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Singapore exposé in rainforest book and online nature archive

10 July 2012

(From right) Dr Yaacob, Prof Ng and Mr Loh Pin-Chuan, Singapore Public and Government Affairs Manager of ExxonMobil Asia Pacific sharing a light moment during the launch, when a "tree" collapses to reveal the book on rainforests

A beautiful leopard cat, one of the endangered species featured in the book
Photo: Norman Lim

A digital database of flora and fauna is now freely accessible to the public online. Set up by the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) at NUS, the "Digital Nature Archive of Singapore" (DNA) represents the first searchable website that connects historical and current records on the nation's plants, animals and natural habitats.

The portal gathers more than a century of research dedicated to natural history by past and present NUS faculty members and naturalists. The materials augment efforts by the National Parks Board and the National Library Board to establish national inventories on biodiversity-related publications.

The digital archive was launched on 4 July by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts. Some 120 guests from the nature and scientific community, as well as from schools and government sector, attended the occasion.

Also unveiled at the event was Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore's Rainforests. The book features 19 chapters and 298 pages written by 19 scientists and naturalists with a foreword by Prof Tommy Koh, Rector of the Tembusu College at NUS and Ambassador-At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fourth in the Private Lives series sponsored by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, the latest edition is a collection of short stories about the life and times of the organisms in Singapore's tropical rainforests. It highlights the rich biodiversity of the forests and the work conducted to conserve them.

A fifth book in the series is already in the pipeline. Coral reef expert Prof Chou Loke Ming from the NUS Department of Biological Sciences will be writing about his favourite topic over the next few months.

At the event, RMBR's Director Prof Peter Ng also announced the appointments of two Honorary Museum Associates. Prof Wee Yeow Chin and Mdm Kok Oi Yee, who were long-serving staff at NUS, were recognised for being active members of the naturalist community even after their retirement.

Click here for more interesting happenings at the events.