Friday, September 21, 2012

The Wallace Lectures - Marine Biodiversity: Known and Unknown


I attended the latest instalment of the Wallace Lectures. Conducted by Dr. Bertrand Richer de Forges, it was an overview about some of the amazing and mysterious deep-sea communities, many of which were only discovered in the last 50 years, as well as a discussion of how much more we still don't know about marine biodiversity.


Naturally, I live-tweeted much of the session, under the hasthag #WallaceBertrandRicherdeForges, and here are my tweets from that evening and photos of some of his slides, compiled as a Storify:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prehistoric Rhinos - An Underrated Evolutionary Saga: World Rhino Day Part 2

Paraceratherium, a giant browsing rhinoceros from the Oligocene;
(By Kevin Yan)

Previously, I explained my great dislike for statements claiming that the 5 extant species of rhinoceros are prehistoric survivors. The rhinos we see today represent a single surviving lineage, a mere twig in the rhino family tree. This post will look at some of these actual prehistoric rhinos, and we'll see that over the last 50 million years, rhinos took on many different shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rhinos are not prehistoric survivors: World Rhino Day Part 1

Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis);
(Photo by International Rhino Foundation)

This coming Saturday, 22nd September, will be World Rhino Day. It is a day to highlight the ongoing poaching crisis that continues to threaten the survival of all 5 species of rhino, and to push for greater action to put an end to the needless killing over fallacious claims of rhino horn possessing medicinal properties.

While it seems that rhinos were not historically present in Singapore (except as captive specimens), I am particularly fond of rhinos, and have decided to do a series of post in the days leading up to World Rhino Day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

International Vulture Awareness Day: Vultures in Singapore

Gyps himalayensis , Himalayan Griffon, in Tibetan "mkha' la 'khor མཁའ་ལ་འཁོར་"
(Photo by reurinkjan)

Today is International Vulture Awareness Day, and I thought it would be appropriate to write about records of vultures in Singapore.

But why do we need a day to celebrate vultures? As stated on the International Vulture Awareness Day website:
Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas that they occur. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction.

The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.

It is now recognised that a co-ordinated international day will publicise the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the world's vulture conservationists.