Free Earth Day Talks at the Botanical Gardens

Date May 6, 2008

Tuesday, 6th May 2008
Seagrasses: Not just for Dugongs!
Siti Maryam Yaakub
11am, Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Mention ‘Seagrass’ and most people think: Food for dugongs! Seagrasses have long lived in the shadow of other more charismatic marine habitats like coral reefs and mangroves. But did you know that Singapore is home to extensive seagrass meadows and more than half the species of seagrasses found in the Indo-Pacific? Learn more about the role seagrasses play beyond that of ‘dugong food’. Join Siti for an insight into what seagrasses are really about and the wacky people who have embraced these green wonders of the ocean.

About the speaker: Siti Maryam is a Senior Biodiversity Officer with the Biodiversity Centre of NParks. She is a marine biologist by training and was one of the co-founders of TeamSeagrass, a volunteer group that monitors the health and status of Singapore’s seagrasses. When she is not counting seagrass, Siti enjoys reading, tennis, experimental cooking and swimming with fish.

Saturday, 10th May 2008
The status and biology the Singapore Freshwater Crab, Johora singaporensis
Sivasothi N
2pm, Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

True freshwater crabs have evolved to be completely independent of the marine environment and possess unique characteristics as a result. Many large freshwater streams are home to endemic species and Singapore Island is no exception. The freshwater crab diversity here has been well reported as a result of Peter Ng’s studies in the 1980’s. One crab in particular, was especially celebrated – the endemic Singapore Freshwater Crab, Johora singaporensis. Since that taxonomic examination, little else has been revealed about the crab, partly due to concerns about impacting the small but endangered population. In a recent study, aspects of the population biology, distribution and status of J. singaporensis were studied. This talk discusses the historical discovery, reports highlights of the recent study and discusses conservation implications for the future.

N. Sivasothi is an instructor at the Department of Biological Science more interested in otters and mangroves but inadvertently spent a lot of time in freshwater and peat swamp habitats in the early 90’s on zoological expeditions with Peter Ng. This recent examination of the freshwater crabs in Singapore by both was due to the supervision demands of honours student Daniel Ng.

Tuesday, 13th May 2008
Life – To Give or Not To Give
Karen Teo
11am, Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Acts of compassion turns sour. Come May every year, domesticated animals are illegally released into the nature reserves and reservoirs in the hope of giving them life. But little do many realised that 90% of these domesticated animals end up tragically dead. In an urbanised society like Singapore, the existence of our native flora and fauna hang on a very thin thread. What can we do, as inhabitants of this planet, to save the extensive biodiversity that Mother Earth has so lovingly nurtured over millions of years?

Karen Teo works as a Senior Outreach Officer in Central Nature Reserve, National Parks Board. As an ex-teacher, she is passionate in nature conservation and marrying her teaching skills to share with all the importance of protecting what little natural heritage we have left, through talks, exhibitions, workshops etc.

Saturday, 17th May 2008
Mad About Moths for Kids

Cicada Tree Eco-Place
2pm, Tanglin Core Information Counter, Singapore Botanic Gardens
*This interactive session is limited to 30 children. Please RSVP to by 9th May 2008.

Cicada Tree Eco-Place will conduct Mad About Moths for Kids to share its fascination with our less-known friends, moths. We will offer two concurrent 1.5 hour sessions on moths called Mad about Moths—one for adults and one for kids.

Mad about Moths for Kids will teach kids aged between 5 and 9 how to recognize moths, the differences between moths and butterflies, the life cycle of a moth, why moths are important members of our living planet, and what we can do to make a difference to moths! Children will also get a chance to take quick walk in the Gardens to see some butterflies so as to learn the major differences between moths and butterflies. This session will be fun and engage a young learner.

Cicada Tree Eco-place is a new non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes nature, culture and eco-living through environmental education. Founded in Singapore in 2007, and managed by volunteer educators and environmentalists, it is named after a native freshwater swamp plant whose habitat is locally endangered, Ploiarium alternifolium (Cicada Tree or Riang Riang).

Saturday, 17th May 2008
Mad about Moths: Emperor Moths & Friends from SE Asia & the Amazon
Dr Preston Murphy
2pm, Classroom 3, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Dr Preston Murphy will talk about “Mad about Moths: Emperor Moths & Friends from SE Asia & the Amazon” to highlight the beauty of moths in Asia as well as in South America. This talk, targeted at adult nature lovers, will focus on the diversity of large moths and dispel the myth that all moths are dull in colour and unattractive.

Dr Preston Murphy is former President of Lectret Precision Pte Ltd., Singapore, and continues to consult with the company on communications products. He and his wife Mireille are avid eco-travellers and have been to places as wild as Papua New Guinea to look for the birds of paradise. He is a passionate nature photographer, specialising in moths and butterflies.

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