Natural history news for the busy Singaporean
- highlighting talks, books, events and issues, in nature, biology and the environment.

Home - NUS - RMBR

Subscribe for the 'day after' email summary!

Mammal Records
Click to submit

Fauna & Flora Records
Click to submit

International Year of Biodiversity 2010

Click to find out more


The Biodiversity Crew
biodiversity research
@ the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS

Raffles Museum Toddycats

* News
* Parliament
* Terrestrial & Freshwater
* Marine
* Coastal Cleanup
* Environment
* Heritage
* Animal welfare
* Wildlife trade

* Events & Activities
* Talks & Seminars
* TV & Radio
* Books

* Articles - Photos
* Internet - Software
* Archives (2000-2003)
* Archives (2004-)
* About - Errata

Subscribe to the
monthly newsletter

Events in Singapore

What's On

* Raffles Museum News
* NUS Biodiversity
* WildSingapore News
* EcoNews (regional)

* Habitatnews
* Ecotax

Mailing Lists
* Nature Singapore
* Singapore Heritage

By Habitatnews

* Pulau Ubin Stories
* Labrador Park
* The Biology Refugia
* Otterman speaks
* Cycling in Singapore

By others
* Wild Shores of Singapore*WS*
* Pulau Hantu Blog
* Bird Ecology*NSS*
* Wild Lives(NDP2004)*WS*
* More...


* Marine Life here?
* Pulau Hantu Blog
* Southern Shores*WS*
* Mandai Mangroves * Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin

* Changi Heritage
* Kent Ridge Heritage
* Sembawang Heritage
* Pulau Ubin stories

* Mangroves of Singapore
* Coral Reefs of Singapore

Strategies and Plans
* Sustainable Development Blueprint
* IYOR Blue Plan


For general feedback about policies: go to REACH

Sembawang Tides:
Today, 2009 (iCal available)
Weather (NEA)

Local Groups/Sites


N. Sivasothi,
a.k.a. Otterman,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

Made on a Mac with
Claris Home Page 3.0.
Blog engine: Samizdat,
based on PHPosxom,
based on Blosxom.

What is a weblog?
Start your own.

Get Firefox!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Archives - Nature Links - Submit Mammal Records - Blog RSS Feed - Comments RSS - Email me

Tue 21 Jul 2015

Announcing the 4th Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium, Sat 01 Aug 2015 – 24 five-minute presentations and 30 posters!

Category : events

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is pleased to announce the Fourth Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium (BoSS IV) to be held on Saturday, 1st of August 2015: 8.00 am – 4:30 pm. The symposium will be held at UTown Auditorium 2 (Stephen Riady Centre) at the National University of Singapore.

We are really pleased that our Guest of Honour gracing the event is the Minister of State for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee who has been very active in this arena.

BoSS IV showcases a cohort of young and passionate folks who have stepped up to study and champion various aspects of Singapore’s biodiversity in four, one hour-long sessions. 24 speakers will excite you through snappy five-minute presentations with news and developments in the field. And we just had to include a special update about the Singapore Whale.

The symposium tradition is maintained with two hour-long teas featuring 30 posters, and of course sumptuous food to promote interaction and collaboration! Programme details can be viewed at https://biodiversitysg4.wordpress.com.

There is a registration fee is $10 for adults and $6 for students (includes grad students!) Please register at https://biodiversitysg4.wordpress.com/registration, which has cash, electronic and cheque payment options.

Do inform colleagues, friends and acquaintances who may enjoy this interesting approach to getting quickly acquainted with some aspects of biodiversity research and education in Singapore.

Biodiversity symposia in Singapore, 2003 - 2015

  • "The Future of Marine Science in Singapore." Wed 27 May 2015 [link]
  • "An Evening of Biodiversity: The Secret Lives of Mammals in Singapore." Wed 16 Apr 2014. [link]
  • "Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat Workshop." 31 Aug 2013. [link]
  • "The Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III" 24 Sep 2011. [link]
  • "An Evening of Biodiversity: Zoological Explorations in Singapore." Fri 16 Apr 2010. [link]
  • "The Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium II." 22 May 2007. [link]
  • "The Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium I." 11-12 Jul 2003. [link]

Posted at 6:13PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 08 May 2015

Wed 27 May 2015 @ NUS U Town ­ "The Future of Marine Science in Singapore"

Category : events

"The Future of Marine Science in Singapore"
Wed 27 May 2015: 9.00am – 5.00pm

UTown Auditorium 2 (Stephen Riady Centre),
University Town, NUS [How to get here]

Please register at tinyurl.com/tmsi-fmss

Posted at 7:12AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 01 Aug 2013

The "Marine Life and the Impact of Plastics" lecture (Sat 03 Aug 2013) and the Post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup (Sat 10 Aug 2013)

Category : coastalcleanup

Sat 03 Aug 2013 @ NUS LT 32
"The Marine Life and the Impact of Plastics lecture"

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Coordinator N. Sivasothi aka Otterman will regale the audience with fascinating tales of local marine life in Singapore including recent records and local programmes which help to protect these animals.

