Event

Visiting Scientist Feature: Dr. Alexey Reshchikov

Just before Christmas, we hosted Dr. Alexey Reshchikov, Senior Associate Researcher at Sun Yat-Sen University, who was here to examine recently collected wasp specimens.

Dr. Reshchikov is a taxonomist that specialises in the study of wasps from the family Ichneumonidae, also known as ichneumon wasps. The name ‘ichneumon’ is derived from Greek words that mean ‘tracker’ and ‘footstep’, which aptly describes the way these insects live and reproduce.

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Dr. Reshchikov at his work station in the LKCNHM research lab. Photo by Clarisse Tan.

Savvy Killers

As they are parasitoids (organisms that develop inside a ‘host’ organism, eventually killing the host), female ichneumon wasps are highly skilled at tracking down suitable hosts. As the larvae grows, the host is slowly devoured, with its vital organs often left intact till near the end. In some cases, when the larvae are ready to emerge, chemicals are released to further paralyse the host, as the larvae gnaw their way out. Sounds…a little morbid, doesn’t it?

However, it was this exact trait that attracted Dr. Reshchikov to study the ichneumon wasps in greater detail, as he found it fascinating that they ‘attack’ many other different groups of insects. Also, as many of their hosts are pests of agricultural crops and forest plants, ichneumon wasps are useful as beneficial pest control agents (example here).

Ichneumon wasps are commonly found in various habitats, and are also arguably one of the largest animal family, with about 24,000 species known and an estimated 100,000 species worldwide. Clearly, there are still many more species of ichneumon wasps in the wild that have not been discovered. As our museum researchers have accumulated a substantial amount of ichneumon wasps from recent survey efforts, we invited Dr. Reshchikov to the museum on his first visit to provide his expertise on sorting and identifying these specimens.

During his two-week visit, Dr. Reshchikov examined around 2,000 specimens of ichneumon wasps that have been pre-sorted into various groups based on DNA analysis. After meticulously sorting and identifying the wasps, he has found three species of ichneumon wasps new to science to start with, with many more to follow, a finding that greatly excites him.

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Lateral view of a female ichneumon wasp, Klutiana sp. Photo by Ang Yuchen.

Globetrotting Scientist

The study of insects has been his life-long passion, first discovered as a child on a summer vacation trip to the Russian countryside, where he got closer to nature and became intrigued by insects. This scientific passion takes him to places far and wide—he once spontaneously turned back en route to a wasp conference in Budapest, Hungary to join an expedition to remote corners of Mongolia for a month searching for his favourite group of wasps!

However, he doesn’t devote all his trips overseas to insect explorations, of course. An avid traveller, Dr. Reshchikov has been to places such as Estonia, India, Thailand and Nepal. He also enjoys snorkelling in Southern Thailand, and skiing in Norway and Russia. When asked which place he would like to travel next, he mentioned the Indonesian resort island of Bali, for a “nice relaxing trip”.

How does this seasoned traveller find Singapore then? For one, he really loves the large variety of food available here, as he is a fan of different types of cuisine, ranging from spicy Thai food to delicate Cantonese dim sum. Also, despite it being his first trip here, the weather does not faze him at all, as he has been to other tropical countries. In addition, he mentioned that he really enjoyed his time at the museum, and would love to come back to visit.

Likewise, it was wonderful having Dr. Reshchikov here, and we look forward to seeing him again!

Get Crafty This December 2016 at LKCNHM

Get crafty this holiday season with some Art and Craft fun at our museum during Fridays – Sundays in December 2016.

crafty-dec-2016

Email Ms Alice Goh at alice.goh@nus.edu.sg to register for the program with the following template:

  1. Preferred craft (shrinky drink or hana beads)
  2. Date of activity
  3. Time session (11am or 2pm)
  4. No. of people joining the activity

Hurry, as slots are limited on a first come, first served basis!

Visiting scientist feature: Arlo Hinckley Boned

Earlier this week, we hosted a research visit by Mr. Arlo Hinckley Boned, who came to collect data from the mammals in the Zoological Reference Collection.

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Arlo and a red giant flying squirrel collected by Charles Hose.

Arlo hails from the Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group of the Doñana Biological Station in Spain, and is working on the diversity of shrews and gymnures across biogeographical realms for his Phd thesis.

