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

Author/Editor: N. Sivasothi
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.

Made with Samizdat,
based on PHPosxom,
based on Blosxom.

05 Jul 2007 - Raffles Museum News has shifted to http://news.rafflesmuseum.net

Mon 25 Jun 2007

Mr Yeo Keng Loo, RIP

Category : people

Mon 25 Jun 2007 - This morning, Greasi was shocked to read the obituary announcement that the family of Mr Yeo had put in The Straits Times. She asked Rahim and Makcik to verify the notice then had Heok Hui come up to the office. There he called 'Ah Yeo's' home and his sister informed him that Mr Yeo had passed away suddenly during his Saturday badminton game (23 Jun 2007). It was a very quick way to go but he was only 52 and all of us grieve for him.

We will be visiting the wake at Block 56 Sims Drive S (9380056), tel: 6742-1230. The cortege will leave on Wed 27 Jun 2007: 12pm for cremation at Mandai Crematorium.

I wrote to our museum volunteers and friends earlier to inform them. I cited the interns blogs as snippets from their interactions with him capture a glimpse of him.

"Dear Toddycats and old friends,

I write to tell you with a heavy heart that Mr Yeo, one of the museum's curators, passed away last Saturday, 23 Jun 2007, during his regular badminton game with friends.

I am glad that some of you had the opportunity to interact with this gentle man, including my interns who have recently been on field trips and prep work with him, see: "A hawk and two eagles," "Crabby Search," and Crocs ahoy!"

One very telling remark amongst the posts reveal just how chatty Mr Yeo has been with our young museum volunteers and interns:

"Another interesting mission Siva set me and Danliang on today was to collect bird specimens. He was informed of a donor who decided to donate her uncle's collection. We went along with Mr Yeo. It was a rickety ride in a mini-lorry to Bukit Batok. We were pretty much clueless about where block 227 was, but three brains and 6 eyes set things right.

While waiting for the donor to arrive, we pried into Mr Yeo's life. Hee.. He's been in the museum so long, he's seen Prof Ng come as a student and rise as the new director! We discovered museum life changed when Prof Ng came. More specimens were collected and preserved. Before that, it was pretty much maintenace. Mr. Yeo's been thought of as a shy man, but I think it's delightful talking to him once he gets going. =)"

I myself am glad for the time I have had with him, particularly on specimen retrievals (the highlight must be the Tekong dugong), field trips (the last was crabbing at Ivan Polunin's house and the Mera Lodge stream), and plotting about gallery and education programmes."

Mr Yeo has always been kind, helpful and friendly with the people he had come across and several friends responded by immediately by email, phone and SMS after I sent alerted them by email this morning, soon after I found out. Here are a few of their thoughts:

Adrian Loo (formerly Plant Systematics Lab, NUS Biological Sciences), who amongst other things, was on the memorable Changi Tree (Hopea sangal) run with Mr Yeo, responded:

"Thanks for the info. That's really sad. He was a damn nice person always ready with a smile. I don't think I have ever seen him without him smiling warmly. And it was always easy to strike up a conversation with him and he'd always have good stories to share about BioD and the museum. "

Alvin Wong (former hons/MSc student, Systematics & Ecology Lab, Dept Biological Sciences) says,

"Mr Yeo is always quiet and unassuming but always kind and helpful to students in the museum and on field trips. he's a repository of info about specimens stashed away in some obscure corner."

Ria Tan (WildSingapore.com & Raffles Museum Honorary Museum Associate) says,

"I first met Mr Yeo when I spent hours photographing the specimens from the first Chek Jawa transect at the museum. It was my first time doing anything like this and he was patient in showing me how to do it right (and to survive the formaldehyde).

I met him many times later again, at field trips, during visits to the museum.

The wildfilms crew will always remember the special trips he made possible for us last year. Then, as always, he quietly offered sound field advice, and patiently looked after everything.

Mr Yeo's kind and gentle friendship will be sorely missed.

Mr Yeo crabbing in Ivan Polunin's stream, 15 Jun 2006.

