Author: marcuschua

Job Opportunity: Management Assistant Officer (1 Year Contract)

We are looking for a Management Assistant Officer:


  1. Provide office administration support services such as liaising with vendors and term contractors to order office supplies and maintain office facilities to ensure smooth operation of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM).
  2. Act as point of contact for all incoming administrative telephone calls, emails, faxes and enquiries.
  3. Provide logistical (and organisational) support for events/meetings/seminars (both internally and with external parties), and be able to prepare minutes for these meeting when necessary.
  4. Provide secretarial and administrative support to the Head of Department (assist with calendar, arrangement of meetings, assist with travel arrangements).
  5. Assist in finance and accounting processes including accounts payable/receivable, procurement of goods/services, Income Collection System, and ensuring they comply with all financial and purchasing procedures.
  6. Assist in Human Resource related matters such as recruitment, appointments, and annual review exercises.
  7. Perform various tasks using SAP-based systems, and TRAC.
  8. Provide assistance to, and answer queries from, LKCNHM staff members relating to administrative matters (e.g., purchasing, leave, claims).
  9. Attend to all general enquires.
  10. Any other duties as assigned. 


  • Diploma/professional qualification related to Business/Administration/Accounting
  • Minimum 3 years of relevant working experience
  • Competent in Microsoft Office (especially Word, Excel and Outlook) and SAP
  • Good interpersonal and communications skills
  • Be able to exercise tact, discretion, understanding, and sensitivity in the handling of confidential information and delicate issues/situations
  • Meticulous approach to carrying out tasks and possess a positive work attitude

 Job: Non-academic
Schedule: Full-time – Fixed Term (Contract)

To apply, go to:

The post SG50 intern — Han Shen!

NUS Toddycats!

We have a new intern! Introducing Han Shen, a recent University of Queensland graduate, who will be with us for the next three months helping out with Toddycats events and LKCNHM communications.

And just in time too, for Pesta UbinBalik Chek Jawa, and Festival of Biodiversity 2016!

As with Sankar and Lynn, we’ve asked Han Shen to write a self introduction. He’s wishing he has a good stint with us!

HanshenAbout Yourself

Hello! My name is Han Shen, I am the new intern with the LKCNHM! I am passionate about all things nature. This love for all things green and wild led me to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Wildlife Management at the University of Queensland in 2013. I have been working in Canberra, Australia for the past 2 years monitoring kangaroos, reptiles (skinks, bearded dragons & occasionally snakes), frogs and native grasses as part…

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ST Infographic: Diving into Whale Biology

The Straits Times created an infographic of the Singapore sperm whale that explains more about the way of life of this majestic creature, and what the museum discovered about her.

Sperm whales are one of the most capable divers of all mammals. How do they cope with the pressure, and find their food?

Explore the infographic and check out the exhibit starting 15 Mar 2016 at the museum!

020 20160312 Whale Infographic B F T

Image source: The Straits Times

Talk: A Double Bill of Fly Tales by Barbara Ismay and Rudolf Meier Thu 10 Mar 7pm

Free talk on the importance of flies and other insects, and the discovery of insects in Singapore’s mangrove fragments by Dr Barbara Ismay and Prof Rudolf Meier.

Date/time: Thu 10 Mar 2016: 7.00pm
Venue: LKCNHM Learning Lab 2

All are welcomed. Please register (for dinner catering):



New findings on the fore-leg evolution of assassin bugs

Gardena_thumbnailAssassin bugs (Reduviidae) have evolved a rich arsenal of weaponry for prey capture in their 178 million years of diversification. With about 7,000 known species worldwide, the corresponding variety of strategies to take down their next meal consist of lethal combinations of deceit and different ways to incapacitate their prey.

A team of researchers, including our museum entomologists, Hwang Wei Song and Rudolf Meier, published their latest findings on how the assassin bugs’ fore-leg evolved to the diversity we see today.

Scadra costalis_thumbnailThe fore-legs of the assassin bugs are often involved in prey capture, and have undergone remarkable modifications, presumably as an adaptation to a range of hunting techniques. Some assassin bugs possess a pair of enlarged fore-legs, frequently armed with spines or stiff bristles that aid in grasping prey. However, there are also fore-legs that look unmodified, in some cases coupled with the ability to produce or obtain sticky secretions as an alternative method to trap prey. Attempts to explain for the observed variety in leg modifications across the entire group were not formally tested until now.

In the study, specialized leg structures that are hypothesized to be involved in prey capture were tested to see if the loss of one can be explained by the replacement with another. To trace the evolution of the fore-leg structures, the phylogeny (evolutionary relationships) of assassin bugs was first reconstructed using a novel method combining transcriptomic RNA-derived data (all expressed genes of an individual) and a conventional DNA dataset (Sanger sequencing-derived). This results in the establishment of deep phylogenetic relationships that proved elusive previously.


Fossula spongiosa (fs) in different assassin bug species.

With this latest phylogeny, a specialized leg structure called the “fossula spongiosa”, a spongy pad thought to improve the grip on prey, is shown to be most primitive and already present in the last common ancestor of all assassin bugs. This structure was then lost multiple times throughout the history of assassin bug diversification. Surprisingly, this is not necessarily replaced by other leg modifications. Our results indicate other behavioural and structural adaptations may have a stronger influence shaping the fore-legs. This finding now shifts the attention towards testing the role of other predatory adaptations such as the toxicity of the saliva injected to immobilize prey on the raptorial leg evolution of assassin bugs.

