Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Tan Heok Hui


Dr. Tan Heok Hui is an ichthyologist at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he is a lecturer, managing editor of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, and holds a shared appointment at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. He is also a collaborator with the Freshwater and Invasion Biology Laboratory at NUS. Dr. Tan’s keen interest in fish started during his undergraduate years at NUS (1992–1996). Through the encouragement and support from his supervisor (Prof. Peter Ng), mentor (Maurice Kottelat), as well as family and friends, this interest was further nurtured. This led Dr. Tan to pursue a Master of Science (NUS) in 1999 which entailed an exhaustive four-year faunistic survey of a river system in Central Sumatra. Thereafter, for his Doctor of Philosophy (NUS) in 2003, he helmed an in-depth study of a group of torrent loaches – endemic to Borneo – including molecular phylogenetic analytical work.

Dr. Tan’s main interest lies in the systematics of Southeast Asian freshwater fishes, encompassing taxonomy, ecology and biogeography. His primary areas of research focus on neglected and de novo habitats such as peat swamp forests, swamp forests, and rapids. Dr. Tan is also involved in local conservation work, as well as both ongoing marine and freshwater systematic pursuits. To date, he has published more than 50 internationally refereed scientific papers, describing more than 85 species of freshwater fishes new to science. Notably, this includes the world’s smallest vertebrate (Paedocypris progenetica) from the peat swamp forests of Indonesia. 

On top of academic pursuits, Dr. Tan is also an environmental consultant for various organisations such as the Public Utilities Board, National Parks Board, and World Wide Fund for Nature (Indonesia).

Please click here for Dr. Tan's curriculum vitae.

Selected publications (in chronological order)

Bohlen J., V. Šlechtová, H. H. Tan & R. Britz, 2011. Phylogeny of the Southeast Asian freshwater fish genus Pangio (Cypriniformes; Cobitidae) and its use as a biogeographic model. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61(3): 854–865.

Conway, K., M. Kottelat & H. H. Tan, 2011. Review of the South East Asian miniature cyprinid genus Sundadanio (Ostariophysi: Cyprinidae) with descriptions of seven new species from Indonesia and Malaysia. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 22(3): 251–288.

Tan, H. H. & K. K. P. Lim, 2011. A new species of glass-perch from Belitung Island, Indonesia (Teleostei: Ambassidae: Gymnochanda). Zootaxa, 3085: 55–62.

Tan, H. H. & K. K. P. Lim, 2011. Rediscovery of the bigmouth stream goby, Pseudogobiopsis oligactis (Actinopterygii: Gobiiformes: Gobionellidae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 4: 363–367.

Ng, H. H. & H. H. Tan, 2010. An annotated checklist of the non-native freshwater fish species in the reservoirs of Singapore. COSMOS, 6(1): 95–116.

Ng, T. H. & H. H. Tan, 2010. The introduction, origin and life history attributes of the non-native cichlid, Etroplus suratensis (Bloch, 1790) in the coastal waters of Singapore. Journal of Fish Biology, 76: 2238–2260.

Tan, H. H., M. E. Y. Low & K. K. P. Lim, 2010. Fishes of the Marina Basin, Singapore, before the erection of the Marina Barrage. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 58(1): 137–144.

Tan, H.H. & M. Kottelat, 2009. Fishes of the Batang Hari basin, Sumatra. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 20(1): 13–69.

Šlechtová, V., J. Bohlen & H. H. Tan, 2007. Families of loach fishes (Teleostei; Cobitoidea) as revealed from nuclear genetic data and the position of the enigmatic genera Barbucca, Psilorhynchus, Serpenticobitis and Vaillantella. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 44(3): 358–365.

Rüber, L., M. Kottelat, H. H. Tan, P. K. L. Ng & R. Britz, 2007. Evolution of miniaturization and the phylogenetic position of Paedocypris, comprising the world’s smallest vertebrate. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 7: 38–48.

Tan, H. H., 2006. The Borneo Suckers. [Revision of the torrent loaches of Borneo (Teleostei: Balitoridae: Gastromyzon, Neogastromyzon)]. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu. i-vii + 245 pp., 130 figures, 18 colour plates.

Tan, H. H. & P. K. L. Ng, 2006. Six new species of Betta (Teleostei: Osphronemidae) from Borneo. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 17(2): 97–114.

Kottelat, M., R. Britz, H. H. Tan & K.-E. Witte, 2006. Paedocypris, a new genus of Southeast Asian cyprinid fish with a remarkable sexual dimorphism, comprises the world’s smallest vertebrate.  Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B: Biological Sciences, 273: 895–899.

Rüber, L., R. Britz, H. H. Tan, P. K. L. Ng & R. Zardoya, 2004. Evolution of mouthbrooding and life-history correlates in the fighting fish genus Betta. Evolution, 58(4): 799–781.

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