Chim Chee Kong (former Raffles Museum Snakehunter) said,

"I remembered Mr Yeo as the very nice, kind, patient and helpful gentleman who helped me in locating specimens a couple of years ago."

Loh Lih Woon (former hons student, Systematics & Ecology Lab, Dept Biological Sciences) said,

"I'm shocked and dismayed. He was a helpful and unassuming man who made the madness of my hons year that more bearable, exactly 10 years ago! Well those whom God love die young(er) they say. Perhaps this cliched saying could serve as solace.

Sigh. The brevity of life. Seize the day we must all. RIP, Mr Yeo K L!"

Airani S (Senior Volunteer Project Manager, Raffles Museum):

"Mr Yeo is a very kind man and always accommodating to last minute requests for help. He was a shy man of very few words but as I got to know him better, he became more chatty and began to share his dreams and plans post-retirement!

I will miss his absence from the museum dearly."

Peter Ng (Director, Raffles Museum):

"It came as a shock when I was told this morning that he had passed on - I have known him for over 27 years - since he joined as a fresh staff and I was still an undergrad working in the then ZRC. I remembered how he was full of energy and passion for his work with specimens, and especially crabs and related invertebrates. He took care of the crustacean and invertebrate collections for most of his career, and was also the key man in many of the museum's local field collections and field work.

Those who have worked with him in the museum and the field like him and have commented on his kindness and willingness to help. All the museum's foreign scientists whom he has worked with have remarked how good a worker he was. That he was still young and the manner of passing so sudden and unexpected makes the loss even more painful. I do not know really what to say --- he will be missed ... and the museum will feel the loss. Damn."

As we shared tales of Mr Yeo with his six siblings and the rest of the family, they have been getting to know this other side of him - his museum curator's work, love of animals, exhibition presentation skills, love of field trips and because he was such a worrier, his unexpected sense of adventure!

Posted at 12:48PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Fri 15 Jun 2007

Richard Mayden (Cypriniformes Tree of Life) visits

Category : visitors

Richard Mayden, Professor & Endowed Chair of Natural Sciences, and Chair, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, Missouri, USA, and has a lab truck named the "Bride of Stinky" or BoSs.

He works on osteological morphology and molecular systematics of North American fish and is visiting with us on 14th and 15th June 2007.

Photo by Tan Heok Hui of Peter Ng and Richard Mayden.

He is also the leader of the Cypriniformes Tree of Life (CTOL) project, which declares this very interesting statement:

"In this initiative, researchers from many countries with a shared passion and in-depth understanding of these incredibly diverse and interesting fishes are investigating their morphological and molecular variation.

Many of the current participants of this long-term project have a history of collaboration, sharing data, specimens, information, and ideas, and are committed to one primary objective - fostering a collaborative and productive academic environment to ensure a rapid advance of our understanding of the biodiversity and systematics of the Cypriniformes.

We, as a group, hold as a fundamental premise that progress towards our mutual goals will be better accomplished in this collaborative venue than through individual researchers both competing for the same resources and possibly duplicating unorganized efforts."

Posted at 12:54PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Fri 25 May 2007

Lukas Ruber, molecular fish systematist from BMNH

Category : visitors

Heok Hui has guests this few day, from British Museum of Natural History The Natural History Museum, Dr Lukas Ruber and Soraya Villalba (his girlfriend), who will be here from 22 to 28 May 2007.

Lukas is fish molecular systematist who loves photography! View his webpage

Posted at 4:34AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Mon 14 May 2007

AWWA School Kids visit the Raffles Museum

Category : education

A very special day for very special children.

Fri 11 May 2007 - Seven children from the Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA) School visited the Raffles Museum's Public Gallery in the morning. They were led by seven volunteer guides: Joelle, Zeehan, Ngan Kee, Oi Yee, Laura, Eunice and Luan Keng. Museum director Peter Ng made a special appearance to say "hi" to the children.

The children were so excited about their first visit to this museum that they went around the gallery at least three times! The guides prepared specimens for them to feel and touch. and played a "match-the-habitat" game which they all enjoyed. The children certainly had a rewarding time.

