*cross-posted from TEE lab*
Our co-supervised PhD student was given the amazing opportunity to share about her research on Pulau Ubin. They even saw an Onthophagus dung beetle rolling dung during the shoot!
Reprolab just held an "Introduction to Mosquitos" workshop this week, kindly organised by our mosquito experts Hui Qing (PhD student) and Tze Xuan (UROPS student). The workshop covered the basics of mosquito research like trapping, identifying, and dissecting different species of mosquito.
Hui Qing teaching us about how to identify a mosquito
Students from Prof He's lab and new incoming students to Reprolab all learning how to identify different species of mosquitoes.
A successful 2-day mosquito workshop! Thanks to Hui Qing and Tze Xuan for their hard work in preparing for this!
Our graduate student Sean was featured on Mothership.sg's video series Human Nature: Saikang warrrior Dung Beetles, where he shared about his research.
We made a trip out to the local Citizen Farm to check out the their operation of organic waste recycling using Black Soldier Flies (BSFs). BSF larvae are voracious eaters and can break down nearly 50-70% of organic material and convert 10-12% of that waste into biomass of protein and fats that can be used for animal feed. In our lab, we're interested in the reproductive traits in these flies and we're keen on learning how to optimize fecundity and fertility to increase efficiency and nutrient cycling.
When you tell someone you are a scientist, the image that pops into their mind, is often that of someone working in the laboratory, wearing a white coat and retro safety glasses. And that is not far from the truth for many in the STEM fields.
But for those of us in the natural sciences, there often exists another glamorous component... Fieldwork. In our lab, this often involves travelling to different countries and exploring different kinds of habitats to sample insects. From swampy mangroves and dense forests to urban neighbourhoods, insects can occupy a whole range of niches. We collect insects from different environments and whenever possible, we try to observe what they do in the 'wild'.
One of the main insect models we use in our lab are sepsid flies: a family of flies that are closely associated with dung. Yep... they are poop flies. These flies play a vital role in breaking down organic waste and in nutrient cycling. Plus, they have really cool morphology and mating behavior (https://www.youtube.com/user/sepsidbehavior2009). Dr. P started working on them as an undergraduate and has now spent more than a decade chasing cows and their patties across the world.
Now, you might be wondering, where can you find cow dung in the urban jungle that is Singapore. Well, it turns out, the Zoo. Since 2006, the kind folk working at the Singapore Night Safari have been collaborating with the Evolution Lab at NUS in providing different kinds of animal dung to be used for research purposes. Now, we at the ReproLab, have joined the band wagon.