25 March 2010

9 Apr (Fri): Talk on "Galapagos of the Indian Ocean: Christmas Island, Kingdom of Crabs"

The most intrepid Dr Tan Heok Hui of Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research will share about their recent trip to Christmas Island.

This talk will highlight the unique flora and fauna of Christmas Island, and the findings of a recent expedition conducted earlier in 2010. The main purpose of the Raffles Museum expedition was to update the baseline data of crustaceans in Christmas Island, to complement earlier efforts conducted from 1900 to 1940 by the Singapore National Museum.

Remote islands have always piqued the interests of biologists, in terms of species endemism, ecological specialization and biogeographical implications.

Christmas Island is no exception, located approximately 380 km, 10° south of the equator, off Java in the Indian Ocean. It is an isolated volcanic island that has experienced many uplifts, with rich deposits of mineral phosphate. This island had been exploited for its phosphate since the late 1800s and was under the administration of the British Straits Settlement in Singapore. Ownership of the island was transferred to Australia in 1957.

Despite the phosphate mining, Australian conservation efforts have designated 63 % of the island as a protected National Park. This island still boasts of unique wildlife found nowhere else and is witness to the largest annual migration of land crabs – up to 100 million individuals; and also the only location with a freshwater mangrove.

Time: 4pm
Venue: LT 20
More details: http://www.dbs.nus.edu.sg/events/seminars/2010/heok.pdf

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