Speakers’ Abstracts

I – CONFLICT AND RECONCILIATION


1. “Reticulated Pythons in Singapore: Dispensable Pest or Indispensable Predator?”
Mary-Ruth LOW, David BICKFORD
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

The Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus) is the longest snake species in the world. It is also one of the most frequently encountered snakes in Singapore, with recorded sightings in parks, drains, houses and even a public swimming pool. What are the variables affecting the high incidences of human-snake conflict? How are these snakes moving through the city? What role do they play in our urbanized ecosystem–superfluous pest or key predator? These questions will be explored with findings from an ongoing study with the eventual aim of scientifically managing reticulated pythons in Singapore.

 

2. “Monkey Guards – An alternative to co-existing with macaques”
Sabrina JABBAR1, Rudolf MEIER2, N. Sivasothi2 & Amy KLEGARTH3

1Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES)
2Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)
3University of Notre Dame

The Long tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is indigenous to Singapore. According to the AVA, culling macaques is in the interest of public safety, and in response to public feedback relating to human macaque interaction.

However, studies show that culling macaques may result in detrimental effects such as, migration to fill the ecological vacuum, and dispersion of macaques in destabilised troops. The random culling of macaques provides no certainty that those which are the subject of complaints are removed – defeating the intended objective of this method. ACRES recommends a humane method of resolving human macaque tension, particularly where residences are located or human activities are carried out close to the forest fringe. Under the Monkey Guards programme, Monkey Guards deter macaques from entering premises using behaviour modification methods. The objective of this programme is to promote and enable harmonious coexistence with macaques.

ACRES has successfully trialed the Monkey Guards programme in condominiums located near the forest fringe. A residential estate has even declared itself a no cull zone. Based on studies, culling macaques is ineffective in resolving human macaque tension. Whereas, positive management strategies focused on promoting macaque behavioural etiquette, and the circumvention of negative interaction, may become the foundation for healthy, long term coexistence with macaques in Singapore.

 

3. “Human-ecosystem conflict in Singapore: a study of encroachment of prohibited nature areas”
Audrey LEE Lijin & N. Sivasothi
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

Encroachment of prohibited nature areas was studied by recruiting incidents from members of Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore, NUS Toddycats’ volunteers, social media platforms, and opportunistic field surveys, to reflect the intricacies of this human-ecosystem conflict. Observations revealed both night and day encroachment on restricted and activity-specific trails by a diverse group of stakeholders. Information onsite and online which transgressors reported to be insufficient were examined and details for improvement are proposed. Both enforcement and education are required for proper management of these nature areas to ensure that the ecosystems are protected.

 

4. “The community-government engagement approach over the alignment of the Cross Island Line”
Tony O’DEMPSEY
Nature Society Singapore (NSS)

The announcement in 2013 by LTA of a proposal to build the Cross Island MRT Line passing through the most pristine forests in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve threw the nature community into overdrive.

Different groups reacted in different ways depending on their strengths and dispositions. The Nature Society (Singapore) adopted the approach of non-emotional rational argument and soon released a position paper setting out its objections as well as suggesting an alternative alignment. This approach led to a rational dialog with the Land Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport culminating several nature groups and individuals contributing to the Environmental Impact Survey commissioned by the LTA . This presentation will review the significant events and arguments adopted for the CRL campaign and compare with past campaigns for Lower Peirce Golf Course, and Bukit Brown Road Realignment.

 

5. “Developing MacRitchie”
CHU Hao Pei
School of Art, Design & Media, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Developing MacRitchie (2015), is a mixed media art installation that consists of three video monologues and three alternating sign projections in a man-made rainforest environment. The project was inspired by the Singapore’s Land Transport Authority’s proposal to build a metro line – Cross Island Line – cutting across the MacRitchie Reservoir by 2030. MacRitchie Reservoir is a reservoir that lies in the heart of Singapore and is part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve today. Developing MacRitchie challenges the idea of development in Singapore, questioning if development is only define by new creations.

