Posters

The Diet of the Common Palm Civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (Pallas, 1777) in Forested and Urban Environments in Singapore

Fung Tze Kwan, National University of Singapore

The common palm civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, is the last wild native urban carnivore in Singapore and its diet is largely unknown. Research findings on the poster will include identification of civet faeces, the diet of civets and the differences in the diet of urban and forest civets. In order to assess the civet as a seed disperser, the seed retention time of seeds in the guts of captive civets and the viability of these seeds were also examined. The ecological role of the common palm civets and the conservation implications of this study are also highlighted.

 

Autecology and public awareness of Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, (Pallas, 1777) in an urban environment in Singapore

Xu Weiting, National University of Singapore

The common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is one of our last wild carnivore that still persists in the highly urbanized Singapore, however, up to now, the autoecology of this animal is poorly understood. The poster will share research findings such as the viverrid diversity in Singapore, the distribution of the common palm civet and lastly, the ecology (diet, activity and movement pattern) of urban civets. In light of the civet and human conflict in urban areas, public awareness and attitudes were also investigated and the results are also highlighted.

 

Revising urban myths of urban monkeys: morphology, serology and conservation management of the long-tailed macaques Macaca fascicularis in Singapore

Benjamin P. Y-H. Lee, National Parks Board

Singapore’s macaques are unique in several aspects: 1) their adult morphology and growth patterns are significantly different than populations of M. fascicularis from mainland SE Asia, 2) an unusually high seroprevelance of simian infectious agents and virtual absence of exposure to endemic human pathogens is evident among all of the island’s subpopulations and 3) NParks is actively engaged in conserving and managing the monkeys. The conservation of this insular population of macaques presents a great challenge due to the intense interface between these non-human primates and humans. Some management strategies to minimize the extent of the human-macaque conflict are discussed.

 

Distribution, diet and behaviour of the Banded Leaf Monkeys (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) of Singapore.

Mirza Rifqi Bin Ismail & Andie Ang, National Parks Board & National University of Singapore

The Banded Leaf Monkey (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) is one of three non-human primates in Singapore. They were common in the 1800s but between 1988 to 1997, reports estimate the population between 10-23 individuals. Presently, the Singapore Red Data Book classifies it as nationally Critically Endangered. Being a step away from nationally extinct, we still do not have much information on them. Hence we investigated the current population size and distribution, identify food resources and recommend conservation measures for Banded Leaf Monkeys.

 

Astrovirus infections in Singaporean cave fruit bats (Eonycteris spelaea)

Ian Mendenhall, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School

The majority of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin and bats appear to play an important role as reservoirs. Bats are reservoirs for a number of viruses, including astroviruses. Over 90 viruses have been isolated from bats, including mammalian astroviruses. Little is known about bat viruses in a highly urbanized setting such as Singapore. Faeces were collected from E. spelaea in Singapore and tested using RT-PCR. PCR products were cloned to examine intra-individual and inter-colony viral diversity. A phylogenetic alignment was made to compare astroviruses from other animals. As this species is restricted in its roosting habits, this pressure may exacerbate viral infections.
This study reveals the biodiversity of infectious diseases in a single species of bats.

 

Bee visitors to Melastoma malabathricum in Singapore

Evelyn Chong, National University of Singapore

Despite the economic and ecological importance of bee pollination in tropical Southeast Asia, and the threats from rapid land conversion, bees are poorly studied in the region. This study aimed to enhance current understanding of the bee community that can persist in urban and degraded landscapes by monitoring the bee visitors to a widespread, free-flowering, native shrub, Melastoma malabathricum, across six sites in Singapore, which has experienced the highest proportion (99.8%) of land conversion in the region.

 

Genetic Diversity of Koompassia malaccensis in Singapore: Preliminary Results

Annika Noreen, National University of Singapore

Microsatellite markers are being used to determine genetic diversity and gene flow (pollen/seed dispersal) within Singapore for the primary forest tree Koompassia malaccensis.  We present here preliminary results of the genetic diversity data for this species in Singapore based on ongoing work.