This study was funded by Singapore’s Ministry of Education AcRF Tier 1 grant, US National Science Foundation’s “Partnership in Enhancement of Expertise in Taxonomy” and Assembling Tree-of-Life grants.


Original paper:
Zhang, J. et al. Evolution of the assassin’s arms: insights from a phylogeny of combined transcriptomic and ribosomal DNA data (Heteroptera: Reduvioidea). Sci. Rep. 6, 22177; doi: 10.1038/srep22177 (2016)

Temasekia: 50 Plants and Animals Native to Singapore available in stores

Back by popular demand—Temasekia: 50 Plants and Animals Native to Singapore is on its second print run!

Temasekia cover

The book is now available at the LKCNHM Museum Shop, NUS Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society Ltd (Science, LT27), Kinokuniya SingaporeSelect Books and Nature’s Niche.

More about the book:

Temasekia: 50 Plants and Animals Native to Singapore celebrates the biodiversity of Singapore and discoveries throughout the nation’s history. The species featured in this book were described from specimens collected from Singapore, with some bearing a scientific name related to the history, geography, folklore or cultural heritage of Singapore. A select few are found only in Singapore and nowhere else in the world. All these organisms are the life and soul of the land first known as Temasek, which was the earliest name of the island and settlement located on the present day Singapore. These are the “original Singaporeans”.

The Jubilee Whale Charity Gala Dinner

On 20 Feb 2016, some museum staff were part of the Jubilee Whale Charity Gala dinner, where we announced the progress of our fund raising effort, and the opening of the sperm whale exhibit on 15 March 2016.


The team onstage (L to R): Prof Peter Ng, Kate Pocklington, Foo Maosheng, Iffah bte Iesa, Chen Mingshi, Belinda Teo, Marcus Chua.

The Jubilee Whale Charity Gala Dinner was a joint effort between Temasek Holdings, Mandai Safari Park Holdings, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and the LKCNHM. The organising committee was chaired by Ambassador at Large Prof Tommy Koh and key professionals from the private sector. Organisations and individuals who contributed to the Jubilee Whale Fund attended the dinner, which held at the Singapore Zoo.

During the dinner, Prof Peter Ng, head of the LKCNHM, and Marcus Chua, curator of mammals and birds, shared the story about the Singapore sperm whale that was found dead off Jurong Island on 10 July 2016. They detailed how the whale was discovered, and the process of securing the carcass, preserving the skeleton, and mounting the exhibition.

Prof Ng also announced that $1.3 million was raised for the the Jubilee Whale Fund. The amount raised will go into the exhibition that opens to the public on 15 Mar 2016, and the scientific and education programmes surrounding it.


Sharing about the story of the Singapore sperm whale. Photo by Iffah bte Iesa.

We would like to thank ESM Mr Goh Chok Tong for gracing the dinner as guest of honour, and Prof Tommy Koh, who is the chair of the Friends of the LKCNHM Committee for delivering the closing remarks. Special thanks to supporters who make the whale exhibit possible.

Ah Beng, the new resident in our atrium

Visitors to the museum from 16 Feb 2016 will notice a new resident in our atrium. The large male orangutan, unofficially dubbed “Ah Beng”, who is on long-term loan from the Science Centre Singapore, will now mingle with visitors before they enter our gallery. Ah Beng’s nickname came after countless inquiries if he is the iconic late female Sumatran orangutan, Ah Meng, from the Singapore Zoo.

011 20160216 Ah Beng 1 B F T

Some have asked why the sullen expression on Ah Beng’s face. We think his facial expression, and his new visible position is apt as it highlights the fact that Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are threatened with extinction. The threats they face are from habitat loss (mainly from conversion of forest to oil palm), fires, hunting, and the illegal pet trade.

Ah Beng is already a hit with some of our staff and visitors. Perhaps, the next time when you have a photo with Ah Beng, you can help share these tidbit facts, and advocate more sustainable lifestyle choices for the sake of orangutans.

Lunar New Year Promotion 2016: Return of the Museum Roundtable Red Packet Giveaway

Update: Thank you for your interest in the Museum Roundtable Lunar New Year red packets!

All LKCNHM red packets have been fully redeemed.

Meanwhile, visitors are welcomed to recreate impressions of the red packets with the orangutan in the Biodiversity Gallery, and find out the reason for his expression.

nhb cny red packet redeemption_poster-01

“Based on the incoming zodiac animal for the New Year, participating Museum Roundtable members would distribute their own uniquely designed red packets to visitors of their museums and galleries during this festive season.

Collect these limited edition red packets while stocks last!*”

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum’s exclusive red packet features a primate doing one of the favourite activities of visitors in our gallery with a museum exhibit! Come collect a red packet and do the same before they get snapped up!

LKCNHM Red packet

*Terms and conditions apply.

Free gallery tours at the LKCNHM by volunteer guides

We are pleased to offer free gallery tours at the museum from Thursday 14 January 2016. These tours would be conducted by our team of enthusiastic volunteer guides.

Tours run for one hour, commencing at 1 pm, and are available to the public from Thursdays to Sundays (excluding public holidays).

The tours are restricted to a maximum of 12 persons per group, on a first-come-first-served basis. Do enquire at the front-of-house counter when you visit the museum on tour days!

Volunteer tour 1