This is the first special programme Raffles Museum has had with the AWWA School and we look forward to more trips in future.

Photographs by Tan Heok Hui. See all the photos here.

Posted at 1:16AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Thu 26 Apr 2007

Linnaeus 300 (02/30) - Scatophagus argus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Category : linnaeus300

Linnaeus 300 - Raffles Museum News is bringing you 30 images of species described by Linnaeus in the month leading to his 300th birthday on 23rd May 2007.

Photo (2 of 30): Scatophagus argus (Linnaeus, 1766), provided by Tan Heok Hui.
Heok Hui and others collected the fish during research surveys
in Singapore waters off Kallang on 25 Aug 2005.

A catalogue of Linnaeus works

This can be downloaded from Linnaeus Link, a website hosted by the Natural History Museum, UK.

"The project has produced digital versions (PDF format) of: A catalogue of the works of Linnaeus ... preserved in the libraries of the British Museum (Bloomsbury) and the British Museum (Natural History) (South Kensington) [now the British Library and The Natural History Museum], second edition, 1933 by Basil H Soulsby, and An index to the authors (other than Linnaeus) mentioned in the Catalogue of the works of Linnaeus preserved in the libraries of the British Museum, second edition, 1933 (1936) by C Davies Sherborn.

Linnaeus Link is a collaboration between The Natural History Museum, the British Library, Danmarks Natur- og Laegevidenskabelige Bibliotek, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien, the Linnean Society of London, Stockholms universitetsbibliotek and Uppsala universitetsbibliotek.

Celebrations in Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota, USA.

'Gustavus Adolphus College held its second Linnaeus Symposium on 25 Apr 2007. Symposium attendees engaged with well known ethnobotanists and Linnaean scholars and events included arboretum tours, formal public presentations, a garden dance, and a Swedish buffet. This year's symposium was called "Linnaeus @ 300" to correspond with the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist for whom the arboretum is named.'

The Linnaeus Arboretum was designed to represent the shape and ecosystem layout of the state of Minnesota. They have a blog!

Gustavus Adolphus College is the oldest Lutheran college in Minnesota, and was founded in 1862 by Swedish immigrants and named for Swedish King Gustav II Adolf. It has hosted the internationally recognised annual Nobel Conference since 1963.

About the sculpture - "Created by the late Paul T. Granlund, who was the Sculptor-in-Residence at Gustavus Adolphus College. The torso blends into the shape of a linden tree, and the wig includes impressions of the Linnaeus's beloved garden, the Linnaeus Botanical Gardens in Uppsala, Sweden."

Sources: Gustavus Adolphus College News and Arboretum.

Raffles Museum News: Linnaeus 300

Posted at 2:02AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Wed 28 Feb 2007

The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Vol. 55, No. 1 (28 Feb 2007)

Category : pub

The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Vol. 55, No. 1 (28 Feb 2007)

Volume 55 Number 1 of The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology is published today . All the articles are available for free download at the bibliography page, "pdfs of The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 1928 - 2007" - link.


