Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Visiting Scientist Feature: Dr. Yao Chiou-Ju

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Visiting Scientist Feature: Dr. Yao Chiou-Ju

Last week, we welcomed a new visitor to the museum!

Dr. Yao Chiou-Ju is an ornithologist (i.e., person who studies birds) from the National Museum of Natural Science (NMNS) in Taichung, Taiwan.


Dr. Yao examining grey nightjar specimens in our Zoological Reference Collection.

She is currently working on uncovering the identity of five grey nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka) specimens in the NMNS.

They were collected from different locations in Taiwan , and—for years—thought to be the same species based on morphological (i.e., outer appearance) characteristics.

However, after sequencing their DNA, researchers found that the DNA sequences fell into two main large clusters – perhaps signaling that there are two separate species.

As grey nightjars are migratory birds, the origin of these five specimens also remains a mystery.

In order to unravel this mystery, Dr. Yao is visiting various natural history museums around the world to examine their grey nightjars and compare them to the five NMNS specimens.

During her 4-day visit here, she examined grey nightjar specimens in our Zoological Reference Collection – taking various measurements and photographs.

We had a wonderful time hosting Dr. Yao, and can’t wait to see the results of her research!