2019


26 Apr: Research assistant voted 2nd best favourite talk by conference participants


Claudia was runner-up for the Participants' Favourite Talk award for her presentation at the 6th Fresh Blood for Fresh Water Conference. She presented findings on the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on Singapore's food webs. Congratuations Claudia!


15 Jan: Starting the year with a doctor in Harmful Algal Blooms


Jerome defended his thesis on 15th January 2018. His PhD involved the investigation of the bloom potential of raphidophytes, specificially, Heterosigma akashiwo and Chattonella subsalsa, in Singapore's coastal waters. These species are recorded to form recurrent blooms in several temperate countries, and is recently recorded as the main raraphidophyte bloom species in tropical Singapore. His work is thus amongst the first studies of the bloom ecology of these species in the tropics, which he found is different from their temperate counterparts. Congratulations Dr. Kok!


2018


8 Feb: Symposium on Environmental Decision Sciences



Some members of the FIB lab partnered with Dr. Chong Kwek Yan to host researchers from the University of Queensland's Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED)in Singapore. A symposium was organised to allow these researchers to share about their work and expertise to academics, governmental agencies, and interested members of the public. This is our first collobrative venture with CEED, with the aims of enhancing environmental decision science making capacity in both institutions. We look forward to many more fruitful discussions and collaborations with CEED in the coming months!


20 April: Clare's research is in the News!


Clare Wilkinson (ICL-NUS PhD student) found a significant association between land-use change and freshwater fish species and functional richness loss in Sabah, Malaysia. Her research has been published in Biological Conservation, and this was picked up and highlighted in science news websites, European Scientist, ScienceDaily, Mongabay, and featured in the Dispatches section of the Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment journal. Her research is also highlighted in the ICL website. Congratulations Clare!


8 August: Freshwater crab conservation work gains national recognition


Dr. Darren Yeo is part of the Freshwater crab conservation working group that received a Minister’s Award (Team) at the Ministry of National Development (MND) National Day Observance Ceremony. The award recognises the group's conservation work on the critically endangered, endemic Singapore freshwater crab, Johora singaporensis. As one of the world’s 100 most threatened species, research and conservation management is vital for preserving the species. Recent breakthroughs include the first successful hatching of crablets in captivity , and the translocation of a batch of them into an environmentally-suitable stream habitat . The group was led by the Singapore National Parks Board (NParks), with representatives from the Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The award is one of 15 awards given out to projects across MND and one of two awarded projects from NParks. Congratulations!


13 December: Kenny wins another student oral presentation speaker award!


Kenny was awarded his second Best Student Oral Presentation award at the 2nd Philippine Symposium on Freshwater Biodiversity and Ecosystems. This time, he presented his a component of his PhD work, which investigated the functional diversity of Sundaland fishes. Congratulations Kenny!



18 December: We have ourselves a fish doctor!


Bi Wei defended his thesis on 18th December 2018. His PhD involved the investigation of the of the invasion biology of a highly invasive, yet poorly studied fish, the African sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus, in Southeast Asia. His studies traced the catfish's invasion genomics, elucidated establishment determinants, predicted its range expansion, provided quantitative evidence of its trophic competition with native congeners, and demonstrated how its impacts may be underestimated, given the cryptic diversity of the native congener, Clarias batrachus species complex. Clearly, more must be done to resolve the taxonomy of the native congeners, while informing the immediate need to manage the spread and impacts of this nuisance species. Congratulations Dr. Low!


19 December: And another PhD student wins an oral presentation award!


Darren was the first runner-up for the Best Student Oral Presentation award in the Biodiversity, Ecology and Environmental Biology Category during the 23rd Biological Sciences Graduate Congress. He presented his research on alleopathy as a potential mechanism in which macrophytes utilise to alter phytoplankton communities in tropical lakes. Congratuations Darren!



Current/Recent Collaborators

We had several visiting researchers/collaborators in 2018, including:


2017


27 July: AIASSEA was a success!


Together with colleagues from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and our volunteers, the FIB lab had successfully organised the Aquatic Invasive Alien Species in Southeast Asia (AIASSEA) Symposium. It was a two-day long session that brought together the region's invasive species/ecology academics and international researchers to synthesise, update and share current knowledge, ongoing research, and potential opportunities in AIASSEA. We hope the symposium was a fruitful one for all those involved!


18 August: Watch about threatened crab conservation, Wild We Can


Lab alumnus, Dr. Daniel Ng was featured in a documentary showcasing Singapore's role in local and international species conservation. Here, he sheds light on the efforts to save the endemic Johora singaporensis, Singapore freshwater crab, which is amongst the top 100 most threatened species in the world. Catch his story here!


30 August: Showcasing research on reservoir sustainability and restoration


Dr. Maxine Mowe (person in centre of photo) and Dr. Jeffrey Kwik (2nd person to the right) were at the sustainABLE NUS Showcase, an inaugural two-day event organised by NUS Faculty of Science to showcase research and education programmes aimed to promote city sustainability. Both FIBbers shared about the lab's research collaborations with PUB, the National Water Agency, where we conduct research on Singapore's reservoir sustainability and restoration using environmentally- and ecologically-friendly approaches. Learn more about the event here!


