Launch of the Biodiversity Library of Southeast Asia

Hello everyone! We have exciting news to share with all of you — we have collaborated with NUS Libraries to launch the Biodiversity Library of Southeast Asia (BLSEA).

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BLSEA is an online resource that allows people all over the world to access digitised versions of biodiversity publications that are focused on Southeast Asia. This includes old publications from the museum, such as the Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, as well as many others.

Singapore rocks!

Yes, literally. This LKCNHM book, A Field Guide to the Geology of Singapore by Oliver and Gupta published earlier this year aims to introduce readers to the geology of Singapore by means of field visits to relevant sites of interest.

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It gives an overview of the plate tectonic evolution of Singapore, its geology, and a travel guide book-like excursion compendium to interesting locations such as Pulau Sajahat, Western Catchment, Sembawang Hot Spring, and even Orchard Road!

If you have ever wondered how Singapore looked like in the Late Triassic Period (200 Ma), then do not miss the artist’s impression of the view from the vicinity of Sentosa looking north towards Bukit Timah complete with dinosaurs (pg. 10).

Oliver GJH & Gupta A (2017) A Field Guide to the Geology of Singapore. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 71 pp. Uploaded 4 January 2017.

Read it here: http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/images/pdfs/lkcnhm_ebooks/GeologyGuideSGP.pdf

More about LKCNHM eBooks: http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/index.php/nhmpublications/lkcnhmebooks

RESULTS OF EXXONMOBIL ENDANGERED SPECIES AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMME DOCUMENTARY MAKING AND POSTER DESIGN COMPETITION 2017

The ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme aims to increase public biodiversity and conservation awareness of Southeast Asian biodiversity. Under this fully sponsored programme, participants attend a customised 3-hour workshop, where they spend the first two hours learning about endangered species and threats that affect their survival. During the last hour, participants are encouraged to spread the message on conservation using new media.

Secondary School Category: Documentary Making Competition

Secondary school participants are encouraged to take positive action and raise awareness of an endangered species by taking part in a documentary making competition.

The following videos showcase the winners of the documentary making competition for 2017.

First place: Pei Hwa Secondary School, Group 12, featuring the Green Turtle. The team members are: Tricia Ong Li Ying, Wong Wei Ting, Idzhar Dandiar B Bahtiar, and Keith Goeh Kai Yee.

Second place: Queensway Secondary School, Group 4, featuring the Green Turtle. The team members are: Huang Shiquan, Low Wei Qing, Sim Qian Hui, Muhammad Dilshad Koestoer, and Alanna Tang Peh San.

Third place: Hua Yi Secondary School, Group 10, featuring the Malayan Tapir. The team members are: Tiffany Won, Chai Georgia, Chong Xin Yue, and Brandon Ng Guan Xiang.

Primary School Category: Poster Design Competition

Primary school participants share what they learnt via a poster making competition. The winners for 2017 are:

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First place: Tao Nan School, Group 8, featuring the Proboscis Monkey. The team members are: Sia Zhi Hung, Wu Zhenyuan, and Lucas Lim.

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Second Place: Sembawang Primary School, Group 12, featuring the Malayan Tapir. The team members are: Ang Jun En, Edmund Lam Hao Ming, Harris bin Mohd Zailani, and Hein Htet.

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Third Place:  Geylang Methodist School (Primary), Group 1, featuring the Malayan Tapir. The team members are: Tan Yu Xuan Eason, Teo Jing An, and Wong Jun Xiang.

Congratulations to all the winners!

We hope that these videos and posters will help to shed some light on the importance of protecting and conserving Southeast Asian biodiversity and the environment.

We are also pleased to announce that this programme will continue from 2018-2020. For more information about the ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme for primary and secondary schools, please contact nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg.

 

Egg-citing Easter at the museum

Have an egg-citing time with us this Easter with our Easter Eggy Workshop!

Learn how to make your own Easter egg in this series of workshops in conjunction with Earth Day.

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To register, email: alice.goh@nus.edu.sg

Take part in our Egg-dentifying contest and stand a chance to win interesting prizes too! Contest forms are available at the lobby. See you there!

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HSBC Intertidal Walks

Thank you for your support! All slots have been fully redeemed. Successful registrants will receive a confirmation email soon.

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Missed out on the opportunity to join us for the Marine Open House? Do join us for our intertidal walks instead!

