International Year of Biodiversity

January 11th, 2010

A belated post. If you haven’t already heard that 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, well, it is!

The International Year of Biodiversity (or IYB) was designated by United Nations to celebrate the value of biodiversity on earth, and invites its citizens to take action to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the consequences of its loss.

To celebrate IYB2010 in Singapore, several websites, flickr groups, and numerous activities have been set up and planned:

NParks is initiating a series of activities to raise public awareness of the rich flora and fauna which can be found in Singapore, including a photo competition and exhibition, documentary screening, tree planting opportunities and guided walks.

A Celebrating Singapore’s Biodiversity blog, collating many blog posts from various citizen scientists. This is also reflected on IYB 2010 Singapore in Facebook, and a wide variety of images are also available at Singapore Celebrate IYB 2010 Flickr group.

Underwater World Singapore has also gotten into the act, putting up an exhibit on sharks.

Finally, show your support by including a IYB 2010 logo on your blog or webpage!

Cheers, Jeff

October 26th, 2009

Dr. Aaron Bernstein
Faculty, Center for Health and the Global Environment
and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

27 October 2009
10.30 am – 12.00 noon
Function Hall, Botany Centre,
Singapore Botanic Gardens

For full details, please click the link below:

Admission is free.
Please RSVP to by Monday 26 Oct

Light refreshments will be served

Coral survey at The Sisters, 4 Oct 09

October 5th, 2009

We were confounded by currents again, this time at The Sisters. The day started out fine, and the dive started out pretty ok too, but by the time the second team was in the water, the currents picked up which made line laying (and even getting to the survey site) difficult. Given the likelihood of increasing currents, we decided to abort and move to the eastern side of The Sisters.

The photos we took of the marine life during our dives have yet to be fully uploaded, but can be found on Mermate’s and Catfish’s flickr.

So, in the meantime, back to the drawing board for Raffles and Sisters!

Talk Climate change and marine biodiversity: Lessons from a little red dot

September 29th, 2009

Talk synopsis:

The biodiversity implications of climate change events are very grave and a whole suite of catastrophes have been predicted; from massive changes in ecosystems, die-offs of whole communities and mass extinctions of many plants and animals. This comes at a time when mankind is only beginning to realise that Earth’s biodiversity is not just more substantial than we have presumed, but far greater than anything we could have imagined. As scientists rush to discover and document new species and ecosystems, they find the ‘rug being pulled from under them’ due to man’s relentless changes to the environment! Nevertheless, the stark reality of the matter is that biodiversity and natural history will survive regardless of how humans mess up the planet. As the systems we know collapse and species die, new ones will replace them eventually – nature has a resilience that mankind always underestimates. The unpleasant question we need to ask instead is this: ‘Can humankind, as know it, survive climate change and how?’

Profile of speaker:

Peter Ng did his PhD in the National University of Singapore as a part-timer when he was still an education officer in the Ministry of Education in the 1980s. He joined NUS in 1990, and has been involved in systematics research, primarily with crabs and fish over the last 19 years. He also works on a wide variety of different biodiversity issues, including environmental and conservation biology. He is on the editorial board of many international journals, as well as a member of various international biological organizations, notably the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature.

Time and place:
29 Sep 2009 at National University of Singapore, LT 31 Blk S16, 6.30pm – 8pm

Admission is free but registration is required. Light refreshments will be served after the talk. More details can be found here.

Tampines Library Talk 26 Sep 09

September 24th, 2009

There’s a talk at Tampines Library Walk, organised by NParks, on marine conservation this weekend that you might be interested to attend.

Singapore is well known as a “Garden City”, but there is another “garden” that most people do not see that exists just off shore. Singapore’s coastal and marine habitats still holds many surprises for the intrepid explorer. From spineless, spiny creatures to back-boned, shelled air breathers, there is a bounty of the weird and wonderful awaiting the urbanite that dares venture the confines of the concrete jungle.

In recent years, a small but growing number of conservationists have been using digital age tools to further the cause of conservation in Singapore. Armed with multi-tasking cameras and the ability to wake at pre-dawn hours, they recount their mini-expeditions to unknown shores through the use of blogs and other internet media, providing a rich tapestry of stories about their encounters.

As nature-starved Singaporeans begin to appreciate their own natural
heritage, the opportunities for discovery and positive action abound,
from the shores of the mainland to the islands south of Singapore.

Walk on the Wild Side: Marine Conservation in Singapore by
Mr Jeffrey Low

Saturday 26th September 2009, 3pm – 4pm
Tampines Regional Library, Auditorium

Admission if free.

How to get to Tampines Regional Library?
Address: 31, Tampines Ave 7, Singapore 529620.

Nearest MRT Station: Tampines
Nearest Bus Interchange: Tampines
Buses: SBS Transit 8, 15, 18, 19, 27, 28, 29, 37, 38, 81, 168, 291, 293
Profile of the speaker:

Jeffrey has worked on many coral reef and marine-related projects as a Research Assistant with NUS. He joined NParks in 2003, and is tasked with overseeing development and marine conservation issues in the islands south of Singapore. An experienced scuba diver with over 2000 dives, he has dived not only Singapore, but also in many parts of Asia. He is an active guide and trainer with the Blue Water Volunteers, a local marine conservation NGO, in their Reef Walk, Reef Friends and Reef Xplore! programmes. He has also co-authored a Singapore Science Centre guidebook Common Marine Fishes of Singapore, was a research writer for the ASEANAREAN Expedition series: The Marine Parks of Thailand (1997), as well as the principal underwater photographer for the Marine Parks of Indonesia expedition (1999). He holds a Masters of Science degree, and is currently pursuing avenues to be “Permanently head-Damaged” (PhD).