DBS 70th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, Fri 6th Dec 2019 – calling all alumni and former staff of Biological Sciences, Botany and Zoology

Visit the NUS DBS webpage for details. Posterdbs70


Immobility will ruin us so let’s walk! (Ridge Walks 2019)

Kent Ridge is a lovely backyard to have in NUS, and we have conducted many natural history and heritage walks there. Being part of the Southern Ridges, a walk of some 9km walk will take you from NUS to Harbour Front. So we also have a landscape for a work out! 

But we are all so busy. And many of our fellow NUS staffers are in the same boat. A number of NUS staff are able to make it at the official knock off time of 5.30pm on Fridays, so a few of us – Kenneth, Airani, Weiting, Joleen and myself, began rousing some away from their desks in 2016. Last semester’s plans fell apart, due to many deadlines, volunteer and stakeholder appointments. This semester,  we are making a valiant effort too reinitiate this. 

And so we are offering these Friday briskwalks:

  1. Fri 6 Sep 2019 (YIH to Hort Park; ~5km)
  2. Fri 27 Sep 2019 (YIH to Harbourfront MRT; ~8km)
  3. Fri 18 Oct 2019 (YIH to Hort Park; ~5km)
  4. Fri 8 Nov 2019 (YIH to Hort Park; ~5km)
  5. Fri 15 Nov 2019 (YIH to Harbourfront MRT; ~8km)

All are welcome. Just check the NUS Toddycats Eventbrite page for details and registration.  


Click for the larger image

90% reduction of PDF file size with good image quality at the free wecompress site

Back in April, after my jcolas filters failed in macOS Mojave, I was unable to compress PDFs and retain image quality. I tried tweaking the ColorSync Utility to do this, but despite my efforts, no joy this time. Then I brushed away the nonsense written about Preview’s PDF reduction capabilities, and finally found the free http://wecompress.com site.


A quick drag and drop and I was presented with a 90% reduction of my 121MB PDF. And just as importantly, the compressed document retained good image quality. Just what I needed as I had to send the file to a bunch of people.


I did explore a couple of other apps, and Lightweight PDF, which is free, was note bad, achieving nearly 50% reduction of the same file.

Since I regularly compress and distribute PDFs of image-intense presentations to a hundred or so students (and usually in the middle of the night), I forked out the $45 fee for NXPowerLite Desktop 8 – that’s per user, not computer. And I’ve been happy ever since – drag and drop, and click “Optimise” – and a lot of pain to receiving students is prevented.  



NXPowerLite app works on both macOS or Windows. 

Sat 6th July 2019: 11.00am – 12.30pm @ NLB – Public Talk on Mangroves by Prof Joe Lee and Panel Discussion

This past week, we have been hosting the 5th international Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management meeting (MMM5) which saw researchers, practitioners and NGOs from across the world engage in extensive discussions and visit field sites in Singapore and Johor. As a result, we are able to organise a Public Talk and Forum about mangroves, which we all love and try to protect, at National Library this Saturday.

Prof Joe Lee is an excellent speaker who draws clinically on global mangrove research. His conference Keynote was already very clear!
His lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with several mangrove scientists so this is the place to ask any question about mangroves and their management.

Join us on Saturday 6th July 2019: 11.00am – 1230 at National Library (Victoria Street).
Admission is free, and all are welcome so let your friends know.
Just register to let organisers know, at https://tiny.cc/mangrove_public_forum

Click to see the PDF
Screenshot 542

Thu 16 May 2019: 12.00pm @ NUS S1A – Lunch time talk by Dr Ravi Chellam on “Conservation management of Asiatic Lions of India”

Dr Ravi Chellam is in town and we are pleased to have welcomed him to share with us the conservation challenges of the famous Gir Lions of India. The lunch time talk and discussion will be held on Thu 16 May 2019 at NUS. All are welcome – just turn up! 

Click for the PDFravi_chellam-nusdbs

The venue is at the S1A Seminar Room, next to LT32 at Science Drive 4. Screenshot 363


Two public talks on wild cats of Asia in May: Dr. Lingyun Xiao (snow leopards in China) & Dr Ravi Chellam (Asiatic lions in India)

Two public talks brought to you by the  Singapore Wildcat Action Group
@ the Singapore Sustainability Academy, #6-10 City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road, S208359

The Singapore Wildcats Action Group (Vilma D’Rozario et al) were inspired by the MyCat walks in Malaysia and have organised to take action. This includes series of public lectures beginning with these by Dr. Lingyun Xiao on snow leopards in China and Dr Ravi Chellam on Asiatic lions in India. Registration is required at the peatix links below.

Sunday 12 May 2019: 1.00pm – Wildcat Lecture #1: Tracking the Elusive Snow Leopard in China by Dr. Lingyun Xiao (Beijing University)
On Sunday, 12th May, Dr. Lingyun Xiao from the Life Science Centre of Beijing University will share her research on the status of China’s snow leopards. Dr. Xiao is also the Scientific Consultant to Shan Shui Conservation Centre, an organization that promotes snow leopard eco-tourism in The Valley of the Cats. Through her presentation, we hope to raise awareness of the plight that snow leopards face and learn how average citizens can play a role in conserving this iconic wildcat. Of special note is her work with the local community that helps to monitor the status of snow leopards that live in wild habitats around them. For more information and to register for this free lecture, please visit  https://wildcatsoftheworld1.peatix.com/.

Wildcat 1 Wildcat 2

Fri 17 May 2019: 7.00pm – Wildcat Lecture #2: For the Love of Asiatic Lions — 30 Years of Experience in India by Dr Ravi Chellam
On Friday, 17th May, Dr. Ravi Chellam, CEO of the Metastring Foundation, will present his research on the Asiatic lion. Dr. Chellam brings with him 30 years of experience studying and conserving the wild lions of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in India. In this richly illustrated talk, Dr. Chellam will trace the conservation history of lions; describe their current status and priority conservation actions needed; explain the Asiatic lion’s ecology; and refer to his personal experiences since 1985 in what has been a fantastic but often frustrating journey. For more information and to register for this free lecture, please visit https://wildcatsoftheworld2.peatix.com/.

Thanks to Vilma for the notification.

Remembering Dr Ong Bee Lian with the “Dr Ong Bee Lian – Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) Bursary Award” (raising funds by 15th Mar 2019)

Very happy they have initiated this bursary in memory of a very caring educator.

The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS

OBL memorial photoWhen we shared the passing of Dr Ong Bee Lian, former students from over three decades at NUS shared their memories of her inspiring figure, her days in lectures and practicals, and strikingly, her nurturing mentorship and kindness in her various roles as lecturer, administrator, mentor and friend [link].

Now, I am happy to share that Friends of Dr Ong Bee Lian at the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) & Food Science and Technology Programme (FST), NUS have announced the initiation of a bursary in her name, and invite contributions very fittingly to help needy students in DBS & FST.

Their deadline is 15 Mar 2019.

“The Department of Biological Sciences together with Food Science and Technology Programme are initiating a bursary award for the late Dr Ong Bee Lian. Dr Ong was an exemplary and dedicated educator who was passionate about teaching. She was well liked by…

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