Blood, sweat and tears – 50+ research students since Chek Jawa

One aspect of teaching is the supervision of research students. And I now see I have worked with some 50 honours (final or fourth year), UROPS (mostly third year, some second year) and a sprinkling of MSc research students since after the events surrounding Chek Jawa in 2001.

It is a trickle, mostly comradely assitance of unlisted individuals before the floodgates open when I move from Raffles Museum back to the department to do full-time teaching in 2007.

In the absence of a lab, the students and I have had to be competent at communicating digitally – which has been good training for their future and which promotes independence. Many have experienced a nomadic existence in the department and will know how to survive as a backpacker in s strange land. Over the years, I have had to beg, borrow and steal space and will continue to try to secure permanent space for these research students. It will certainly enhance their experience, even if I am not around to make them suffer (no pain no gain!)

Despite this, the students have contributed to a variety of topics on faunal and mangrove ecology, and more recently, awareness and conflict. And we’ve even begun to examine a common palm fruit which our common palm civets eat, finally responding to a motivation unveiled in 2001.

Otterman Holt

I have been updating my folder of pdfs for students to access and build on, identifying papers to work on, and ensuring we’ve done the relevant follow-up with managers. Thankfully I have been particular about the end of project “data dump”, so the pdfs are safe in Dropbox or the server which the Faculty of Science has provided me with since 1999.

Some of the old material needs some tweaking and coercion to fit into a pdf document, and this has become much easier now with OS X Mavericks’s Preview – one of the reasons I became an early adopter!

The names and projects is a list of blood, sweat and tears by students who have certainly learnt many life lessons in the process and I’ve meant it to be primary a learning process as teaching is my focus. And in the process they have made useful contributions in research, educated peers and juniors, many have raised raised public awareness through Raffles Museum Toddycats and I have used their work extensively in management and conservation.

I’ve posted the list in tab on this blog called Otterman’s Holt. May they live long and prosper.

Marcus Chua’s lecture in the Tropical Conservation class

Marcus Chua who completed his MSc last year and set to join the Raffles Museum is guest lecturer at Mingko’s (Mary Rose Posa) LSM4262 Tropical Conservation biology class today.

Being part of the Otterman Holt since his honours year, he is no stranger to communicating his work, and has spoken about mouse deer, leopard cats, biodiversity on Pulau Ubin at private sessions with OBS, NParks, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, URA and NUS.

He has also presented at public sessions through An Evening of Biodiversity (NUS), the Biodiversity Symposium of Singapore (NUS), the Nature Conservation for a Sustainable Singapore (NSS) and the 11th International Mammalogical Congress at Belfast.

This is the first time in class. His numerous engagements with the public through the Raffles Museum Toddycats will have helped prepare him. Hope the class is energetic!

Have fun Marcus!

20140211 marcus chua tropconclass

Photo by Xu Weiting.

International Day of Biodiversity 2014: Showcasing biodiversity research in Singapore (NParks & NUS; 24 May 2014)

20140211 BRS2014

In celebration of the International Day of Biodiversity, the NUS Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Student Society and National Biodiversity Centre will be hosting the first Biodiversity Research Symposium on the 24 May 2014.

“The symposium is directed to showcase recent research conducted in Singapore. Speakers representing a variety of research interests will present their research in different sessions exploring four themes”:

  • Ecology
  • Systematics, Taxonomy and Diversity
  • Applied Research
  • Social issues, Policy and Management

Details at
Register for updates here.