 

6. “Love MacRitchie: Engagements, Connections and Environmental Activism in Singapore”
TAN Hui Zhen & Carl Grundy Warr
National University of Singapore (NUS)

2001 marked a significant milestone for environmental activism in Singapore when land reclamation work at Chek Jawa was deferred at the eleventh-hour in response to unprecedented public interest and lobbying. Since then, numerous green and blue environmental interest groups have proliferated over the last decade. Along with this distinct growth of environmental civil society in Singapore, environmental activism has also become much more multi-networked, multi-media and multi-textual. This session shares about Love Our MacRitchie Forest Movement as well as research experiences and findings about different forms of engagement that connects and mobilizes civil society for environmental advocacy in Singapore.

 

II – BECOMING BIODIVERSITY SMART: COLLECTING CRITICAL DATA I


1. “Clues from genomics: What faeces can tell us about biology of the banded leaf monkeys (Presbytis femoralis) in Singapore”
Amrita Srivathsan1,2, ​Andie Ang3, Alfried P. Vogler2,4, Rudolf Meier5,1
1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)
2Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London
3Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder
4Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum London
5Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, Singapore (LKCNHM)

Cheap DNA sequencing now allows us to use forensic techniques not only for pursuing criminals, but also for studying the natural history of endangered species. Here I use DNA from 6 faecal samples of banded leaf monkeys to study the diet, genetics, and gut parasites of these monkeys. By analyzing billions of base-pairs, I find that the genetic variability in Singapore’s population is alarmingly low (based on six full mitochondrial genomes), but the monkeys feed on a very diverse diet consisting of >60 species of plants with one faecal sample containing DNA traces from up to 34 species. I also check for the presence of DNA traces from gut parasites and find evidence for infections with Blastocystis, Entamoeba and nematodes (roundworms).

 

2. “What is the Singapore Slow Loris and how will we ever know?”
FAM Shun Deng & Myron SHEKELLE
Australian National University (ANU)

In the current IUCN Red List, five mostly allopatric species of slow loris are recognised . Nycticebus coucang is distributed throughout the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Southern Thailand. Nycticebus bengalensis (Bengal Slow Loris) is found from the Isthmus of Kra and into southern China, and from Bengal and into Indochina, where it is, in some areas, sympatric with Nycticebus pygmaeus and N.coucang. Nycticebus menagensis (Bornean Slow Loris) is principally from Borneo, although the type locality is Tataan, Tawi-tawi Island (Timm and Birney, 1992). Nycticebus javanicus (Javan Slow Loris) is endemic to Java (Supriatna et al. 2001; Nekaris and Bearder, 2007). Where once all Asian lorises were lumped under N.coucang, in actuality, lorises are probably subdivided into numerous cryptic allopatric and parapatric taxa as is commonly found in other nocturnal animals with limited distribution radii. Recently, a study in found a strong case for N.menagensis to be further split into 4 separate species, including one N. bancanus, only found on the small Indonesian island of Bangka. A previous study suggested that the Sumatran slow lorises may in fact exist as two subspecies. For Singapore, this raises two questions. Is there a Singaporean slow loris? How will we ever know?

 

3. Invading incognito—Introduced freshwater snails of Singapore
Ting Hui NG1,2, Siong Kiat TAN3, Darren C.J. YEO2
1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

2NUS Environmental Research Institute, National University of Singapore (NUS)
3Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore (LKCNHM)

In contrast to other native aquatic fauna in Singapore, freshwater snails here are almost exclusively found in human-impacted habitats, e.g., reservoirs and canals. Thus, even though some species may be found in neighbouring countries, it is suspected that many freshwater snails are non-native (introduced). The identity of two long-established, introduced freshwater snails have only recently been clarified—the Chinese viviparid snail Sinotaia guangdungensis, and the globally-invasive tadpole snail Physa acuta. These cases exemplify the challenges that remain to be overcome in studying and managing introduced freshwater snails in this region, i.e., taxonomic-uncertainty and unknown introduction pathways.

