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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

Thu 24 May 2007

International Museum Day (IMD2007) Bus Tours - heartlanders visit!

Category : museums

Wed 23 May 2007 - We look forward to heartlander visits to the museum during the regional bus tour programme organised by Museum Roundtable for the International Museum Day celebrations.

A hardworking team at the National Heritage Board see to an operation that has heartlanders hop onto a bus in Jurong to visit three members of the Museum Roundtable - NUS Museum, Chinese Heritage Centre (NTU) and Raffles Museum [more tours at other museum here.]

Gallery Guides rock!
Interns Danliang and Ruo Yu had been given the thumb's up by Gwynne and thus had been conferred the honour of anchoring the gallery tours. Put through a crash course right up to minutes before participants arrived, they were not tossed into the deep entirely but had the support of experienced RMBR Toddycat guides Oi Yee, Wei Song, Gwynne and Nanthinee.

Nanthinee and the sad story of the death of the last Banded Leaf Monkey in Bukit Timah

They worked in pairs and alone, talked together or separately, facing the crowd or from two directions and their good nature shone through all of that. The heartlander crowd expressed laughter, glee, amazement, sadness and wonder throughout the four sessions.

In the characteristic refrain of IMD head honcho Amy Marlina, "you guys rock!"

Tree-climbing crabs illuminated!
In the spirit of the Linnaean tercentenary, we decided to show off some taxonomic samples. We brought out the very nice cart that I had acquired during the first Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium in 2003. Used for SARS supplies, I had shanghai-ed the cart for its grand unveiling today. Stocked with specimens of tree-climbing crabs and horseshoe crabs, the interns brought them out dripping with alcohol from the bottles for closer inspection to the great fascination of participants!

In order to illustrate the cheliped colour of the different species of the tree-climbing mangrove crab, Episesarma, the interns held up a lamp behind the glass bottles and put on a light show!

This has inspired us to attempt more next year, and we'll lug out a selection of hardy, bigger and more colourful specimens!

Danliang sheds light on the tree-climbing crabs

Eyes of a tiger
The older folk are often a mine of interesting stories themselves. From one of those old-timers last year, Wei Song learnt that when they went durian-picking in old plantations, they'd have to make loud noises to scare off the competition - tigers!!

It's no tall tale - local naturalist Sutari Supari actually had a close shave many years ago in Taman Negara when his orang asli guide hospitably took him on a private trip to eat wild durians. Thinking he was hearing Malaysian air force jets flying overhead, he finally realised the sound's feline origins when he stared in to a pair of yellow orbs - yup, the eyes of a tiger!

Tales of food, sex and gore work again
The exhausted interns reported at the end of four shifts that the stories about food, gore and sex were the most appealing.

The need for explanations in Mandarin required some help from the crowd and where their vocabulary failed, a circuitous explanation worked! Here they are explaining the protruding and split hemipenis of the 4.4 metre King Cobra exhibit. The poor snake was clubbed to death by four golfers at a golf course on 1st June 2002.

Yes, this was a fine way for Raffles Museum to mark the Linnaean tercentenary!

Meanwhile at Uppsala University, "Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko joined celebrations in Sweden on Wednesday marking the 300th anniversary of the birth of Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, who is known as the father of modern taxonomy." Thanks for the link, Alvin!

Linnaeus tercentenary: Celebrating Linnaeus' 300th birthday - Flickr album - del.icio.us bookmarks.

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Thu 24 May 2007

Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium II - webpages, reports and photo albums

Category : meetings

Books at the symposium


Peter Ng & Tommy Koh looking on with satisfaction at
"The Natural Heritage of Singapore, 2nd edition."


Lena Chan, Pår Ahlberger, Anna Maj Hultgård and Peter Ng looking at
"Carl Linnaeus" by Gunnar Broberg.


Tommy Koh, Ng Lang & Lena Chan with
"The Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Singapore."

The symposium announcement was made in Habitatnews and Raffles Museum News on 15 May 2007 but I was actually scooped by Ria Tan on WildSingapore who posted the announcement the previous night!

Reports and albums

  • "Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium II (2007)," by N. Sivasothi. Raffles Museum News, 22 May 2007.
  • Flickr album from BoSS II. Photos by Hwang Wei Song, Airani S. & Cynthia Lee, 22 May 2007.
  • "Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium II - opening remarks," by Marcus Ng (more to come!) The Annotated Budak, 23 May 2007.
  • "Tommy Koh's green mission: Save 2 species." By T. Rajan. The Straits Times, 23 Apr 2007. Top diplomat getting Zoo's help to save monkey and squirrel unique to Singapore.

In a lighter vein

  • "That 15 mins presentation today," by N. Sivasothi. Otterman speaks..., 22 May 2007.
  • "Phew, symposium webpage up!" By N. Sivasothi. Otterman speaks..., 15 May 2007.
  • "Talk at Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium," by Adrian Loo. Lekowala, 22 May 2007.