He recently completed four months of fieldwork in Borneo, sampling areas in Sabah, Malaysia, for small mammals. During this period, he shared that he lost a total of 9 kg from the intense fieldwork, but gained interesting insights on the distribution and diversity of the mammals there. Arlo maintains the Small Mammals of Borneo blog with his colleagues where they share about small mammals and their field experience.

As his research group is particularly interested in the diversity of vertebrates in the Sunda shelf, Arlo also examined specimens of the red giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista) in addition to gymnures and moonrats. On his last day, Arlo was particularly excited to come across a red giant flying squirrel specimen collected by Charles Hose, a prominent zoologist and British colonial administrator.

We wish Arlo all the best for the rest of his work in the region.

Job Opportunity: Scientific Manager

We are looking for a Scientific Manager to join the Outreach and Education Unit (OEU).

 Description 

  1. Actively sourcing and securing customers and business for the outreach and educational programmes of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM).
  2. Actively sourcing and securing sponsorships from external organisations for the outreach and educational programmes of LKCNHM.
  3. Manage and lead the Outreach and Education Unit (OEU) to coordinate and conduct gallery tours, workshops, guided nature walks and other education and outreach programmes
  4. Manage and handle enquiries regarding the OEU
  5. Working with senior management to develop new and feasible programmes for the LKCNHM
  6. Manage and conduct existing and new education programmes
  7. Work closely with the LKCNHM Front-of-House to handle guided gallery tours
  8. Manage educational webpages on museum’s website and other advertisements on the outreach and educational programmes of LKCNHM
  9. Recruit and conduct training for volunteers and guides whenever necessary
  10. May involve participation in research work and field trips/expeditions

 

Qualifications 

  1. Preferred Master’s degree in Science from a recognised university, majoring in Biology, Zoology, Botany or equivalent.
  2. Minimum 5 years of experience as an educator (relevant experience in teaching, conducting workshops and guiding field trips), with proven leadership experience.
  3. Good knowledge of biology, nature and Singapore and Southeast Asian biodiversity.
  4. Experience in a museum or public attraction, business development, public relations and marketing experience will be an asset. Must be able to work on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), public holidays and irregular hours as and when required.
  5. Able to work independently, possess good problem solving skills, resourceful, and crisis management skills
  6. Excellent interpersonal skills, even temperament, ability to lead and supervise effectively.
  7. Possesses ability to effectively and professionally communicate at all levels, both verbal and written wise.
  8. Demonstrated strong leadership, organizational and management skills.
  9. Demonstrated ability to handle fast paced environment with many unpredictable developments and rapid changes.

 

Job: Executive and Professional

Schedule:  Full-time – Fixed Term (Contract)

 

Application will end on 13th July 2016. Interviews will be held from end July.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.
To apply, go to:  https://nuscareers.taleo.net/careersection/jobdetail.ftl?job=003L9&lang=en

NUS OHS’ Night at the Museum – 27 & 28 May 2016

We had our very own “Night at the Museum” at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) just a week ago! We at LKCNHM were proud to host this event on behalf of NUS’ Office of Housing Services (OHS). We would like to thank the staff at OHS and the families of Kent Vale Faculty Residences for their enthusiastic participation and we hope to continue to play host to these occasions in the future.

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A total of 77 children from the Kent Vale community and 8 OHS staff stayed overnight. Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

The purpose of the event was to invoke a communitarian spirit and build a closer Kent Vale Community of all ages, especially with the aim of engaging the children of Kent Vale Faculty Staff ranging from the ages of 7 and 15. A total of 77 children accompanied by 8 OHS staff members from Kent Vale stayed overnight at the museum as part of this event.

Events at the museum that night kick-started with a guided tour followed by a Treasure Hunt and a Dinosaur Light Show to end the night with a bang! The family breakfast during the following morning was also a great opportunity for parents to get together and mingle.

Treasure Hunt

Kids hard at work during the Treasure Hunt!  Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

Families expressed their gratitude for all the fun they experienced:

“I would like thank you and your team from OHS for the excellent job done. Our kids really enjoyed the event. Thank you for organising this unique event. I am aware that it is a lot of responsibility on you and your team who have worked tirelessly to make sure it is a success.” – Dr Satish, Dept. of Anatomy, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

“My kids loved it and are asking what the next one will be!” Prof Kumaralingam, Faculty of Law.