He will highlight the impact of marine debris and plastics in particular, drawing from a field of scientific research and data from cleanups from around the world. This is the 22nd year of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore, and he will discuss what the data tells us.

Should we give up? Is the problem insurmountable? Have we made any progress? Hear the discussion about local solutions, methods which have worked at cleanups and at practises at work.

Be a part of national effort to be considerate to the environment and to love Singapore a little more!

Saturday 03 August 2013: 9.00am – 11.00pm
Lecture Theatre 32 [map], National University of Singapore.

Take SBS Bus 95 from Buona Vista MRT.
park at Car Park 10 or University Hall, off Lower Kent Ridge Road.

Please REGISTER at tinyurl.com/iccs-lecture



NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris



NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

ICCS Data 2011

Saturday 10 Aug 2013 @ Lim Chu Kang mangrove
The Post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup

Celebrate our National Day by joining the annual mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang!

Saturday, 10th August 2013: 0745 (bus pick up) - 1100 (return)
Sign up by Wed 7th Aug 2013 at the
ICCS News webpage

Lim Chu Kang mangrove is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. The mangrove has educated decades of students and it holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore. In 2008, it was revealed that the Sungei Buloh Master Plan would include the Lim Chu Kang mangroves.

Trash from the Johor Straits deposits on this Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove regularly and various individuals and groups help to tackle this burden through organised cleanup throughout the year. The post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup is an important exercise which helps protect and maintain this precious patch of mangrove.

We'll provide gloves and transport, you come with a strong heart and eager hands to do a good job. For details and to sign up, check the announcement on ICCS News.

Objectives and Safety Briefing at Lim Chu Kang Road end

Get into action immediately!



Weighing trash

Disposal of trash
Pre-NDP Lim Chu Kang Mangrove Cleanup 2011

Summary of the morning's effort and debrief
Pre-NDP Lim Chu Kang Mangrove Cleanup 2011

Posted at 5:18AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 15 Mar 2013

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore: Invitation for Organisers to register and the Recruitment for Volunteer Coordinators

Category : coastalcleanup

The International Coastal Cleanup is an annual data-collecting exercise conducted in some 70 countries around the world. The progamme in Singapore (ICCS) sees some 60 organisations lead 4,000 volunteers to hit the beaches in September to collect, categorise and dispose of marine trash affecting our shores.

Participants learn the issues affecting our seas first hand and experienced Organisers take it further - they educate participants about marine life of Singapore, impacts to our oceans, examine the national and international data and grapple with the curse of single-use consumer plastic. They consider how to reduce use and disposal for recycling. Action in daily life is a powerful avenue to lead to larger scale solutions.


Registration for Organisers

Registration by veteran and new Organisers alike for the 2013 programme was announced last week. See the details at the ICCS News blog.

The ICCS Otters who coordinate the programme meet on 22 Mar 2013 to begin the Site Allocation Exercise. They are a small group of dedicated people who have been volunteering with ICCS for up to a decade or more.

They conduct site recces, map locations and register organisations, liase with NEA and NParks, conduct workshops for Organisers, host the annual ICCS Lecture, collate the national data and facilitate and organise cleanups year round.

They work efficiently and try to keep individual work load to a manageable amount, balancing work and volunteering efforts. With the programme, they are efficient and responsive. Meetings and emails are kept to a minimum to prevent burn outs, and the team is able make a long-term contribution.

Recruitment for Coordinators

Every year, recruitment is conducted for Site Buddies and Site Captains and the 2013 recruitment has just been announced. This year the search is on for volunteer coordinators as well.

If this sounds like this is up your alley, see the ICCS News blog for details.

Kelly Ong, Pandan Site Captain since 2008

ICCS Chek Jawa South, 2012

Posted at 7:37AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sat 03 Dec 2011

If you go for ONE talk this year, this is it: Ria Tan's "Secret Shores of Singapore" talk is unparalleled and she speaks from the heart.

Category : talks

National Geographic Singapore Store2014Exhibits

Ria Tan of Wild Singapore and Wild Shores of Singapore speaks TODAY (Sat 03 Dec 2011: 2.30pm) at The National Geographic Store at VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk, #01-19 [website]

She says,

"No need to swim, no need to dive! Ordinary people can experience much of Singapore’s amazing marine life on the intertidal shores. Otters, wild dolphins, sea turtles, sea snakes, living corals and more!

I’ll be sharing lots of photos from our regular trips to about 40 local seashore locations. Lots of stories of recent adventures, and how we can make a difference for our wild shores. Bring your friends and family for a comfy intro to our amazing shores!"

A two-time recipient of the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium Award (2003, 2007) presented to exceptional volunteers who have contributed selflessly to biodiversity in Singapore, she has been indefatigable since I worked with her in 2000.

Her mission to spread awareness about Singapore's biodiversity began over a decade ago. In 2001, she played a critical role in the conservation of Chek Jawa. That fueled her to do more and she began to investigate our shores, generating voluminous tagged and labelled photos on Flickr which have become an international resource. A walking encyclopedia, she probably knows if any marine species has ever appeard on our shores! No wonder she is a valuable ally to scientists investigating marine life in Singapore.

She also supports and promotes others through Wild Singapore, a one stop resource for Singapore which sets an example for private and government efforts in resource generation. She learns, uses and adapts simple tools and it is backed by her marine life expeditions, participation in the community and engagement with people on the ground.

Her powerful delivery during her slide talk is the result of a LOT of preparation to integrate all that information bursting inside of her. When she compressed this into a 10-minute presentation at the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III, she inadvertently created compulsory course material for the LSM1103 Biodiversity class in the National University of Singapore as well as for Organisers and Volunteers of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore.

If you go for ONE talk this year, this is it. Ria Tan's "Secret Shores of Singapore" is unparalleled and she speaks from the heart. Don't wish you could be there, just go!

Posted at 5:41AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 25 Nov 2011

Diving with wild turtles in Singapore waters! Debby Ng of Hantu Bloggers speaks at the Nat Geo Store this Sat 26 Nov 2011: 2.30pm

Category : talks

"Can you dive with wild turtles and sharks in Singapore? Yes! Pulau Hantu is one of Singapore's most renowned Southern Islands for its myriad of micro and mega fauna."

"Although it's been visited for decades, divers continue to discover new species records in the small but rich coral reefs of Singapore. How do these wild marvels cope with a relentlessly changing coastline, and how do they adapt to development?"

"Join us for this marine talk given by Debby Ng, a photojournalist with a passion for the environment, who will bring clarity to the usually murky waters of Pulau Hantu with her underwater photos and videos."

Debby's work with the Hantu Blog began in 2004 and has moved from strength to strength ever since. Join her this Saturday 26th November 2011: 2.30pm at the National Geographic Store at Vivocity.

Debby's talk is the second in a series of three talk on marine life in Singapore, held in conjunction with a marine life exhibition of posters by WildSingapore at the National Geographic Store at Vivocity this November and December.

Posted at 8:07AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Wed 05 Oct 2011

Photos from the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III

Category : events

Photos from the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III (24 Sep 2011) are in a Flickr Collection for you to view and share under a attribution-non-commercial, share alike CC license. Eight sets of photos are available, thanks to volunteer photographers Kenneth Pinto, Kevin Lam and Ng Wen Qing.

  1. Early Bird Coffee & Registration - 141 photos
  2. Welcome Address, Guest of Honour Address & Symposium Awards - 161 photos
  3. Tea Break & Poster Session - 202 photos
  4. Impressions from the Community - 33 photos
  5. Forests Session - 27 photos
  6. Special Updates - 15 photos
  7. Freshwater Session - 64 photos
  8. Marine Session & Closing - 74 photos

Collection: Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III

Posted at 8:54AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 27 Sep 2011

NUScasts and Youtube videos from the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III (2011)

Category : events

The NUS CIT webcast team (thanks fellas!) emailed me these links of the video coverage from the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III (2011) this morning:

  • Part 1 - Welcome address, GOH address, Symposium Awards to ICCS Organisations (7 - 20 years of distinguished service) and Ria Tan
    NUScast or YouTube
  • Part 2 - Impressions from the Community and Forests Session
    NUScast or YouTube
  • Part 3 - Special Updates and Freshwater Session
    NUScast or YouTube
  • Part 4 - Marine Session
    NUScast or YouTube

Posted at 9:40AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 17 Jun 2011

Tue 21 Jun 2011: 7.00pm @ NUS LT23 - The Sea Anemone Public Lecture by Professor Daphne Fautin

Category : talks

The Sea Anemone Public Lecture

"Hidden treasures of biodiversity: flowers of the marine world"

By Professor Daphne Fautin
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Kansas
& Curator,
Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center
University of Kansas

Tuesday 21st June 2011: 7.00pm
Lecture Theatre 23 (next to Science Canteen; map)

Science Drive 2, Faculty of Science
National University of Singapore

Getting here
Take SBS No. 95 across the road from Buona Vista MRT Station. Stop at the second bus stop after the bus turns right into NUS/NUH.

Register to let us know you're coming - http://tinyurl.com/fautin-21jun2011


Sea Anemones of Singapore

About the talk - "Nemo lived in a sea anemone. These animals, which look like harmless flowers, are actually carnivorous that can eat Nemo and other larger prey. My study of Singapore's sea anemone diversity over the past five years suggests that there about 50 shallow-water species and most of them undocumented until recently.

The sea anemone diversity in Singapore waters include one species that can swim and several that can sting humans. The diversity is so high that it was postulated that Singapore has more species of sea anemones than the entire west coast of north America!

In this talk, I will explore questions like: What allows clownfishes to live in such a hostile environment? What factors are responsible for Singapore having a greater diversity of sea anemones than any area its size anywhere in the world? Where else do sea anemones live? And what role do sea anemones play in nature?"

About the speaker - Daphne Fautin is the world authority on sea anemones working with the Ocean Biogeographic Information System and the Census of Marine Life and she has produced a resource webpage "Hexacorallians of the World".

She is in Singapore to figure out the biodiversity of sea anemones and conduct a capacity-building workshop as part of the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey. In the meant time, she has been discovering new records and species with the help of local naturalists in the field.

Having visited Singapore on and off since the late 50's with a keen eye, and who lived and worked in Malaysia during her stint with the Peace Corps, she has experiened many faces of Singapore and Malaysia.

We are lucky to be having her come and teach and share - she is a great teacher and will be conducting a workshop at St. John's Island for a week and is looking forward to this public talk. A fiery, energetic and scholarly speaker, she is not to be missed.

Hexacorallians of the World

Posted at 2:16AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 17 Aug 2010

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore coordinators' National Day cheer

Category : coastalcleanup

The ICCS Otters who coordinate the island-wide International Coastal Cleanup Singapore were busy congratulating fellow-volunteer Cheng Wei Siong for his appearance in Today's National Day feature called "Singapore Dreaming".

Written by Temasek Polytechnic students pursuing a Diploma in Communications and Media Management, the special featured a variety of Singaporeans - "To imagine what this island nation could be like 20, 30 years from now, is to look inside the heads of its dreamers."

Sharing the page with Wei Siong is fellow-environmentalist Raina Ong who says, "I wish we all recycled".

In the ICCS programme, Wei Siong keeps the company of an illustrious group of volunteers who have served with the programme for many years, adopting a slow and steady approach to prevent burn out and disappearance. They recce sites, communicate and mentor organisers, coordinate cleanup sessions, ensure data submissions are accurate, blog, twitter and are the most tireless on the shores during the actual cleanups. Year after year, for they are all veterans.

When National Day dawned on 9th August, the ICCS Otters were cheered to see Wei Siong featured and delcared him a "poster boy" for the ICCS! Though a relative youngster, Wei Siong has been with the programme for eight years as participant, Site Captain and Zone Captain since his secondary school days (he is now a 2nd-year student in NTU). He has weathered his 'O' levels, 'A' levels, army days and university life while maintaining a role as a coordinator of the programme all this while - as he says in the article, "we have a personal responsibility for the health of the ocean".

The beauty of all this? Like his fellow coordinators, the only physical thing he gets from the programme is a t-shirt! The real reward, obviously, is priceless.

"I hope people realise that every little action makes a difference"

Cheong Wei Siong, 21, student and environmental volunteer

by Ng Hui Wen
05:55 AM Aug 09, 2010

"It's easy for him to hit Control-C and Control-V whenever he comes across a website talking about the ailing environment.

But for Cheong Wei Siong, forwarding emails to his friends and leaving website links on their chat windows is never quite as fulfilling as his work with International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS).

There, he is able to reach up to 1,500 Singaporeans a year. And it is his hope that more people would have their eyes opened to the impact of their everyday actions on the environment.

It takes more than just getting the participants of ICCS' programmes to pick up the bottle caps, toothbrushes, plastic cups and other litter that pollutes the shores. Mr Cheong tells them stories of how birds, turtles and fishes are harmed after swallowing such items.

And when participants, who are usually sent by schools and companies, witness this first hand, they can see that "marine debris doesn't fall from the sky but from human hands".

Before each cleanup, participants attend workshops where they learn how the collected trash contributes to data used in tackling marine pollution.

It was his experience in just such a programme with his secondary school eight years ago that led Mr Cheong to contribute to the ICCS' cause. He came across a few horseshoe crabs entangled in discarded nets.

"It was a disheartening sight," he said. "This very first cleanup made me realise that we have a personal responsibility for the health of the ocean."

He remained active throughout his JC and army days, serving as a mangrove site coordinator for three years.

Now, he oversees the cleanup operation on beaches along the country's north-eastern shore.

But the nature lover, who is now pursuing business administration at the Nanyang Technological University, still believes it is the little actions that go a long way. At home, he switches off the lights when not in use and keeps his air conditioner at 25°C.

"As long as people do the minimum, that's actually really good already," he said."

Posted at 1:03PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Read more ...

Raffles Museum news