a talk as part of an existing series organised by Seshadri. Would try to catch this! Talk details below:



Many animal species have evolved weaponry as a means to resolve conflict between conspecifics in the acquisition of mates. In those species with high size variation, it is common for there to be alternative mating tactics, where dominant individuals behave differently to subordinate males during mate searching and copulation. Despite these alternative mating tactics, subordinate males are usually thought to have a lower mating success than dominant males, and are simply making the best of a bad situation. Males of the New Zealand giraffe weevil (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis) possess greatly elongated rostrums used as weapons during contests with other males for access to females. However, adult males are also highly size variable such that there is a 6-fold difference between the smallest and largest equivalent-aged individuals. I will discuss findings from my PhD research on the mating system of this species, in particular focusing on the evolution of flexible alternative mating tactics and our current evidence for sexual selection on male rostrum size. I will also highlight diversity in weaponry among other brentine weevils around the globe and our current research on these fascinating beetles.

Date: Wednesday 25th March 2015
Venue: Block S16 #04-31
Time: 4 pm to 5 pm
All are welcomed


13 Dec 2012, Thursday: 10am at DBS CF1 – Alex Yee on Regeneration of Tropical Secondary Vegetation in Human-Modified Landscapes

Qualifying Examination

“Regeneration of Tropical Secondary Vegetation in Human-Modified Landscapes”

Speaker: Alex Yee Thiam Koon (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date: 13 December 2012, Thursday
Time: 10am
Venue: DBS Conference Room (S3, Level 5, #05-01)
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Hugh Tan Tiang Wah


Secondary vegetation is a type of vegetation that regenerates through natural processes from previously human- or naturally-disturbed land, degraded land or abandoned plantations. Moreover, secondary vegetation has distinct differences in forest structure and communities as compared to the original condition. Secondary forest is now a major forest type in the tropics, and its area is expanding. Secondary vegetation may be important for species conservation as it can house old-growth forest species. Understanding factors and processes that can affect the regeneration of secondary forest species can help in conservation decision-making. Therefore, I attempt to investigate the species composition of tropical secondary forests, and the processes affecting their regeneration. I will focus specifically on the regeneration of vascular plants in secondary forests of Singapore. I will conduct field observational studies on the regeneration of secondary forests in abandoned plantations and previously cleared land in Singapore. I will also investigate the regeneration of forest that was recently impacted by a strong windstorm in Singapore. Finally, I will synthesize my findings with a literature review and meta-analysis of factors affecting the regeneration of plants in tropical secondary forests.

All are welcome

Two Members of the Biodiversity Crew to Speak at TEDxNUS

Siva a.k.a. Otterman and Ang Yuchen will be speakers at the upcoming TEDxNUS event this weekend.

Siva is a lecturer at the Department of Biological Sciences focused on education, research and conservation and is coordinator of the Raffles Museum Toddycats! and International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. Yuchen (better known as YC) is a Phd candidate from the Evolutionary Biology Lab of the department studying sexual selection and morphology of sepsid flies. Both will have interesting stories to tell, injected with their brand of wit and humour.

TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is a set of global conferences devoted to ideas worth spreading. TEDx is a programme that allows local communities such as schools or organisations to host independent TED-like events.