As part of the HSBC Marine Protection Programme, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is organising intertidal guided walks to take students and members of the public to some of our offshore islands and explore some of the biodiversity on our shores! During these guided walks, our nature guides will show participants various forms of life including sea stars, corals, crabs, and anemones! These walks will also include a short coastal clean-up component.

These walks are fully sponsored by HSBC!

Date Time Location Target Group
1 29 April 2017 Saturday 5:45am – 10:00am Kusu Island Public
2 30 April 2017 Sunday 6:15am – 10:30am Kusu Island Public/Schools
3 14 May 2017 Sunday 5:45am – 1:00pm Pulau Semakau Public/Schools
4 15 June 2017 Thursday 6:15am – 11:30am Pulau Hantu Public/Schools
5 15 July 2017 Saturday 5:45am – 1:00pm Pulau Semakau Public/Schools
6 12 August 2017 Saturday 6:00am – 11:15am Pulau Hantu Schools

To enquire, please email nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg with the following details: a) date of the walk you are interested in, b) the number of people you would like to register for, and c) your contact number.

The Outreach and Education Unit will respond to your email within three working days.

Terms and conditions

  • Participants must be at least 13 years of age, physically fit, and able to complete a 2-3 hour slow walk.
  • Participants between 13 to 18 years of age require parental consent to participate in the programme.

Raffles Bulletin of Zoology – New Year, New Blood

With each new year comes new changes, and this year brings in some significant changes in the editorial team of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology (RBZ), a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by our Museum.

The Bulletin has a new Managing Editor – Dr. Jose C. E. Mendoza (a.k.a. “JC”), who had previously served as Associate Editor for Carcinology since 2013. Dr. Mendoza breaks the news to the community in his first RBZ editorial (read more here).

The previous Managing Editor, Dr. Tan Heok Hui, has taken a new portfolio in the Museum, that of Head of Operations, but is also staying on as an Associate Editor for Ichthyology.

Among his notable achievements during his 6-year term is the publication of five volumes (vols. 59–63) and 11 supplements (nos. 24–34), containing 458 articles and monographs – some of which have gone on to be among the most highly cited in the Bulletin’s history. Dr Tan has also ushered the Bulletin into modernity, publishing its first fully electronic volume (vol. 62) in 2014.

Copy & Production Editor, Mr. Jeremy Yeo, who has efficiently performed administrative, copy-editing and production duties since 2013, has also moved over with Dr. Tan to the Operations department of the museum. We thank them for their service and wish them all the best in this new stage of their careers!

Also joining the editorial team are Dr. Hwang Wei Song, as Assistant Managing Editor and concurrent Associate Editor for Entomology; new Associate Editors, Dr. Evan S. H. Quah (Herpetology) and Dr. Toh Tai Chong (Marine ecology & conservation); and new Copy & Production Editor, Ms. Clarisse Tan. Welcome aboard & good luck!

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(From left) Ms. Clarisse Tan, Dr. Hwang Wei Song, Dr. Jose C. E. Mendoza, Dr. Tan Heok Hui, and Mr. Jeremy Yeo. Photo by Cheng Yew Toon.

Visiting Scientist(s) Feature: Dr. Ralf Britz and Dr. Ariane Standing

Recently, we hosted Dr. Ralf Britz and Dr. Ariane Standing from the Natural History Museum, London, who were here in Singapore to collect fish from the Phallostethidae family for their research.

Male fish from the Phallostethidae family have a unique feature – their reproductive organs are under their chins. The male uses the muscular and complex organ, known as the priapium, to get a firm grip of the female during mating and transfer of gametes.

Formed from the modification of the pectoral and pelvic fins, the organ contains a genital pore, anal opening, a rod called the toxactinium, and a serrated saw called the ctenactinium. The toxactinium and cetenactinium enable the male to grab a female’s head during mating, allowing the priapium to deposit sperm in the female’s throat, where her oviduct opening is. Sounds a little…strange right?

The bizarre nature of this fish was precisely what intrigued Dr. Britz to study them in detail.

“I like weird and small stuff,” he said with a laugh.

Also, to aid in mating, the priapium is curved towards one side – either the left or the right. It is still not known what causes the priapium to grow towards either side of the male’s body, and this conundrum forms the basis of Dr. Britz and Dr. Standing’s research.

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Dr. Britz (middle) and Dr. Standing (right) with Dr. Zeehan Jaafar at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for fieldwork. Photo by Tan Heok Hui.

During their 6-day visit here, they collected around 40 fish specimens from the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, to bring back to London for genetic analysis.