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Smiles all around after breakfast and being back together again after a wonderful night at the museum! Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

OHS Staff

OHS Staff group photo! Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

We end this post with a quote from the Director of OHS, Mr Koh Yan Leng:

“As management of Kent Vale Residences, which accommodates our foreign faculty members and their families, we do not just wish to provide them with a place to stay, but a community that allows them to learn, bond and do great things together. As part of this vision, we organise monthly activities/events for our residents that cater to different family profile, singles, couples and family with kids. For the “Night at the Museum”, we are glad to partner with our esteemed LKCNHM to organise this great event for our residents’ children. The programme created by LKCNHM not only create much fun, but at the same time it is educational for them, which left many of them still talking about it after the event. As such, we deeply appreciate the effort put in by both the LKCNHM staff and our OHS colleagues to make this happen for the kids”.

We look forward to hosting future events such as these for our NUS community.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Presents Palaeontology workshops for school students and educators

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is pleased to invite Professor Patricia Rich and Dr Tom Rich to conduct a series of talks and workshops for educators and school students. There are limited places of 40 participants per session.

The details of the workshops are as follows:

1. Educators Workshop – Mammals, where they are from? Their journey through more than 150 million years 

23 June, Thursday, 10am – 4pm (tea included)

(More details here: http://bit.ly/22tvf5A)

2. Students Workshop – The Feisty Polar Dinosaurs and their companions

21 June, Tuesday, 10am – 4pm (tea included)

(More details here: http://bit.ly/1WoBmbj)

Cost of each workshop – $100 per pax (incl. GST)

 

Registration

Download the registration forms here: http://bit.ly/1WU0Cq2

Kindly register by 8 June 2016 by emailing the completed registration form to nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg.

See you all at the workshop!LKCNHM Paleo workshop schools

Launch of Dr Seow-Choen’s latest book: A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Borneo

Dr Seow Stick Insect

We have a new book launch happening in the month of June!

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) is proud to present a new book on stick insects of Borneo by Dr Francis Seow-Choen.

Dr Seow-Choen is a well-known local colorectal surgeon and is also a Honorary Research affiliate with us at the museum. He will be launching his latest book “A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Borneo” at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Function Hall at the Botany Centre on 1st June 2016 at 12 noon.

The book includes 337 species of stick and leaf insects from Borneo, as well as details the author’s discovery of 15 new genera and 52 new species from the largest tropical island in the world.

The book launch is jointly hosted by the museum and the National Parks Board and books will be available for sale at the launch!

The book is now available at our very own LKCNHM bookshop and Co-Op bookstores at NUS!

 

 

 

Job Opportunity: SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

We are looking for a Scientific Officer to join our Outreach and Education Unit (OEU).

Description

  1. Bringing in revenue to LKCNHM through conducting outreach and educational programmes and work with Museum Development Manager to develop, secure sponsorships from external organisations and execute sponsored educational programmes. Target revenue is to cover own salary, and an additional 20% overheads for LKCNHM.
  2. Coordinate and conduct gallery tours, workshops, guided nature walks and other education and outreach programmes
  3. Assist in developing and marketing education and outreach programmes
  4. Manage enquiries, events and perform basic administrative duties
  5. Curate and maintain the museum’s teaching collection
  6. Write nature publications, including blogs
  7. May involve participation in research work and field trips/expeditions

Qualifications

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in Science from a recognised university, majoring in Biology, Zoology, Botany or equivalent.
  2. Preferably 2 years of relevant experience in teaching, conducting workshops and guiding field trips
  3. Good knowledge of biology, nature and Singapore and Southeast Asian biodiversity.
  4. Good interpersonal, communication and organizational skills.
  5. Able to teach all levels of students and members of the public.
  6. Must be able to work on weekends and public holidays, and at late or very early hours.
  7. Familiarity with basic computer programmes such as Microsoft Office and Google web apps.
  8. Willing to learn and have a passion for nature and the environment.
  9. A valid Singapore driver’s license and the ability to swim proficiently will be an advantage

 

Job: Executive & Professional

Schedule: Full time – Fixed term (Contract)

Application will end on 31 May 2016. Interviews will be held from mid-June onwards.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

To apply, go to: https://nuscareers.taleo.net/careersection/2/jobdetail.ftl?job=00380&lang=en