Event

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!

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!

New Exhibition: Out of the Water

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Out of the Water

Stories are our means of passing on expressions of our encounters and experiences through time. Generation after generation.

Myths are ‘misunderstandings’ of the truth; a story which is likely to be false, but was, or is, believed. Legends are often seen as historical facts, but are rarely authenticated. These myths and legends are part of what make us human. In times past, our ancestors attempted to rationalise and give meaning to events beyond their knowledge systems. Perhaps this was their way of making the unknown more known, the uncertain more certain. These narratives are the foundations that shaped our stories of mermaids, sea-dwelling monsters, and other magical animals.

In time, our storytelling methods have become more sophisticated; science has become the new narrative, as we unearth the truth of these historical narratives. Today, we are able to look at these myths and legends in a different, new light. We are able to strip away the fictitious, and analyse the fact, in order to make sense of age-old beliefs.

Undoubtedly, there are aspects that we will never truly know. It does not mean that the unknown is untrue. It is just that we do not know. In some ways, these things change, the more they remain the same. Our ignorance remains infinite.

Join us at our newest exhibition “Out of the Water”, where we look at these myths and legends in a different and new light; stripping away the fictitious and analysing the facts in order to make sense of age-old beliefs. Opens 11 March 2017 at 1pm!

From 11–19 March 2017, join us at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and enjoy 20% off admission tickets! Purchase your tickets here!

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).

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

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.

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.

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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.

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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.