Symposium webpage

Linnaeus tercentenary: Celebrating Linnaeus' 300th birthday - Flickr album - del.icio.us bookmarks.

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Tue 08 May 2007

Linnaeus 300 (04/30) - Brechites penis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Category : linnaeus300

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


Photo (4 of 30): Brechites penis (Linnaeus, 1758) by Wong Hoong Wei.
Recommended by Gopalasamy Reuben Clements.

Can you spot the two tiny valves at the top left of the photo? The Waterspout or Watering-Pot Shell was described in "A Guide to Seashore Life in Singapore."

Reuben suggested we also read this interesting paper that ponders tube construction, appropriately enough in a Swedish journal: Harper, E.M. & B. Morton, 2004. Tube construction in the watering pot shell Brechites vaginiferus (Bivalvia; Anomalodesmata; Clavagelloidea). Acta Zoologica (Stockholm), 85: 149 - 161.

Linnean celebrations around the world:
Nature's Web Focus: Linnaeus at 300

Raffles Museum News: Celebrating Linnaeus' 300th birthday

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Fri 04 May 2007

Linnaeus 300 (03/30) - Acanthus ilicifolius L.

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 (3 of 30): Acanthus ilicifolius L., provided by Hugh Tan
Jeruju putih is a sea holly found in the Indo-West Pacific mangroves.
See "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore."

Linnean celebrations around the world

The Zoological Society of London, with the Linnean Society of London are holding a Discussion Meeting in "Celebration of the Tercentenary of the Birth of Carl Linnaeus," on 8th May 2007.

"Taxonomy, the description and naming of species, is fundamental to all biology. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish physician and naturalist, introduced the method of binomial nomenclature using genus and species names on a world scale for animals in 1758 with the publication of Systema Naturae.

Zoological nomenclature is now administered with a comprehensive set of rules by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN).

Taxonomy increasingly relies on electronic forms of communication, and open access is essential for this information to be really useful.

Molecular data are vital in the field of phylogenetics, and molecular methods from nucleotides to amino acids, and the current Barcode of Life initiative - are set to increase in importance in other areas of taxonomy. Each year about 15,000-20,000 animals are named and described. To understand and sustain biodiversity it is essential that we know what species there are on Earth."

See the ZSL webpage.

Raffles Museum News: Linnaeus 300

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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

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Tue 24 Apr 2007

Linnaeus 300 (01/30) - the count down to Linnaeus' 300th birthday begins!

Category : linnaeus300


Photo (1 of 30): Cancer longimanus L., 1758, provided by Tan Swee Hee.
Swee Hee has visited Uppsala to consult Linnaeus' specimens.

A universal scientific language

Some 15 years ago on a damp night in Lim Chu Kang mangroves, Singapore, I searched for crabs with mangrove biologist Professor Yukio Naksone from Okinawa, Japan. He did not speak much English at the time and I knew no Japanese. However, that night we were able to communicate - yelling across the mud to each other words in a foreign language that neither spoke. The names of all plants and animals were two parts, and were all in Latin - Episesarma versicolor, Selatium brocki, Metopograpsus latifrons, Rhizophora apiculata, Excoecaria agallocha and Acanthus ilicifolius, to name a few. We laughed with joy at how effectively we were able to communicate!

That universal system of naming and classifying plants and animals which allowed us to communicate so well was introduced by Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, Carolus Linnaeus (1707 - 1778). This universal scientific language he provided is one of the reasons many taxonomists, biologists and scientists around the world are joining the Swedes in marking the 300th anniversary or tercentenary of his birthday.

Celebrating Linnaeus 300th birthday

In the month leading to his birthday on 23rd May 2007, Raffles Museum News will particpiate in this celebration by bringing you 30 images of species described by Linnaeus himself, one to mark each decade since his birth!

In each post, we will also include some information about Linnaeus and a link to news of celebrations in Sweden and around the world - be it conferences, seminars, festivals, photos, books, articles, photos, webpages, exhibitions and blogs of course! The images will be archived in the Habitatnews Flickr Album: Linnaeus 300 and the links will be listed in my del.icio.us "linnaeus300" tags.

Linnaeus 2007 - The Linnaeus celebration by the National Linnaeus Secretariat established at the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences is today's link. In "Reasons for Celebrating Carl Linnaeus", they write:

"Carl Linnaeus was born nearly 300 years ago in a small village in Smäland, Räshult. Celebrations of the tercentenary are currently being prepared throughout Sweden and in many places abroad. The Linnaeus Tercentenary will offer many exciting events - from scientific conferences to lectures for the general public, exhibitions, Linnaeus rambles in the countryside, and guided tours of the Linnaeus Sites in Smäland and Uppland.

The Linnaeus Tercentenary has two clear goals. The first goal is to increase interest for science among children and young people; the second goal is to present a full-faceted image of Carl Linnaeus for the general public. The tercentenary is centred on the concepts of Creativity - Curiosity - Science. These principles form the basis for all events and they have set their stamp on the preparations.

Celebrate this unique occasion with us!"

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