Scientific Talks

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum organises a wide range of public talks for both the scientific community and members of the public.

Upcoming Talks
The Unnoticed Wonder of Acalyptrate Flies


Past Talks
Unmasking the Vigilantes of Pest Control


Parasitoid wasps play vital ecological roles as natural controllers of insect populations, including harmful pests. Adults lay eggs on doomed host insects, which are eventually consumed by ravenous larvae that hatch from these eggs.

Wasp from the family Ichneumonidae forms one of the largest and most species-rich insect groups, with about 100,000 species worldwide. Despite their ecological importance and hyperdiversity, very little is understood about Ichneumonids worldwide. Only 30% of all estimated species have been formally described, of which 4000 occur in Southeast Asia: merely 68 have been recorded from Singapore.

With the help of high throughput DNA barcoding techniques, these numbers are set to grow more Ichneumonid species from both Singapore and other parts of this region await discovery and description

Foraminifera in the abyssal nodule fields of Singapore exploration area, eastern equatorial Pacific


Foraminifera, testate (i.e. shell-bearing) protists, are a major and ubiquitous component of the marine benthic biota from estuarine and intertidal habitats to the deepest ocean trenches. in coastal and continental slope settings, assemblages comprise a mixture of ‘advanced’ multichambered taxa, including those with a calcareous test, and ‘primitive’ single-chambered forms (‘monothalamids’). At greater depths, however, as the food supply diminishes, monothalamids become increasingly important and are often the dominant faunal component on abyssal plains (>3500 m depth). This talk describes present recent research on benthic foraminifera discovered in the Singapore exploration area of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (4050-4300 m depth). With increasing human intervention in the deep ocean, awareness is growing of the importance of conserving the pristine environment and its biota. In this context, there is a particular need to describe the rich protistan biodiversity within the CCZ using a combination of morphological and genetic data, and to gain a better understanding of broader biogeographic patterns so that we can better assess the vulnerability of species to extinction as a result of activities such as seabed mining\

Battle of the Deep: Sperm Whales and Giant Squids By Dr. Kubodera

The battles between giant squids and sperm whales have inspired legends over centuries, and still captures the imagination and curiosity of people today. In this talk, Dr Kubodera will shine a light on the large squids that live in the “twilight zone” of the sea, and the deep-diving sperm whales that hunt them. His own hunt to study these large squids over the last 40 years would make him the first person to film a giant squid in its natural habitat off Ogasawara, Japan in 2012. Come relive the moment as he shares about the giant squid filming project that became an international award winning documentary.

Dr Tsunemi Kubodera is Curator Emeritus & Honourable Member of the the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, Japan. He and his team are the first to both photograph and film a live Giant Squid in its natural habitat!

Sperm Whales by Tony Wu

Starting from his first encounter, when a sperm whale slammed him with sound waves, and took him in its mouth… Join us as Tony takes us through his 17-year learning process, where he experiences swimming among pods of whales in hundreds, perhaps thousands. He will relate his encounters with what we seemingly know and speculate, in the academic context, about the mysterious giant mammals of the deep.

About Tony Wu:

Winner of the 52nd (2016) and 46th (2010) Wildlife Photographer of the Year award (Underwater category) organised by the Natural History Museum in London, Tony Wu is a photo-naturalist and a full-time marine photographer. His primary focus is observing, understanding, documenting behaviour and the contexts in which these animals live. Previously a “productive member of society with a normal job”, he quit in 2001 to devote his life to the oceans. He loves everything in the sea, but in recent years has spent most of his time working with large cetaceans.


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