  • Records of dacine fruit flies and new species of Dacus (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Bhutan. Richard A. I. Drew, M. C. Romig and C. Dorji. Pp. 1-21.
  • The Phortica sensu stricto (Insecta: Diptera: Drosophilidae) from Malaysia. Hong-Wei Chen, Masanori J. Toda, Maklarin B. Lakim and Maryati B. Mohamed. Pp. 23-41.
  • Three new species of Stegana (Oxyphortica) from Yunnan Province, Southwestern China (Insecta: Diptera: Drosophilidae). Miao-Feng Xu, Jian-Jun Gao and Hong-Wei Chen. Pp. 43-47.
  • Paraclius (Diptera: Dolichopodidae: Dolichopodinae) of Singapore, with new species from mangroves. Lili Zhang, Ding Yang and Patrick Grootaert. Pp. 49-62.
  • First records of the family Ochyroceratidae (Arachnida: Araneae) from China, with descriptions of a new genus and eight new species. Yanfeng Tong and Shuqiang Li. Pp. 63-76.
  • Two new freshwater prawns of the genus Macrobrachium Bate, 1868 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Palaemonidae) from the Kelian River, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. D. Wowor and J. Short. Pp. 77-87.
  • Two new species of Gonodactylellus from the Western Pacific (Gonodactylidae: Stomatopoda). Shane T. Ahyong and Mark V. Erdmann. Pp. 89-95.
  • A new species of the hermit crab genus Pagurixus Melin (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura: Paguridae) from the Indo-west Pacific. Tomoyuki Komai and Masayuki Osawa. Pp. 97-105.
  • Revision of the Indo-west Pacific sponge crabs of the genus Petalomera Stimpson, 1858 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Dromiidae). Colin L. Mclay and Peter K. L. Ng. Pp. 107-120.
  • On a new species of Elamenopsis from Singapore, with notes on Crustaenia palawanensis (Serène, 1971)(Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Hymenosomatidae). Tohru Naruse and Peter K. L. Ng. Pp. 121-125.
  • On a new species of cavernicolous crab of the genus Sesarmoides Serène & Soh, 1970 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae) from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Tohru Naruse and Peter K. L. Ng. Pp. 127-130.
  • The “Celestial Pearl Danio”, a new genus and species of colourful minute cyprinid fish from Myanmar (Pisces: Cypriniformes). Tyson R. Roberts. Pp. 131-140.
  • Cyclocheilichthys schoppeae, a new species of freshwater fish (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from Northern Palawan, Philippines. Miguelito Cervancia and Maurice Kottelat. Pp. 141-145.
  • A review of the catfish genus Pseudexostoma (Siluriformes: Sisoridae) with description of a new species from the upper Salween (Nujiang) basin of China. Wei Zhou, Ying Yang, Xu Li and Ming-Hui Li. Pp. 147-155.
  • A new treefrog of the genus Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Hainan Island, China. Wen-hao Chou, Michael Wai-Neng Lau and Bosco P. L. Chan. Pp. 157-165.
  • A new Luperosaurus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Sierra Madre of Luzon Island, Philippines. Rafe M. Brown, Arvin C. Diesmos and Melizar V. Duya. Pp. 167-174.


  • Butterfly (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) distribution along an altitudinal gradient on Mount Tangkuban Parahu, West Java, Indonesia. S. S. Tati-Subahar, Anzilni F. Amasya and Devi N. Choesin. Pp. 175-178.
  • The latitudinal distribution of sphingid species richness in continental Southeast Asia: What causes the biodiversity ‘hot spot’ in Northern Thailand? Jan Beck, Ian J. Kitching and Jean Haxaire. Pp. 179-185.
  • Cooperative breeding in the puff-throated bulbul Alophoixus pallidus in Thailand. Andrew J. Pierce, Kihoko Tokue, Korakoch Pobprasert and Wangworn Sankamethawee. Pp. 187-189.
  • The role of birds in matter and energy flow in the ecosystem. Aeshita Mukherjee, B. Wilske and C. K. Borad. Pp. 191-194.
  • Rediscovering the Dugong (Dugong dugon) in Myanmar and capacity building for research and conservation. A. D. Ilangakoon and Tint Tun. Pp. 195-199.
  • Covarvariation in the great calls of rehabilitant and wild gibbons (Hylobates albibarbis). Susan M. Cheyne, David J. Chivers and Jito Sugardjito. Pp. 201-207.
  • A camera trapping inventory for mammals in a mixed use planted forest in Sarawak. Belden Giman, Robert Stuebing, Nyegang Megum, William J. Mcshea and Chad M. Stewart. Pp. 209-215.
  • The Javan Rhinoceros Rhinoceros sondaicus in Borneo. Earl of Cranbrook and Philip J. Piper. Pp. 217-220.


  • Fishes of Mongolia. A check-list of the fishes known to occur in mongolia with comments on Systematics and Nomenclature. Tan Heok Hui. Pp. 221.
  • Colugo. The Flying Lemurs of South-east Asia. Richard Corlett. Pp. 222.

