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Mon 11 Jan 2010

New guide books from the Singapore Science Centre: Mosses and Sponges

Category : books

The natural history guide book series has just added two titles to the range - "A Guide to the Mosses of Singapore" and "A Guide to Sponges of Singapore". The books are useful in planning a walk or field trip as the colour photographs and illustrations make identification easy. Both students and educators would find the guides useful and also interesting in finding more about nature.

The books are available for sale at $5.35 (Mosses) and $6.42 (Sponges) at the Science Centre's Curiosity Shop as well as major bookshops.

Display at SSC, 19-31 Jan 2010
In conjunction with the guidebook launch, a special display of mosses and sponges will be open to the public at the Science Centre from 19-31 January 2010. Visitors will have the opportunity to see some different types of mosses found in Singapore, as well as some interesting sponges.

The SSC guidebook series was initiated in 1981 is in response to the paucity of educational material then on the local flora and fauna. Approximately 160 pages in length, these compact and rugged books contain a wealth of information well-illustrated by many colourful photographs and extremely handy in the field. They are intended for both science teachers, students and nature lovers. A total of 43 guidebooks have been published up to date.

A Guide to the Mosses of Singapore
By Benito C. Tan and Ho Boon-Chuan

"Mosses, like other members of bryophytes, are generally small and inconspicuous plants that are hardly noticed and appreciated by the layman. However, the term "mosses" is sometimes misused and misinterpreted by many people, even those who have the basic knowledge of plant diversities."

Find out what true moss plants are from this extensive guide to the mosses found in Singapore. Estimated to consist of well over 10,000 species, mosses are the second largest plant group of land plants today after the flowering plants. About 2,000 species of mosses occur in Southeast Asia. Surprisingly two moss species were newly discovered from Singapore, that are known to the island only.

Although most mosses stands between 1–4 cm tall, the tallest moss plant, Dawsonia, can be more than half a metre tall; conversely one of the smallest mosses, Ephemeropsis, has a plant body that is reduced to merely a small mass of filamentous protonema.

Mosses are important plants used by man in many ways, such as medicinally in China, as fuel in Europe, and as pillow stuffing in Malaysia. Some semi-aquatic mosses, such as species of Vesicularia and Taxiphyllum, are popular aquarium plants around the world and some command high prices.


A Guide to Sponges of Singapore
By Lim Swee Cheng, Tan Koh Siang Nicole de Voogd

"What is a sponge? Is it a plant, or an animal? Some of us may not have seen a live sponge in Singapore waters, or recognize one when we see one, although we are familiar with their texture, which is sometimes not very different from the kitchen sponge. Living sponges are certainly animals,but superficially look more like plants. "

Fixed on the seabed and frequently on man-made structures, sponges appear in many different shapes and are often brightly-coloured. Singapore is rich in sponge diversity with more than 200 species recorded from our shores and new ones still being discovered.

This guide includes sponges that are common in Singapore waters which the authors photographed sponges before collection and identification so the guide is a realistic one!

Previously little information has been available on the diversity, abundance and distribution of sponges in Singapore. This guidebook is a welcome addition to the series and provides a wealth of information for students, scientists, naturalists and interested layman. "

Thanks to Anne Dhanaraj at Singapore Science Centre.

Posted at 6:02AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news