Thursday, February 28, 2013

Northern Expedition featured in Knowledge Enterprise

The Northern Expedition is featured in the latest issue of Knowledge Enterprise a publication of the National University of Singapore.
The beautifully illustrated article highlights the many scientists and volunteers involved in the effort.

Singapore’s biggest scale marine expedition
NUS’ Knowledge Enterprise Jan/Feb 2013 (pdf)

A comprehensive survey of Singapore’s marine fauna is a mammoth task requiring concerted effort from a huge team. It was no surprise then that some 150 local scientists, conservation officers and volunteers aged 15 to 60 years were enlisted to help in Singapore’s largest scale marine biodiversity expedition which took place over three weeks from October to November 2012.

The local scientists involved came mainly from NUS’ Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) and Department of Biological Sciences, with TMSI’s Marine Biology & Ecological lab Head, Dr Tan Koh Siang, leading the expedition. Dr Tan, Mr Lim Swee Cheng and TMSI Director Professor Peter Ng, Singapore’s foremost experts in the study of molluscs, sponges and crabs respectively, provided invaluable guidance and inputs throughout the project.

The expedition, which involved multiple surveys of Singapore’s northern islands and coasts conducted by the team, also drew 20 renowned scientists from 10 countries who participated in collecting and studying the specimens.

More than 1,000 specimens, including new records and rediscoveries, were finally obtained through various methods such as traps, and equipment such as dredges, epibenthic sleds and otter trawls. The specimens were then preserved, identified and curated in NUS’ Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR).

Prof Ng, who is also Director of RMBR, said that Singapore’s seas are extremely rich in marine life, and this mega marine expedition will help them document and learn more about the diversity of creatures living in the nation’s northern shores.
This expedition is part of Singapore’s first Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS), a national initiative to understand the local marine ecosystem, species diversity and distribution. Launched in 2010 by NParks, the CMBS seeks to raise awareness of Singapore’s rich biodiversity and engage the community in long-term monitoring of key marine habitats.

The project, spanning five years, will be carried out in phases and involve surveys of different marine environments such as mudflat habitats, seabeds, coral reefs and deep water.

Read the article on NUS’ Knowledge Enterprise Jan/Feb 2013 (pdf)

We are currently preparing for the Southern Expedition to take place in May 2013. Meanwhile, volunteers and scientists continue with dredge surveys of the bottom of Singapore's sea. Here's what we found in the January suveys. The Survey is also looking to hire suitable NUS student helpers, more details.

Updates on Survey activities will be sent to registered volunteers through the Mega Marine Survey yahoo groups mailing list.

Anyone can volunteer to join the Survey. Register your interest in this form and you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities.

More about the Survey and our FAQs

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