 

4. “Assassin Bugs: Biodiversity, Phylogenetics and Diet”
YEO Huiqing, Rudolf MEIER & HWANG Wei Song
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

Reduviidae (assassin bugs) are a diverse group of predatory bugs that has received little attention. We only have the species descriptions for most species, while little is known about their relationships and natural history. The total number of species in Singapore is also unknown and there is a lack of user-friendly identification resources. In my project, I aim to utilise modern techniques to address these issues and fill the knowledge gaps. An up-to-date checklist of reduviids in Singapore is compiled. I carried out COI barcoding and developed an online morphological identification tool using species pages as well as illustrated identification keys. I also present the most extensive phylogeny for Oriental Salyavatinae and test the monophyly of several taxa. The Velitra clade is recognized as a possible sister-taxon of Salyavatinae. Gut dissections and metabarcoding were carried out on five Lisarda species in Singapore. The diet profiles consist mainly of termites, thus confirming Lisarda spp are termite specialists.

 

5. “Investigating Haemoparasites of Reticulated Pythons (Malayopython reticulatus) in Singapore”
LIN Shuyan1, Jose Christopher E. MENDOZA2
1Environmental Studies Programme, National University of Singapore (NUS)
2Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

Parasites can play an important role as drivers of host ecology and life history. This study provided baseline information on prevalence and parasite load of haemoparasites in reticulated pythons (Malayopython reticulatus) in Singapore. Blood smears of M. reticulatus captured from a mark-and-recapture program during 2006–2009 were examined to determine prevalence and parasite load; and to obtain morphometric data of haemoparasites seen. This is the first study on the haemoparasites of M. reticulatus and also the first report of Hepatozoon from this species of snake. Parasite presence and load were tested against individual snake characteristics of sex, length, weight/length and qualitative body condition to determine if haemoparasites were harmful and if any trait predisposed snakes to haemoparasite infections. Prevalence and parasite load were relatively low. Transmission of haemoparasites among M. reticulatus was apparently limited, but a possible area of concern with high prevalence was identified at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. It was concluded that haemoparasites were unlikely to pose a threat to the conservation of M. reticulatus in Singapore although there was some negative relationship between parasite presence and weight/length ratio. Two morphospecies of Hepatozoon seen were also identified as potential new species.

 

6. “Natural history observations of two pairs of Spotted Wood-owls (Strix seloputo)”
Ella McAULIFFE, John McAuliffe, Leong Tzi Ming & Vilma D’Rozario
United World College of Southeast Asia (UWCSEA)

It is through dedicated observations of our native fauna that we can discover more about them, and begin to think of ways to conserve them. Two pairs of Spotted Wood-owls (Strix seloputo) were regularly observed at two different sites in Singapore in late 2013 and through 2014. This presentation will highlight our observations of their behaviour, diet composition, and breeding attempts. We observed that the owl pairs not only snoozed most of the day, but also preened, stretched their wings, cooled off using gular fluttering, defecated and expelled owl pellets. Vocalisations were heard at dusk and before dawn, and sometimes at odd hours of the night. Hunting was observed along a large drain for one pair. Analysis of owl pellets showed both vertebrate and invertebrate prey. Breeding success was recorded for both pairs of owls.

 

III – ECO-LITERACY AND NEGLECTED APPROACHES


1. “SPECIAL UPDATE: The Singapore Whale”
Marcus CHUA
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore (LKCNHM)

On 10 Jul 2015, a 10.6 m-long female sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was found dead off Jurong Island, making that the first record of the species in Singapore. The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum was informed and a massive effort to recover the carcass started with the aim to preserve the carcass for exhibition and salvage biological material for science. Through the efforts and assistance from members of the public, volunteers, NGO and government agencies, the whale was secured and brought to a restricted beach for processing. There, the museum’s whale team endured stench and gore in a rush against time to prepare the carcass for preservation and to preserve precious parts of the whale for research. Plastics and squid beaks were found in the stomach of the sperm whale, along with broken bones in the spine that provide possible clues to the death of the whale. With the specimen secured, what are the challenges to preserve this sperm whale, known as the Singapore Whale or Jubilee Whale for exhibition and science?