We wish Dr. Britz and Dr. Standing all the best in their research, and hope to see them again!

Visiting Scientist Feature: Dr. Tsunemi Kubodera

Three years of planning, and multiple expeditions consisting of sitting in the dark depths of the deep sea for around eight hours, enclosed in a small submersible. It took all these extensive efforts (and more) for Dr. Tsunemi Kubodera to become the first person to photograph and capture footage of the legendary giant squid (Architeuthis dux) in its natural habitat, 900 m underwater.

When asked about his feelings upon seeing the giant squid live in front of him for the first time, Dr. Kubodera said that he remembers being really excited while viewing the giant squid in the dark through a camera monitor, and being so eager to see it for himself.

“I really wanted to see it with my own eyes (and not just through the monitor),” he said.

Thus, he asked the pilot of the submersible he was in to switch on its bright lights, despite knowing that there is a risk that the giant squid may be scared off by the lights. However, the squid did not flee, but instead continued to feed on the bait that they used to lure it in, allowing Dr. Kubodera to watch it live for a total of about 23 minutes.

Dr. Kubodera, a zoologist from the National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, is currently here on a research visit to help identify squid beaks that were found in the stomach of our sperm whale. Over the past few days, he has been working with our Mammal Curator, Mr. Marcus Chua, to identify around 1,800 squid beaks.

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Dr. Kubodera (left) with Mr. Chua (right) in the LKCNHM research lab. Photo by Tan Heok Hui.

Over the weekend, in conjunction with the launch of our new exhibition “Out of the Water” and book “Whale out of Water”, there will be a public talk by Dr. Kubodera, where he will share his journey towards photographing and filming the giant squid. All seats have been filled as of press time.

The new exhibition features displays and stories on the giant squid, sperm whales as well as other marine creatures. The book “Whale out of Water” documents the journey we took from recovering our sperm whale, to putting her skeleton up for display in the gallery.

We look forward to seeing you here!

We also thank Dr. Kubodera for telling us interesting insights about his giant squid journey, and hope to see him again!

Visiting Scientist Feature: Zachary Emberts

Imagine yourself in a life-threatening situation just like in the film ‘127 Hours’: where amputating your trapped limb is the only way to survive. Will you choose to do so?

Just like how Mr. Aron Ralston (whose incident was the subject of the film) chose to remove his arm, certain insects also possess the ability to lose their limbs in order to escape predators – a behaviour known as autotomy.

Autotomy in insects is a topic that greatly intrigues Mr. Zachary Emberts, who is currently working on his PhD dissertation at the University of Florida, Gainesville (co-advised at Miller lab and St. Mary lab).

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Mr. Emberts at his work station in the LKCNHM research lab.

His study subject is the family of leaf-footed bugs (Coreidae, Heteroptera), where limb loss is known to occur but the hind legs of males are also sometimes enlarged for male-male competition for females.

These additional functions of the hind leg sets up an interesting scenario of whether to lose the leg to escape predation at the cost of not being able to compete successfully for a mate thereafter.

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Dorsal view of a male leaf-footed bug, Mictis longicornis. Photo by Hwang Wei Song.

 

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Lateral view of a male leaf-footed bug, Mictis longicornis. Photo by Hwang Wei Song.

We hosted Zachary during his research visit to the museum last week. During his one week visit, he collected around 100 sweet potato bugs (Physomerus grossipes), along with other leaf-footed bugs, for his experiment (for reference, an earlier study conducted by Mr. Emberts and other researchers).

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Male sweet potato bug, Physomerus grossipes. Photo by Hwang Wei Song.

His research visit here has been very helpful in discerning the evolutionary pattern of limb loss among the leaf-footed bugs and he was delighted with his fruitful findings.

We had a great time hosting Mr. Emberts, and wish him all the best for his research!

Marine Open House (18 March 2017)

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Join us for a day of fun and adventure, seeking out for treasures lurking under the sea and let us take you on a learning journey of our marine world!

500 complimentary tickets are available for the day. Simply register for your tickets at https://lkcnhmmarineopenhouse.eventbrite.sg/

The Marine Open House at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum include complimentary guided tours and public talks on marine science and conservation. Participate in our treasure hunt or come dressed as a marine animal and upload a photo of yourself onto Instagram with the hashtag #lkcnhmopenhouse, and stand to win exciting prizes!

You can also check out our brand new exhibition, “Out Of The Water”, which opens 11 March 2017!