17 November: We have another Doctor!


Yiwen defended his thesis on 17th November 2017. His PhD involved the investigation of the natural and human-mediated interactions between freshwater crabs and crayfish. He provided quantiative evidence of how widespread introduction of non-indigenous crayfish species increases the chances for (human-mediated) inter-taxa interaction and competition to occur between these usually non-overlapping taxa, with some crayfish species predicted to spread and negatively impacting a disproportionately high number of freshwater crab species in Southeast Asia regardless of future climate scenarios. Predation as well as competition for shelter were found to be likely mechanisms for such impacts. These findings thus inform our understanding of the role that biotic factors can play in biogeographical processes, shed light to the functionally-similar inter-taxa interactions, as well as the development and implementation of conservation strategies for the highly diverse yet threatened native freshwater crabs. Congratulations Dr. Zeng!


21 December: And the Runner-up for Best Oral Presentation goes to...


Rayson, who started his PhD this year, was awarded the runner-up for Best Oral Presentation in the Biodiversity, Ecology and Environmental Biology Category during the 22nd Biological Sciences Graduate Congress. He presented his work on using Bayesian Belief Networks for food web biomanipulation studies. Congratuations Rayson!


Current/Recent Collaborators

2017 was another busy year with several visiting researchers/collaborators, including:


2016


27 February: Conservation status of freshwater fishes - How do you assess them?


Photo by Tan Heok Hui.

From 24–27 February 2016, a few members of the FIB lab, together with colleages from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, organised a workshop to discuss, and equip freshwater fish researchers, experts and conservationists on assessing the conservation status of freshwater fish species in the Sundaic region.


3 March: Improving water security through research


Dr. Maxine Mowe's research on cyanobacteria growth patterns and toxin production was featured in a documentary showcasing research that contributes to the nation's sustainability. Her findings have implications on water management strategies, such as in water quality monitoring. Catch her here!


26 March: Sharing about the wonders of local aquatic biodiversity


The FIB lab had a booth in Singapore World Water Day, where they shared about Singapore's freshwater habitats and wildlife to the public. Many were curious and surprised by the freshwater biodiversity that Singapore has!

World Water Day (22 March) celebrates the importance of water sustainability. Singapore celebrates the event by organising activities and exhibitions to rally our community to show their appreciation for water, and reinforce the importance of adopting water conservation practices.



10 June: Biwei wins another Best Student Oral Presenter award!


PhD student, Low Bi Wei, won the Best Student Oral Presenter award for his research presentation on clarifying the taxonomy of ‘Clarias batrachus’ during the Southeast Asia 1st Philippine Freshwater Symposium on Freshwater Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Well done Bi Wei!


2 July: Symposia on tropical forest streams and swamps



The lab was also involved in organising a symposium session, Tropical Forest Streams and Freshwater Swamps: Ecology, Hydrology and Conservation, during Conservation Asia 2016. The symposium focused on the following key aspects:

1) Ecological and hydrological baselines of tropical forest streams and freshwater swamp forest;
2) Causes and impacts of degradation requiring conservation interventions; and
3) Case studies for stream and swamp forest restoration options, implementations and management.

A total of 20 speakers, ranging from international and local researchers to agency representatives, presented their work on the biodiversity, ecology, hydrology, threats and conservation of these habitats, with the aim to disseminate information and raise awareness of tropical forest streams and freshwater swamps to researchers, students, planners, managers, relevant/interested government agencies, and conservationists.



13 July: Not crusty, but all smiles at The Crustacean Society conference


Together with our crustacean researcher colleagues and our volunteers, the FIB lab had successfully organised the first major crustacean science meeting in Singapore, The Crustacean Society Mid-Year Meeting.

We are also pleased that our undergraduate students, Claudia Tan and Khaizar Shakir, won the Best Student Oral and Best Poster Presentation awards respectively for their presentations at the meeting. Claudia presented on her research on the ecological and behavioural interactions between a non-native and native freshwater shrimp (Macrobrachium spp.), while Khaizar presented his research on the potential effects of non-native crayfish on a native freshwater crab in Singapore. Congratulations to the both of you!



14 July: Immersing the global water industry in the world of plankton


Members of FIB lab were at the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) event to showcase plankton diversity in our fresh waters.

The Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) is a biennial global event held in Singapore, wherestakeholders from the global water industry gather to share best practices, showcase the latest technologies, co-create innovative water solutions.



21 July: Here comes Dr. Liew


July was also the month where we have our second doctor: Jia Huan successfully defended his PhD thesis on this day, which involved the study of the trophic ecology of tropical reservoir freshwater communities. Congratulations Dr. Liew!


26 November: And...here comes Dr. Ng!


Snail boss Ting Hui, defended her PhD, which involved the investigation of the origins and ecology of introduced freshwater gastropods in Singapore, with focus of the ecology and impacts of Ampullaridae family on native congeners. Congratulations Dr. Ng!


Current/Recent Collaborators

We had a few international researchers/collaborators visiting the lab this year, including:


2015


May: Conservation Strategy for the Singapore freshwater crab is out!