2. “Communicating the closure of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – mechanisms, reactions & implications”
XU Weiting & N. Sivasothi
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

In an unprecedented announcement of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) closure in 2014, this presented a unique opportunity to observe the NParks communication mechanisms and to examine the reactions towards the closure of this well-loved and well-used nature reserve. The NParks communication mechanisms and media transmission efficiency were investigated through an evaluation of message elements and frequency in all print, online and social media articles. A total of 28 articles were generated within three months; “information” message elements were more highly conserved and transmitted as compared to “explanation” message elements.

Though the closure announcement was initially feared to receive a public backlash, it later turned out to be non-contentious. Reactions from the public were studied through on-site and online surveys of BTNR visitors and NUS undergraduates respectively. Results revealed that BTNR visitors had higher visit frequency and more negative reactions compared to NUS students. For BTNR visitors, interest and visit frequency determined their level of knowledge and reactions, while for NUS undergraduates, academic background was the determining factor. Thus, the understanding of communication mechanisms and reactions of the BTNR closure suggests the importance of targeted communication to enhance ecoliteracy and implications for nature management and conservation in Singapore.

 

3. “Understanding Singapore’s Long-tailed macaques”
Jayasri S.L. 1,2, Vilma D’Rozario 2, Tay Kae Fong2
1National Parks Board (NParks)
2Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS)

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are one of the most prominent native wildlife of Singapore. Their natural preference to live at forest edges, their adaptability and changes in Singapore’s land use has led to more interaction between humans and macaques. Managing human-macaque conflict involves understanding of macaques and people. However, there exists a gap in understanding human dimensions and utilising human learning to full potential. Direct experience with wildlife is an effective tool in changing attitudes and leaving lasting impressions about species. In this presentation, I will outline specialised public awareness programs about macaques such as guided walks, talks and educational activities for students and the public. These programs have been effective in developing an appreciation for macaques and providing learning opportunities about macaques by observing their behaviour in their natural environment.

 

4. “Citizen science contributions to tracking the seasonal abundance of the tropical swallowtail moth (Lyssa zampa) (Butler, 1869)”
Lynn NG, Anuj Jain, N. Sivasothi
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

In 2014, the mass appearance of the tropical swallowtail moth in our urban areas has received great public attention. However, despite its prominence, little is known about ​​Lyssa zampa, and this study established aspects of its biology and ecology. All specimens either collected in field or contributed by the public were measured to better understand the biology of ​​L. zampa, and revealed to us the greater wing length and body width exhibited by females. Public contributions on platforms such as Habitatnews and NSS-BIG records were also analysed and these served as a great repository for studying the distribution and seasonal abundance of ​​L. zampa. This moth can be found year-round, but peaks in abundance between May to July. Our bright urban areas had a far greater sighting of ​​L. zampa compared to forested zones, and this is despite its host plant being a forest tree. The seasonality of ​​L. zampa may be due to the dry spells, while the occurrence in urban areas is likely due to moth’s attraction to bright city lights which are attracting the larger and better flyers out of forest areas. This study highlights the importance of public contributions to scientific research.

 

5. “Community in Nature for Schools: Encouraging and Empowering Our Young to Act for Biodiversity”
Henrietta P.M. WOO, Linda M.E. GOH
National Biodiversity Centre, National Parks Board (NParks)

Community in Nature (CIN) is a national movement to conserve Singapore’s natural heritage spearheaded by the National Parks Board (NParks). It brings together all of NParks’ nature-related events, activities and programmes with the aim of connecting, engaging and inspiring diverse communities to help conserve our biodiversity. With close to 400 schools in Singapore, students and teachers collectively are a major stakeholder in biodiversity conservation. Nature education is therefore essential in creating awareness and promoting the appreciation of biodiversity, with the ultimate aim of building a lasting foundation of ecological literacy in schools. NParks has and continues to reach out to many schools through its myriad of nature education programmes under CIN. These encompass one or more of the following components: habitat enhancement, citizen science, and outreach – encouraging and empowering our young to act for our natural heritage through these different facets of biodiversity conservation.