 

Oviposition site selection and breeding habitat enrichment of The Spotted Tree Frog.

Jamie Lim Jing Mei, National Parks Board

This study determines the ideal abiotic and biotic factors which the native endangered anuran species of (Nyctixalus pictus), would prefer when searching for a potential breeding ground. Artifical breeding units were also installed to find out if they can salvage the dwindling population of the mentioned species.

 

Adaptive significance of entire palp removal in the orb-weaving spider, Nephilengys malabarensis.

Joelyn Oh, National Parks Board/National University of Singapore

In spiders, male genitilia (palp) mutilation is often seen in male monogamous and highly sexually cannibalistic species. In the orb-weaving family Nephilidae (Araneae), palp mutilation has escalated to entire palp removal.  This is termed the ‘eunuch phenomenon’.

The eunuch phenomenon in Nephilengys malabarensis (Walckenaer) has been shown to be associated with: (1) plugging of the female epigynum, and hence increasing paternity by preventing or hindering recopulation; and (2) enhanced aggressiveness that facilitates post-copulatory mate-guarding.

Palp removal is proposed as a mechanism behind enhanced aggressiveness due to a reduction in the body mass and hence greater mobility and agility—the “gloves-off” hypothesis. Remote copulation, where sperm transfer continues from the severed palp into the epigynum even after the male’s departure, is also proposed as a unique function of entire copulatory palp removal. However, both the ‘gloves-off” hypothesis and the ‘remote copulation’ hypothesis have not been empirically tested.

In this project, both these hypotheses are tested and proven to be true.

 

The role of elongated male chelicerae in an ant-like jumping spider: sexual ornament, armament or both?

Tuan Jia Min Mindy, National University of Singapore

Sexual selection theory (female mate-choice and male-male competition) attempts to explain the presence of sexual dimorphism and exaggerated ornaments that may otherwise seem detrimental to the owner. The ornaments used in mate choice may sometimes have a dual function as armaments to fight with or as indicators of resource holding potential. Many species in this genus of ant-like jumping spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism, the most prominent being the length of the chelicerae (jaw). Here, I investigate the selection processes for chelicerae elongation in a Singapore ant-like jumping spider, Myrmarachne maxillosa (C. L. Koch).

 

Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of Spiders in Nature Reserves of Singapore

Cai Yixiong, National Parks Board

Spiders are good biodiversity indicators because their assemblages are an indication of environmental conditions.

The completion of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) in 1986 divided our last primary forest, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, from the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. This project focused on sampling spiders for the study of biodiversity in Singapore and aid in the monitoring of biodiversity at the future Eco-Link Bridge.

 

The Ecology of Vascular Epiphytes on Roadside Trees in Singapore

Yoon Hui Lian, National University of Singapore

What vascular epiphytes can be found on our roadside trees? An island-wide survey of vascular epiphytes on eight common roadside trees was conducted in 2010. I investigated associations between the epiphytes and, 1) host species, 2) host characteristics, 3) environment characteristics and 4) native or exotic status of host. The results were also compared with a similar survey done in 1977 (Wee, 1978) to  ascertain how the epiphyte community has changed over time.

 

Recent Orthoptera Research in Singapore

Tan Ming Kai, National University of Singapore

The poster shows the results from recent studies of Orthoptera in Singapore, during which about 190 species were recorded. New species recently described from Singapore are illustrated. Conservation status of some species are discussed and wasteland Orthoptera are profiled to show the importance of further studies of Orthoptera in Singapore.

 

Assessing the population status and impacts of the wild pig (Sus scrofa) in mainland Singapore’s rainforests.