Posted at 9:36AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Wed 14 Feb 2007

Recent Visitors at the Raffles Museum

Category : news

17 Jan 2007 - Peter Ng, Li Daiqin and Tan Swee Hee with the Yunnan Delegation: Keqin Zhang (Vice President, Yunnan University), Heng Xiao (Secretary, School of Life Sciences), Hui Ye (Dean, School of Life Sciences), Chunjie Xiao (Subdecanal, School of Life Sciences), Changqun Duan (Subdecanal, School of Life Sciences) & Bingrong Zheng (Head, Biotechnology Department).

25 Jan 2007 - Benny KK Chan and his students from Academia Sinica, Taiwan with Ng Ngan Kee.

13 Feb 2007 - Hinoki Ishizu (fish shop owner in Osaka (Japan) and a Betta enthusiast) with Tan Heok Hui.

13 Feb 2007 - Barry Russell (Northern Territory Museum, Darwin) and Keith Martin-Smith (Project Seahorse, Tasmania).

Posted at 6:19AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Tue 06 Feb 2007

Tue, 13 Feb 2007: 11am - "Using seahorse science to advance marine conservation."

Category : bejc

NUS Department of Biological Sciences: Biodiversity and Ecology Journal Club
Seminar Announcement

"Using seahorse
science to advance marine conservation."

Dr. Keith Martin-Smith
Senior Programme Manager, Project Seahorse,
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania

Tue 13 Feb 2006: 11am

DBS Conference Room
Blk S3, Level 5,
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Science Drive 4
Please park at Carpark 10; see map.

Host: Dr Tan Heok Hui

About the talk - Seahorses are powerful icons for marine conservation. They are affected by diverse anthropogenic pressures, particularly overexploitation, habitat destruction and incidental bycatch. Project Seahorse uses quantitative science on the response of seahorses to these pressures to develop innovative conservation solutions.

Our current research on population dynamics suggests that marine protected areas may not increase the abundance of seahorses but allow greater reproductive output per unit time. Seahorses also appear to have unusual growth and movement patterns when compared with most other fishes. I will demonstrate how these results can be used as leverage for marine conservation in general.

About the speaker - After an undergraduate degree in Botany at Cambridge University, Keith completed his PhD in Marine Biology at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia on the interactions between the large brown seaweed Sargassum and its associated epifaunal crustaceans. He then spent 3 years at Danum Valley Field Station in Sabah, conducting a postdoc on the effects of selective logging on freshwater fish (where he worked with a number of scientists from Peter Ng’s lab).

A second postdoc on the interactions between wild and farmed Atlantic salmon in Scotland led to his current position with Project Seahorse which began in 2000. He works on all aspects of syngnathid biology pertaining to conservation issues, particularly population dynamics, bycatch and marine protected areas

Posted at 9:51AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Tue 30 Jan 2007

Heok Hui is off to Brunei

Category : education

30 Jan - 05 Feb 2007: Research Officer/Instructor Tan Heok Hui will be the resource scientist for NUS High School of Math & Science's field course in Brunei.

A group 10 students from the school will be visiting Brunei on an exchange trip, and will bejoined by 10 students from Maktab Sains Brunei. Two teachers from each school will lead the group and the field course will run from 26th January to 5th February 2007.

They will be spending several days at Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre, to examine the aquatic life in the main stream and smaller feeder streams and conduct basic comparative studies. The students will also be taken on guided walks through the forests as well as the canopy walk.

Heok Hui has taken part in numerous field trips in Southeast Asia in the past 13 years, principally in the taxonomic pursuit of unravelling the poorly known fish diversity of the region.

For his doctoral thesis, he studied the fishes of the hill streams and headwaters of Borneo and this was published last year as a monograph.

Posted at 1:38AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Sat 25 Nov 2006

Rohan Pethiyagoda

Category : people

Rohan Pethiyagoda of the Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka dropped by the Raffles Museum while passing though Singapore on 10th November 2006. Here he is in the Public Gallery with Tan Heok Hui.

Posted at 2:40PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

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