Assistant Professor

Ph.D. from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Joined NUS: 1 January, 2008

Contact Information:
Department of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4, Block S3
Singapore, 117543
Ph: (+65) 6516 2858 (lab)
E-mail: rokrok@nus.edu.sg

Teaching Areas

ULS 2204 Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
LSM 3272 Global Change Biology
MW5201 Topics in Science Communication

Research Areas

Evolutionary Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Biogeography, Conservation, Herpetology, Systematics, Tropical Biology

Research Interests

The Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Lab is a multi-faceted lab with a variety of interests and study topics, focusing on amphibian and reptile ecology, evolution, and conservation. Goals include description and explanation of Southeast Asian biodiversity, with interests reflecting behavior, evolution, systematics, biogeography, ecology, and conservation.

My lab is dedicated to scientific exploration, evocative research, and conservation of biodiversity, and much of our research focuses on reptiles and amphibians, their ecology and evolution, understanding adaptive radiations, and biogeography. We approach questions from an organismal and evolutionary perspective and use methods from behavioral ecology, comparative biology, and biological inventory and monitoring. We incorporate observations and experiments to answer behavioral and ecological questions in the field, model study organisms for environmental monitoring, and molecules to elucidate evolutionary relationships.

Current and future projects focus on:

  1. comparing historical collections to modern day collections at the same sites to determine if range shifts driven by climate change are happening on tropical mountains.

  2. comparing tropical stream and forest assemblages of frogs across the archipelago and mainland with many questions in mind (systematics, cryptic speciation, species assemblage rules, community and assemblage structure, habitat specialization, and species assemblage influences on reproduction, survival, and microhabitat partitioning).

  3. monitoring assemblage changes through the effects of logging, different forest management strategies, disturbance, fragmentation, and access to breeding sites.

  4. determining the most important local, regional, and global drivers of extinction risk and
    measuring the relative importance of those drivers across a range of different environmental and biotic gradients with the end goal being a more comprehensive and sensible conservation strategy for amphibians.

Brief Academic History:

B.A., Biology and Philosophy (Honors in Biology), Macalester College, St. Paul, MN. 1991
Ph.D. Biology. University of Miami. Advisor - Jay M. Savage. 2001
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Miami, 2002-2003
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas, 2003-2005
Research Fellow, National University of Singapore, 2006-Present

Notable Awards:

Bacardi Young Conservationist Award, Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2006
Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, 1999-2000.
Gaige Award, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 1995.
Fulbright Scholar (Costa Rica), 1991.
Angell Prize for Excellence in Biology, Macalester College, 1991.
Eagle Scout, 1985.
World Conservation Award, 1984. 

Selected Publications:

  1. Bickford, D., S. D. Howard, D. J. J. Ng and J. A. Sheridan.  2010.  Impacts of climate change on the amphibians and reptiles of Southeast Asia.  Biodiversity and Conservation.  In Press. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-010-9782-4

  2. Warkentin, I.G., D. Bickford, N. S. Sodhi, C.J.A. Bradshaw.  2009.  Eating Frogs to Extinction.  Conservation Biology, 23 (4): 1056-1059.

  3. Bickford, D., D.T. Iskandar and A. Barlian. 2008.  First lungless frog found on Borneo. Current Biology Vol 18, R374-R375.

  4. Bickford, D., D.J. Lohman, N.S. Sodhi, P.K. Ng, R. Meier, K. Winker, K. Ingram, and I. Das. 2007. Cryptic species as a window on diversity and conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 148-155.

  5. Bickford, D. 2004. Differential parental care behaviors of arboreal and terrestrial microhylid frogs from Papua New Guinea. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 55: 402-409.

  6. Bickford, D. 2002. Male Parenting of New Guinea Froglets. Nature 418: 601-602.