The Singapore freshwater crab, Johora singaporensis is one of the three known species of crabs endemic to Singapore, listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and amongst the top 100 most threatened species worldwide. Its population was found to be declining, sparking concern.

In 2013, a two-year research programme was started to monitor the population and condition of the species and inhabiting sites, identify potential locations for population augmentation through translocation, and to recommend conservation management actions.

An inaugural Freshwater Crab Conservation Roundtable meeting was convened in 2014 to discuss and develop a species conservation strategy for this endemic species. Known as the “Conservation Strategy for the Singapore freshwater crab Johora singaporensis”, the document was made available online this month, listing the problems and threats faced by this species and providing evidence-based guidelines and directions for ongoing and future conservation management efforts. A working group led by NParks was formed to implement the Singapore Freshwater Crab Conservation strategy.

The FIB Lab works closely with the National Parks Board and Wildlife Reserves Singapore to implement a long term population enhancement and monitoring programme, and a species breeding programme.



26 October: Our first Doctor!


Maxine defended her PhD, involved the study the effects of differing light, temperature and nutrients on the growth and toxin production of toxic cyanobacteria. Congratulations Dr. Mowe!

Current/Recent Collaborators

2015 was a busy year with several visiting researchers/collaborators, including:


2014


13 February: We have our first oral presentation speaker!


Bi Wei, one of our PhD students, was awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation award at the Asian Fish Biodiversity Conference. He presented his research work on how a notorius invasive catfish, Clarias batrachus, is being threatened by another invader, Clarias gariepinus, in its native range. Congratulations Bi Wei!


27 February: Managing aquatic invasives and restoring coastlines in face of climate change

Speakers presenting their research during the symposium. Photos by Lee Bee Yan.

The FIB lab teamed up with the Experimental Marine Ecology lab to organise the Climate Change Adaptation: Aquatic Invasives and Coastal Restoration Symposium from 26-27 February 2014. A total of 27 speakers, ranging from leading international experts, local researchers and agencies gave keynote and/or short presentations on aquatic invasives and coastal restoration research and management strategies.

We hope that the talks were useful in disseminating knowledge, sharing practices and sparking ideas/collaborations in the field.



28 March: Banding together to conserve the Singapore freshwater crab


The Singapore freshwater crab, Johora singaporensis, is one of the three known species of crabs endemic to Singapore, listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and amongst the top 100 most threatened species worldwide. Its population was found to be declining, sparking concern.

The Freshwater Crab Conservation Roundtable meeting was convened in 2014, bringing together researchers, international and local institutions with crab conservation expertise, members of governmental agencies, and NGOs. This intense, three-day closed-door session gathered valuable feedback and perspectives from a wide range of stakeholders, increasing awareness and knowledge of the species. The roundable also facillitated future collaborations, communication and relationship-building among relevant organisations, easing co-ordination of J. singaporensis conservation efforts.

Based on the discussions and recommendations during the session, a conservation strategy (now online), will be published. It provides holistic and structured guidelines and directions on Johora singaporensis conservation management.



23 August: Congrats to our first undergraduate oral presentation speaker!


Kenny was awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation award at the 8th International Crustacean Conference. He presented his research work on the Habitat characterization of freshwater crab (Decapoda: Brachyura) in Singapore, which he undertook as a second-year undergraduate student. Congratulations Kenny!


30 October: And...our second best graduate speaker!


Just two months after Kenny, Maxine, one of our PhD students, was awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation award at the 28th Annual Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany (ASPAB) Meeting. She presented one of her chapters which investigated the effects of temperature on the growth and toxin production of Microcystis ichthyoblabe and M. flos-aquae isolated from tropical Singapore. Congratulations Maxine!


November: Interested in learning about cyanobacteria? Head down to LKCNHM!


Maxine is featured in one of the interactive video exhibitions in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, where she talks about cyanobacteria and the need to conduct research on them. Head down to LKCNHM to hear what she has to say, and visit the other exhibits as well!


Current/Recent Collaborators

Simon Mitrovic (University of Technology, Sydney) visited us this year.


2013


14 July: Bringing the world of plankton to you!


Maxine was at the Festival of Biodiversity introducing members of the public to the tiny, often overlooked world of plankton. This garnered the attention of many individuals, including then president Dr. Tony Tan!

The Festival of Biodiversity is an annual public event organised by the National Parks Board in collaboration with the Biodiversity Roundtable. By bringing specimens, exhibitions, talks and workshops to the heartlands, the festival aims to create awareness and foster a sense of appreciation for our natural heritage.



19 September: Our first time at Singapore International Water Week!


One of our undergraduate students, Terrence, was at the Singapore International Water Week to showcase plankton diversity in Singapore's freshwater habitats.

The Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) is a biennial global event held in Singapore, wherestakeholders from the global water industry gather to share best practices, showcase the latest technologies, co-create innovative water solutions.



Current/Recent Collaborators

2013 was a busy year with several visiting researchers/collaborators, including:


2012


Current/Recent Collaborators

We had a few visiting researchers/collaborators this year, including:


2011


Current/Recent Collaborators

We had a few visiting researchers/collaborators this year, including: