Talks

[Venue: Function Hall (100 pax) unless otherwise stated]

Freshwater swamp forest conservation
Date: 26 May 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 1.00pm – 1.45pm

At the time of Raffles arrival, the island of Singapore harboured some 75 square kilometres of mangrove forest and approximately 60 square kilometre of freshwater swamp forest. Today we retain 6 square kilometres of protected mangrove forest spread over 15 sites and only 1 square kilometre of Freshwater swamp forest limited essentially to a single location.  This 1 square kilometre of remaining swamp forest potentially harbours 200 species of plant that are exclusive to this habitat. The presentation will be very visual and will include a pictorial overview of a selection of these special plants showing off their adaptions for survival in swampy and inundated conditions. The talk will also discuss some conservation strategies that are being put in place to promote the survival of these species into the future.

Speaker:
Tony O’ Dempsey has been working in the Geographic Information System (GIS)  Industry in Singapore for the past 18 years and has taken a keen interest in the both cultural and natural history of the region, he is particularly interested in the flora and conservation of Freshwater Swamp Forest habitat. Tony is the author of http://www.florasingapura.com and is currently the chairman  of the Vertebrate Study Group of the Nature Society (Singapore).

 

Dragonflies of Singapore
Date: 26 May 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 2.00pm – 2.45pm

Dragonflies are among the most beautiful of creatures. In life many display colours of stunning brilliance. Their skills of flight are unmatched for precision and agility. They exhibit extrordinary biology and behaviour. In Singapore, there are 129 recorded species of dragonfly. Sadly, a few of our most beautiful species have already gone extinct due to habitat destruction caused by human activities. This is an inevitable consequence of urbanisation and, as such, provides us with a valuable lesson in conservation ecology.

 Speaker:
Tang Hung Bun is an avid dragonfly-watcher and photographer. In 2009, he took a break from his teaching career in order to focus his time and effort on preparing a book on the dragonflies of Singapore. The book, titled “A photographic guide to the dragonflies of Singapore” and co-authored with Wang Luan Keng and Matti Hämäläinen, was published by the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research in August 2010. Since 2010, he spends his time on observing and recording on video the behaviour of dragonflies and other orders of insects. He also attempts to use a high-speed camera to capture the flight behaviour of some insects such as territorial fight between rival male dragonflies, wing-opening of earwigs, etc. Some of his videos can be viewed in his Youtube channel. Tang Hung Bun also maintains a website: Dragonflies and damselflies of Singapore

 

Bird and Butterfly Watching in Singapore: Using the Bird and Butterfly Applications
Date: 26 May 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 2.00pm – 2.45pm
Venue: Function Room (50 pax)

Part I – Bird Guide iPhone Application
The Bird Application for mobile phones is the culmination of Alans’s work with the Nature Society (Singapore)’s Bird Group. The aim is to encourage students and young people to take up and enjoy bird watching.

The talk will show users how easy it is to find and identify the species using the four different viewing galleries and search via groups, rarity and habitats. Alan will also highlight interesting information on the species page, pointing out photos of different gender and age of various birds. We will explore the different tabs that can be used to find similar species and how to compare them against each other on the same page. Another important feature that was incorporated into this application is the listing of species. Users will learn how to create a list (whether it is a personal life list, day list or a survey list) and how to add the species observed to the list with time, GPS, gender and quantity information. Finally, Alan will show users how to share the sightings and lists with friends on facebook and via email.

 

Part II – Butterfly Guide Smart Phone Application
The Nature Society (Singapore)’s Butterfly Application for smart phones features 440 awe-inspiring photographs of butterflies found in Singapore. Whether you are a beginner, an experienced butterfly watcher or a park manager carrying out serious data collection, the application makes identifying and monitoring butterflies in the field easy. Stroll along the Butterfly Trail @ Orchard and create a live sighting list on your mobile phone, report and share it on the go! Anuj will highlight special features and  tips that will enhance your butterfly watching experience. He will also take this opportunity to give an update on the latest findings along the Butterfly Trail @ Orchard.

Speakers:
Alan OwYong is the Chairperson of the Bird Group and a member of the Nature Society (Singapore) Council. He has been a past Treasurer of the Society since joining the Malayan Nature Society in 1985 and the Nature Society (Singapore) in 1991. As an avid bird watcher with the Bird Group for the past 28 years, he has taken part in hundreds of birds and nature surveys for conservation proposals.
Anuj Jain is an active member of the Butterfly Interest Group, NSS. He coordinates several projects for the group including the ongoing Butterfly Trail @ Orchard project with Gan Cheong Weei (Chairperson, NSS Butterfly Interest Group). Anuj is also pursuing his PhD at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore in the field of urban ecology and butterfly conservation.

 

Macro World of Singapore
Date: 27 May 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 1.00pm – 1.45pm

Through macro photography, a new world is opened for nature lovers to rediscover the hidden beauty and treasures inside our nature reserves, nature areas, parks and gardens. Introduction to nature macro photography including basic techniques and required skills will be briefed during the talk.The diversity of macro subjects in Singapore will be highlighted and common macro sites available for Singapore shooters will also be shared. Care for nature while shooting in the field will also be covered in this talk.

 Speaker:
Mr. Lee Yan Leong, an accomplished photographer in nature macro photography, has been awarded prizes from photographic forums and societies from both local and overseas. He is regularly called upon to give talk to share his experience and to demonstrate photographic technique in courses and outings. Mr Lee is currently serving the Nature Photographic Society (Singapore) as committee member.

 

Development History of the past 200 years and its effect on Habitat Loss
Date: 27 May 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 2.00pm – 2.45pm

Over the past 200 years settlement and development of Singapore began in the late 1700’s with the arrival of Teo Chew gambier planters from the Riau Islands. Their shifting cultivation practices and lack of management by the colonial authorities resulted almost total loss of the lowland Dipterocarp forests by the mid 1800’s. During the early 1900’s an ever increasing population and demand for food resulted in the loss of Freshwater Swamp Forest as the fertile alluvial soils of the stream valleys were sought after for market gardening.  Mangrove areas had always been logged for charcoal production and building materials however the habitat more or less remained in place until the 1970’s when land reclamation for industrial and residential purpose took its toll. The presentation will include historical maps and archived aerial photos to track the land use changes over time, these will be contrasted with modern satellite images to illustrate the extent of change that the island has undergone.

 Speaker:
Tony O’ Dempsey has been working in the Geographic Information System (GIS)  Industry in Singapore for the past 18 years and has taken a keen interest in the both cultural and natural history of the region, he is particularly interested in the flora and conservation of Freshwater Swamp Forest habitat. Tony is the author of http://www.florasingapura.com and is currently the chairman  of the Vertebrate Study Group of the Nature Society (Singapore).

 

Bodies of evidence: A morbid celebration of biodiversity
Date: 27 May 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 2.00pm – 2.45pm
Venue: Function Room (50 pax)

 Death is an inevitable part of life. Stumbling upon dead animals can be an unpleasant, smelly affair, but we have much to learn from carcasses. In this talk, you’ll learn how dead animals can tell us a lot about the presence of wildlife in urban Singapore, and the impact of human activities on the natural environment.

Speaker:
Ivan Kwan has been an avid naturalist ever since he could walk, and has never ceased to be fascinated with biodiversity and conservation. Today, he works in freshwater ecology, and in his free time, volunteers with the Naked Hermit Crabs, Team Seagrass, and the Raffles Museum Toddycats!. He is also very active in nature outreach online, using social media resources like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to educate people about Singapore’s natural heritage. Ivan can be reached via his blog The Lazy Lizard’s Tales (http://lazy-lizard-tales.blogspot.com), or via Twitter (@VaranusSalvator).

 

Going home!
Date: 27 May 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 3.00pm – 3.45pm

John Muir, a famous naturalist and writer once remarked that: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

Many may not consider a trip to the nature a homecoming journey but surprisingly more and more research are finding that spending time out in nature is beneficial to our mental health and well being. I will share in my talk some of the key findings of these research and fun activities one can do out in the nature. 

Speaker:
Chong Jun Hien is a avid outdoor person and has worked in various outdoor industries either doing scientific research in the field or conducting outdoor activities to share with young people about nature. He is a firm believer that nature needs us as much as we need nature.

 

Conserving South-east Asia’s biodiversity: mission impossible?
Date: 26 May 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 1.00pm – 1.45pm 

Part I: A regional overview
South-east Asia is not only globally one of the most biodiverse corners of the Earth, but also supports a long list of highly charismatic species like the giant Rafflesia, the Orang utan and many more yet to be described. Unfortunately, the region is also home to nearly one tenth of humanity and naturally, the world’s most rapidly vanishing forests. This talk explores the biodiversity crisis from a South-east Asian perspective, with a focus on the region’s most pressing conservation challenges and what is needed to slow down the Sixth Extinction, one which is consuming the region’s species. 

Part II: Conservation lessons from threatened primates in South-east Asia
The banded leaf monkeys in Singapore are critically endangered, with an estimated population of 40 individuals. Recent genetic study reveals that this species has the lowest genetic variability among leaf monkeys. The Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys are one of the top 25 most endangered primates in the world. Endemic to northern Vietnam, there are only approximately 200 individuals left in the wild.  While it is important to increase the protection of their habitat in Singapore and Vietnam respectively, our two case studies show that it is equally important to engage local people in conservation efforts. 

Speakers:
Yong Ding Li (South-east Asian Biodiversity Society) has studied or travelled through most parts of South-east Asia and is very familiar with its biodiversity, as are the conservation challenges faced by its people. He has also written many peer-reviewed papers and contributed to a number of books on biodiversity in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Andie Ang (South-east Asian Biodiversity Society, University of Colorado at Boulder) is currently a PhD student in Biological Anthropology at CU Boulder. Her research interests are in the social behavior and genetic variability of Asian colobine primates. She has worked on the banded leaf monkeys in Singapore and Malaysia, and the white-handed gibbons in Thailand. Currently, she is trying to examine the genetic variability of endangered primates in Vietnam in order to contribute to their conservation.

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2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Talks

  1. Pingback: Listen to inspiring speakers talking about their passions! « Festival of Biodiversity 2012

  2. Pingback: Change in timings for talks « Festival of Biodiversity 2012

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