Ong Say Lin, National University of Singapore

The native Wild Pig (Sus scrofa) was thought to be extirpated from mainland Singapore, with populations existing only on offshore islands. Since the late 20th century (Yong et. al., 2010), wild pig populations have made a recovery as confirmed by increased sightings north of the PIE. In the absence of native predators such as the Malayan tigers and leopards, wild pig populations have the potential to reach unnaturally high densities. The feeding and wallowing behaviour of wild pigs cause significant impact to our forests. It is important to understand if the integrity and health of Singapore’s forests are at risk.

 

Establishment and Spread of Exotic Palms in Singapore

Yeo Hwan Theng Hazelina, National University of Singapore

Globally, palms (family Aracaceae) are the most widely cultivated group of plants. With a vision of being a City in a Garden, Singapore has imported no less than 170 species of palms. How many of these have managed to escape cultivation and establish in the wild? We attempt to find this out, and investigate the factors that may affect their seedling establishment in the pockets of young secondary forests in Singapore.

 

Autecology of two non-native gobioid fishes, Oxyeleotris marmorata and Rhinogobius giurinus, in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve of Singapore

Yvonne Kwang, National University of Singapore

The growth, feeding and reproductive characteristics of the non-native Oxyeleotris marmorata and Rhinogobius giurinus, in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve of Singapore, were examined. Oxyeleotris marmorata was found to have negative allometric growth and negative correlation between its hepatosomatic index and size, which is an indication of starvation and inadequate nutrition. Gut content analysis indicates that O. marmorata is carnivorous, and it tends to shift from a predominantly insect larvae and micro-crustacean diet to a more decapod and fish diet at 50–70 mm standard length. Conversely, Rhinogobius giurinus was found to have positive allometric growth and positive correlation between its hepatosomatic index and size, which indicates that it is able to obtain more than sufficient nutrition. It was found to be a specialised feeder of insect larvae and micro-crustaceans, of which midge larvae was a very important component in its diet. High dietary overlap between the non-native gobioid species and the native Pseudogobiopsis oligogactis may imply inter-specific competition but further studies are necessary to confirm this.

 

The non-native fish Etroplus suratensis (Cichlidae) in the coastal waters of Singapore

Ng Ting Hui, National University of Singapore

Etroplus suratensis, a south Asian cichlid, has established populations in Singapore. The fish, which was first collected in 1995, was probably introduced via the aquarium trade or through the Johor River. The growth, feeding, and reproductive characteristics were found to follow its ecology in its native range. Its establishment in Singapore could be owed to the similarity in environment and food available. Changes in intestinal length indicated diet shifts from a predominantly herbivorous to an omnivorous one as it matured. Stomach contents did not provide comparable evidence. Diet similarity to two other introduced cichlids may imply that interspecies resource competition exists. Closer monitoring is needed to determine its effects on the local environment.

 

Autecology of the feral fish, Acarichthys heckelii (Müller and Troschel, 1849) in Singapore’s freshwater bodies

Liew Jia Huan, National University of Singapore

Acarichthys heckelii is the first alien freshwater fish found in Nee Soon Swamp Forest, one of the most important freshwater habitat in Singapore. This poster details the research on the autecology of the feral cichlid where its growth, feeding behaviour and reproduction were investigated. The data collected was then used to assess the risk that Acarichthys heckelii poses on a habitat containing 25 percent of Singapore’s native freshwater organisms.

 

Dragonflies and Damselflies as indicators of Ecological health of freshwater sources in the Upper MacRitchie Basin in the Central Catchment area of Singapore

Tan Hoe Teck, School of Science and Technology

Dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata) have been used as bio-indicators for the assessment of ecological health of freshwater habitats. I have applied this method in the Upper MacRitchie Basin in the Central Catchment Area of Singapore. To evaluate the potential of Odonates as bio-indicators, I concurrently measured the main parameters of the freshwater sources in the areas where dragonflies and damselflies were collected and a correlation between Odonata diversity and water quality parameters was attempted. The results indicated that in general, dragonflies and damselflies thrive in different habitat types within the Upper MacRitchie Basin. At the species level, there was evidence to suggest that different species have their own microhabitats in which they thrive. A distribution map and a matrix was developed so that it can be used as a handy observation tool that can be adopted by informed volunteers, amateurs, and hobbyists. Such an arrangement can involve more people to contribute as environmental activists to the protection of our water resources. Merits and limitations of the method are also discussed as well as potential directions for future research are highlighted.

 

Learning in the Best Classroom – The Outdoors!

Grace Lim-Leng, CreativeKids Pte Ltd

Is there a way to combine your love for Biology and the environment, your love for teaching and an adventurous spirit? That’s what we do at CreativeKids!

Our poster showcases an interdisciplinary approach to learning environmentally-based topics in Science, Biology, Geography (and even History and Social Studies, where relevant) all happening in the outdoors! Field trips (hikes, seashore/island exploration and kayak expedition) bring us to habitats around Singapore with eco and environment-based activities, monitoring and surveys. This hands-on approach engages not only the minds, hands and heart of students, but the instructors as well!

 

Living With Bats! By Cicada Tree Eco-Place http://www.cicadatree.org.sg

Vilma D’Rozario, Cicada Tree Eco-Place

This year is the International Year of the Bat! Cicada Tree Eco-Place, a non-profit, non-government organisation run by volunteers advocates for our batty friends in this poster. Our poster gives basic information on bats, their importance to people, and practical suggestions on how we can share our environment with them. Outreach activities for kids and their families which raise an awareness about native bats of Singapore and how we can make a difference in their lives is also presented.

 

The Ecology of the Smooth-coated Otter

Theng Tze Yin Meryl, National University of Singapore

The smooth-coated otter, Lutrogale perspicillata, reappeared in Singapore in 1998 after decades of absence. Since then, numerous sightings of otters have been reported and a compilation of records reveal that there are now populations along the western and eastern Johor Straits and their numbers have increased over the last decade, with evidence of breeding reported in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR). The diet of the resident family in SBWR was conducted through an analysis of spraints. The diet was found to consist mostly of fish (70%) and an unusually high proportion of prawn (30%). Further studies about its habitat requirements and an extended diet study will be conducted in order to better understand its ecology and hence facilitate conservation-related decisions.

 

Morphology of the zoea larvae stages of Singapore’s Mangrove Tree-Climbing Crabs (Decopoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae)

Teo Yong Jian Glendon, National University of Singapore

This poster describes the larvae morphology of four species of Singapore’s mangrove tree-climbing crabs of the Sesarmid family. The four species are Selatium brockii and the three species of Episesarma commonly found in Singapore’s mangroves. The taxonomy of the larvae of each species is analysed and compared with other species of crabs with complete larvae descriptions and how larvae studies could aid us in conservation.

 

Investigation of Elevation-Vegetation Processes Through High Precision Mapping of Mandai Mangrove

Leong Chin Rick, National University of Singapore

Surface elevation of a mangrove forest is known to influence mangal communities in terms of species distribution and population ecology. This project aims to acquire a digital elevation model (DEM) of Mandai mangrove and to examine spatial patterning of mangal species by mapping the forest vegetation. DEM of the forest and GPS coordinates of trees will be acquired by coordinate surveying with a total station of ±2 mm accuracy. The acquired DEM presents an overall and current outlook on Mandai mangrove with respect to sea-level rise vulnerability and the vegetation map provides a baseline to monitor long-term tree population dynamics.

 

SDWA/NUS mangrove projects in Singapore

Lee Wei Kit, Singapore-Delft Water Alliance/ National University of Singapore

Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (SDWA)/ NUS mangrove projects involve multiple disciplines such as hydrodynamics, engineering, modeling, remote sensing, coastal geomorphology, plant biology, ecology and restoration. Multiple research projects are ongoing in Singapore in collaboration with National Parks Board (NParks), from the single-plant to a whole site scale. Our two mangrove main study sites are Mandai Mangrove and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. A series of mesocosm experiments were conducted to investigate the dispersal and establishment of mangrove seedlings. Early colonization processes of mangrove tree species were also examined through seedling transplanting under different wave conditions. These results could contribute to the understanding of mangrove biology and contribute to effective mangrove restoration. A topography and vegetation survey is ongoing in Mandai Mangrove to examine the topographic features and distribution patterns of mangrove vegetation. With the help from US Geological Survey, surface elevation table (SET) was installed in Mandai Mangrove and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to examine the long term changes in mangrove elevation. This study has significance in determining the vulnerability of mangroves to sea level rise. The data can, in turn, help to inform coastal management plans.

 

Coastal Protection and Restoration of Mangrove Biodiversity at Pulau Tekong

Yang Shufen, National Parks Board

The north-eastern coastline of Pulau Tekong is abutted by about 90 ha of pristine mangroves. Studies showed that scouring of mangroves had occurred resulting in erosion and deterioration of the mangroves. An innovative approach using a combination of hard and soft engineering solutions to arrest erosion of the mangrove coastline and restore the habitat is being implemented.

 

TeamSeagrass monitoring seagrasses of Singapore.

Ria Tan, TeamSeagrass

We have posters showing TeamSeagrass at work, as well as the different seagrass species found in Singapore.

 

A first look at the distribution and extent of seagrass meadows in Singapore

Siti Maryam Yaakub, National University of Singapore

The past three decades have seen most of Singapore’s original coastal and marine habitats, such as mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass give way to extensive shoreline development. While the loss of mangroves and coral reefs is well documented, the original extent of seagrass meadows in Singapore has never been documented. As a result, the corresponding loss due to coastal development is unknown and up until recently, many species of seagrass were thought to be locally extinct. However, substantial tracts of seagrass still exist in Singapore waters and this study is a first attempt at documenting the present extent of large seagrass meadows at Chek Jawa, Pulau Semakau and Cyrene Reef by remote sensing using satellite imagery (IKONOS & Geoeye-1) and ground-truthing.

 

Biodiversity of Singapore’s Inter-tidal Rocky Shores Communities: Preliminary Findings

Lim Yan Mui, National Institute of Education

This project aims to monitor the abundance and distribution of intertidal rocky shore communities in Singapore, and utilize the community ecology parameters to develop suitable indicators of ecosystem health. Comparative spatial and temporal analysis of the data will be conducted using standard multivariate tools. Results may indicate interesting trends in community ecology, as well as highlight changes that may indicate systems under stress. This results collected and analysed are useful in applications of conservation and management of inter-tidal ecosystems.

 

Macroalgae Diversity on the Intertidal Rocky Shores of Singapore

Ahmad Syalabi Adi Sunaryo, National Institute of Education

The poster details the macroalgae diversity on the intertidal rocky shores of Singapore. It is part of an ongoing research on the photophysiology of Singapore rocky shore macroalgae.

 

Pattern polymorphism in the button snail, Umbonium vestiarium

Clara Yeo Zhe Xuan and Stanley Quek Tee Kai, NUS High School of Mathematics and Science

Umbonium vestiarium is a small intertidal and shallow-subtidal snail that displays a wide variety of shell patterns and colours. This study categorises and quantifies these patterns and attempts to relate them to the substrate where they were found. We hypothesised that the more visually similar certain morphs were to the substrate at selected sites, the higher the frequency of shells of that morph present. U. vestiarium were sampled from three Singapore beaches during low tide, with a two-pronged approach of calculating population density while procuring photographic data of shells. Sediment samples acquired while sampling were processed to determine their composition.

