Reblogged from NUS Media Relations.
Accomplished biologist Professor Rudolf Meier recognised for exceptional contributions in the area of conservation and biodiversity research
The National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Science is pleased to announce that Professor Rudolf Meier from the University’s Department of Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Science and University Scholars Programme, has been appointed as the inaugural Professor for the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professorship of Conservation.
The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professorship of Conservation was set up in 2012 through the generous gift from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, established in 1884, is one of Singapore’s most respected institutions and has a long history of philanthropy. The Professorship is the first that supports conservation and biodiversity research conducted in Singapore and Southeast Asia, teaching of integrated biodiversity and environmental courses, and training of a new generation of environmental scientists and managers.
Said Professor Paul Matsudaira, Head of NUS Department of Biological Sciences: “We are delighted that Prof Meier has been appointed as the inaugural Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Conservation. Prof Meier is a renowned evolutionary biologist and an excellent teacher. His deep knowledge and outstanding achievements are truly deserving of the recognition. The Professorship will greatly boost conservation research in Singapore. It will also contribute significantly towards building up teaching and research capabilities, as well as academic scholarship, in environmental sciences and biodiversity at NUS.”
Said Professor Peter Ng from the Department of Biological Sciences and Head of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum: “We are very grateful to the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple for the generous gift to advance training and research in environmental sciences and biodiversity. For a small island like Singapore which faces immense space and development challenges, these issues are very urgent. It is therefore vital that the best minds are engaged to push the limits as to what NUS can do for Singapore’s natural habitats and native species. Innovative research is vital if we are to balance development with conservation and achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. We are heartened that the Temple supports us for this important exercise. And its first recipient, Prof Meier, who has been at the cutting edge of conservation genetics for many years, is a deserving candidate!”
Said Professor Rudolf Meier: “It is a great honour to be named the first recipient of this distinguished professorship. It will allow me to continue in my pursuit of understanding the biodiversity of Southeast Asia. The funding support will allow me to generate new knowledge that will hopefully be of lasting value for conserving the remarkable fauna and flora of Singapore and the region.”
Prof Meier, who is also Deputy Head for the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, is currently leading several biodiversity research projects related to conserving Singapore’s fauna and flora. His study of the genetics and diet of Singapore’s endangered banded leaf monkey population has revealed that the population is very small and highly inbred. He is also using trace amounts of DNA from non-invasive samples of the monkeys to reconstruct their diet. In another project focusing on Singapore’s green spaces, he collaborates with the National Parks Board in identifying mangrove fragments that are particularly rich in species. This research has led to the discovery of many new species of insects that are only known from Singapore. One of his long-term goals is to generate “DNA barcodes” for all plant and many animal species in Singapore. These barcodes will then be used to understand how pollination and fruit dispersal maintain genetic diversity in Singapore’s plant and animal populations. Please refer to the Annex for Prof Meier’s biography.