Research Archive


The Biodiversity Group in the National University of Singapore was set up in 1998 under the auspices of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. Currently, it consists of some ten academic staff and numerous postgraduate and undergraduate students.

The Research focus may be organised into three main sections:

♦ Aquatic diversity - which consists of research mainly on freshwater fish and decapod crustaceans, aquatic bugs and beetles.

♦ Marine diversity and ecology - corals, mangroves, plankton, polychaetes, decapod crustaceans, fishes, coastal zone management.

♦  Terrestrial diversity and ecology - which consists of research mainly on angiosperms, mosses and ferns, birds and insects

RMBR researchers have carried out, and are currently engaged in numerous surveys, expeditions and collaborative work on biodiversity and ecology in the Asia-Pacific region. Academic links have been established with scientists from some 25 regional and international universities, museums and research institutes. RMBR staff and students have published over 250 scientific papers between 1993 and 1998.  This has greatly enhanced the quantity, quality and international importance of the Museum's reference collection.

Long Term Research Objectives

1. Documentation of the various biodiversity components in Singapore and the surrounding region.

2. Elucidation of speciation and evolutionary events for selected groups of organisms.

3. Raise the level of pure and applied research in biodiversity-related aspects among local, regional and international biologists.

4. Establishment of a regional database for biodiversity matters.

5. Formulation and marketing of environmental guidelines and skills regarding use of the above knowledge for applied purposes.

Research Areas  

1. Taxonomy of various groups of marine organisms of Singapore.

2. Diversity and ecological studies of reefs and mangroves to determine management regimes and conservation of key habitats for commerce and recreation.

3. Taxonomy of the plants of Singapore for a floral compendium for the island.

4. Diversity and ecological studies of rainforest arthropods to investigate ecological processes generating the observed diversity and assemblage structure, and use of arthropod assemblages as tools for environmental assessment and monitoring.

5. Diversity and ecology of birds, bees, butterflies, bats and primates to elucidate the effects of forest loss and degradation, with implications for rainforest conservation.

6. Regional and worldwide systematic studies of various groups of plants and animals (mainly bryophytes, insects, crustaceans and fishes) to clarify their identities and genetic diversity of their populations, identify those useful as environmental markers and produce guides for education and conservation purposes.

7. Biogeography of Southeast Asia, and evolutionary history of selected groups of organisms, in particular, cryptograms, fish and decapods.

8. Derivation of various techniques and tools to utilise biodiversity in implementing environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and natural habitat management.

9. Diversity and ecology of terrestrial and airborne.