 

Biodiversity of shallow-water sponges in Singapore : unexpected niche separation in an urbanized marine environment

Lim Swee Cheng, Tropical Marine Science Institute, National University of Singapore

A surprising high number of shallow water sponge species (197) were recorded from extensive sampling of natural intertidal and subtidal habitats in Singapore (Southeast Asia). This is in spite of a highly modified coastline that encompasses one of the world’s largest container ports as well as extensive oil refining and bunkering industries. A total of 99 intertidal species was recorded in this study. Of these, 53 species were recorded exclusively from the intertidal zone and only 45 species were found on both intertidal and subtidal habitats, suggesting that tropical intertidal and subtidal sponge assemblages are different and distinct. Furthermore, only a third of the fouling species of sponges from a previous study was recorded in this study, thus suggesting that sponge assemblages from natural and fouling communities in the tropics are different as well. A new species, Forcepia (Forcepia) vansoesti is described from Singapore. It is distinguished from its congeners in having the largest forcipes so far recorded amongst its Indo-Pacific congeners.

 

Giant clam conservation and research in Singapore

Neo Mei Lin, National University of Singapore

Research on giant clams in Singapore has been ongoing for the past decade or so, with the few precious brood-stock animals being passed on from one researcher to another like family jewels! Early studies focused on mariculture aspects but more recent work, which is presented here, has looked at conservation, ecology and behaviour. This collective research output on juvenile fluted giant clams, Tridacna squamosa, provides useful baseline data for future restocking efforts. There are considerable challenges involved to maintain reef communities around Singapore. Without a concerted effort to conserve giant clams it is probable that these iconic species will disappear from Singapore’s reefs.

 

Opitimization of Ex Situ Scleractinian Coral Larval Rearing Techniques for Coral Reef Rehabilitation

Toh Tai Chong, National University of Singapore

Rehabilitation efforts may enhance the recovery of coral reefs in certain circumstances; however the science underpinning restoration is still in its infancy. One of the techniques that is currently being explored involves the ex situ rearing of coral larvae from  coral gametes collected during mass  spawning, and the subsequent outplanting of the larvae after settlement on an artificial medium. While coral larval rearing techniques are relatively well established, they have been used primarily for small scale experiments and the post-settlement mortality rate is typically very high. Here we will examine how different procedures at the larval rearing stage can be optimized to increase the post-settlement survival rate.

 

Improving cost-effectiveness of reef restoration by optimising coral rearing time

Samantha Lai, National University of Singapore

Rearing corals for coral reef restoration can incur high maintenance costs and require specialised nursery facilities. Yet currently, there is little information to direct restorers on the optimal age or size to outplant corals, creating a need for a framework that allows restorers to establish the cost-effective age or size to rear a coral to before outplanting it. This study tested four methods of determining age/size-based mortality rates of Pocillopora damicornis and presents a novel framework to estimate cost-effective coral outplant age based on the costs of the propagation technique and predicted mortality rates of the coral.

 

Coral Nursery Project

Collin Tong, National Parks Board

The poster describes what the coral nursery project is about and some preliminary results from the monitoring of the fragments.

 

Singapore Index on Cities’ Biodiversity

Muslim Anshari Rahman, National Parks Board

In response to the need for cities and local authorities to implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans, Singapore proposed the establishment of an index to measure biodiversity in cities. NParks partnered the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the Global Partnership on Cities and Biodiversity in developing the Index. There are three main categories of the CBI and each category has a specific number of indicators. These are: (a) native biodiversity in the city, (b) ecosystem services provided by biodiversity in the city, and (c) good governance and management of biodiversity in the city.

 

National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Linda Goh Mei Ee, National Parks Board

“Conserving Our Biodiversity” maps out Singapore’s master plan for biodiversity. It aims to promote biodiversity conservation, keeping in mind that as a densely populated country with no hinterland, we would have to adopt a pragmatic approach to conservation and develop unique solutions to our challenges. It intends to establish both policy frameworks and specific measures to ensure better planning and co-ordination in the sustainable use, management and conservation of our biodiversity.

Biodiversity conservation cannot be achieved with only efforts from one agency. A holistic approach must be adopted and the inputs of various public sector agencies and nature groups have been taken into consideration in the preparation of this document. The master plan also fulfils our regional and international commitments, primarily the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

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