 

6. “Ecosystem services – a future tool to conserve Singapore’s threatened mangroves?”
Dan FRIESS, Dan Richards, Shermaine Wong, Jharyathri Thiagarajah & Valerie Phang
The Mangrove Lab, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS)

Mangroves in Southeast Asia provide a range of ecosystem services and benefits to coastal populations. These include storing carbon, protecting shorelines from coastal erosion, and providing nursery habitat for fish. While Singapore’s remaining mangroves are small, they are still providing important ecosystem services to us. This presentation summarizes several ongoing studies at the Mangrove Lab, NUS. These studies include quantifying the carbon storage potential of mangroves as a way to mitigate anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The mangroves of Chek Jawa store almost double the amount of carbon as the secondary forest of Bukit Timah, and all the mangroves of Singapore store carbon equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 621 000 Singaporeans. Culture is also an important ecosystem service in Singapore, where analysis of social media photographs has shown how we utilize Chek Jawa for different recreational and cultural purposes, and ultimately shows how we are connected to nature. Finally, we present preliminary results of a modelling study to estimate ecosystem service provision under various land use scenarios. This will help us to reduce human -cosystem conflict and plan how to maximize mangrove conservation and urban development in the future.

 

IV – BECOMING BIODIVERSITY SMART: COLLECTING CRITICAL DATA II


1. “Hop, skip and jump – the striped tit-babbler’s use of forest fragments in Singapore”
TAN Jian Xiong David, Frank E. Rheindt & Kritika Garg
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

Singapore’s forests are extremely fragmented, but exactly how fragmented are they, and how does this affect the animals that live within the forest? In this talk, we explore the patterns of connectivity and isolation across Singapore’s remaining forest patches by studying the population genetics of the Striped Tit-Babbler, a common and widespread bird species that can be found in a variety of scrubby forest-edge and secondary forest habitats in Singapore. Using Next-Generation Sequencing techniques, we sequenced thousands of random regions across the genomes of 46 Striped Tit-Babbler individuals sampled from various locations in Singapore in order to compare the level of genetic similarity between individuals. The results of our study show that corridors for gene flow and dispersal exist between several of Singapore’s remaining forest patches, and we attempt to elucidate where exactly these corridors are using satellite imagery and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analyses to model the likely dispersal pathways for this species.

 

2. “Do birds use reforested sites? Avian point count survey comparison of a reforested and mature secondary forest in Pulau Ubin”
Serin SUBARAJ
National Parks Board (NParks), Temasek Polytechnic

A comparative study was conducted between two reforested sites and a mature secondary forest in Pulau Ubin. Point count and exploratory site patrol techniques were used in the surveys of each plot. These surveys were carried out for 3 months. Special attention was given to the iconic birds of Pulau Ubin. Additional attention was paid to those woodland and forest specialists, this allowed the gauge of the rate of maturation of the reforested trees. Important species like internationally and nationally threatened species were taken note of for conservation. This survey would be the precursor to future species recovery programmes and habitat enhancement projects. Methodology used for these surveys were the standardised procedures for a species and population study. Slight deviations were made to accommodate the inconsistent sizes of the plots. Overall the surveys conducted showed the both the species variability and similarity between the plots. It also showed the population numbers of the different species for each plot.

 

3. “Skyrise greenery: enhancing bird and butterfly diversity in Singapore
Chloe TAN1, Vivien Naomi Lee1, James Wang2, Poh Choon Hock3, Benjamin Lee3, Jessica Bramley3, Anisha Rajbhandari3, Erin Tan1, Jolene Lim1, Edward L. Webb1
1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

2Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS)
3National Parks Board (NParks)

The provision of habitat for native fauna is an important function of skyrise greenery. The prospect of birds and butterflies regularly visiting green roofs and green walls integrated seamlessly in urban areas certainly has a broad public appeal, and could also contribute to native species conservation. NParks with NUS embarked on this study to better understand the interaction of skyrise greenery with urban biodiversity. Over 40 species of birds and 50 species of butterflies have been recorded through monthly roof garden surveys over one year. Through establishing a quantitative and photographic database of animals using local skyrise greenery, and determining primary environmental factors which may influence the diversity of the bird and butterfly fauna at the 32 roof garden sites, the comprehensive study hopes to formulate guidelines and recommendations to the design and management of roof gardens so as to enhance their biodiversity values. For the notion of roof gardens as biodiversity oases to be sustainable, it is important that we harmonize the needs of wildlife and people. Hence, we seek to understand both the ecological and social aspects that can contribute to the management and design of future roof gardens.

 

4. “Biodiversity and ecological studies in the reservoirs of Singapore”
NG Wen Qing1, CHEN Ming Li1, Yvonne KWANG1, LIEW Jia Huan1, Rayson LIM Bock Heng1, TAN Heok Hui2, Jeffrey KWIK Teik Beng1 & Darren YEO Chong Jinn1
1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

2Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore (LKCNHM)

Building on the first broad­based qualitative biodiversity study of Singapore’s reservoirs, which ended in 2010, the Freshwater and Invasion Biology Lab at the National University of Singapore is now collaborating with PUB, the national water agency, to quantitatively study ecological interactions among the reservoirs’ aquatic fauna, with particular emphasis on fishes. These studies include investigation of 1) the food webs and trophic structure in six reservoirs and its implications on environmental and water quality management; and 2) environmental effects of floating solar panels on reservoir ecology. As limited research has been done in the past on the biodiversity and ecology of Singapore’s lentic waters, it is anticipated that such projects will now provide a greater understanding of the roles that our reservoir biodiversity might play in maintaining both the aquatic environment and the water quality in Singapore.

 

5. “Rapid biodiversity discovery in megadiverse tropical systems using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) barcodes”
Darren YEO1, ​Amrita Srivathsan1, Wendy Wang1, Maosheng Foo2, Jayanthi Puniamoorthy3, Wong Wing Hing1, Rudolf Meier1
1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS)

2Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore (NUS)
3California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Insect sampling in tropical regions such as Singapore typically yield samples with tremendous species diversity, but the most daunting challenge is the sorting of these massive collections of specimens to species. Morphological sorting by taxonomic experts is ideal but costly and difficult to come by, while sorting by parataxonomists can be highly inaccurate. Here, we show a feasible alternative by using DNA sequences as ‘barcodes’ to group specimens into genetic clusters before being passed on to taxonomic experts for morphological verification and imaging. Using an efficient pipeline incorporating modern molecular techniques and technologies such as direct­PCR and Next Generation Sequencing, we are able to tackle large samples of specimens at a very low cost, and also easily acquire information for life­history stage associations, biomonitoring and bioassessment. This has allowed us to steadily build a large repository data on the biodiversity of Singapore, directly contributing to the Animal and Plants of Singapore initiative.

 

6. “The Animals and Plants of Singapore initiative: a ‘Pokédex’ for our local biodiversity”
ANG Yuchen1, Rudolf Meier1,2
1Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, National University of Singapore (NUS)
2Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore (LKCNHM)

In spite of aspiring to be a ‘smart nation’, the knowledge of Singapore’s natural heritage remains scant, especially in less charismatic – but ecologically important – organismal groups such as insects. This lack of information can prevent us from properly managing and protecting our biodiversity resources. The Animals and Plants of Singapore (APS), a recently started initiative, aims to comprehensively document Singapore’s biodiversity, and present it as an accessible digital reference collection online (http://nat-hist.sg/APS). Based on data generated from new molecular techniques and high quality imaging solutions, we are steadily adding numerous insect groups into the already existing list of more prominent vertebrate animal groups. Each species entry will eventually have high quality, diagnostic imaging data, as well as molecular ‘barcodes’, allowing APS to function as a morphological and molecular tool for species identification. Additionally, APS will link to any existing digital biodiversity resource for its species entries, making it the first step portal to finding out more about our natural heritage.

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