Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bulabula: New Pacific Iguana Discovered in Fiji

New Pacific Iguana Discovered In Fiji
ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2008) — A new iguana has been discovered in the central regions of Fiji. The colorful new species, named Brachylophus bulabula, joins only two other living Pacific iguana species, one of which is critically endangered. The scientific name bulabula is a doubling of bula, the Fijian word for ‘hello,’ offering an even more enthusiastic greeting.

Pacific iguanas have almost disappeared as the result of human presence. Two species were eaten to extinction after people arrived nearly 3,000 years ago. The three living Brachylophus iguana species face threats from loss and alteration of their habitat, as well as from feral cats, mongooses and goats that eat iguanas or their food source.
“Our new understanding of the species diversity in this group is a first step in identifying conservation targets,” said Robert Fisher, a research zoologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in San Diego, and coauthor of a study on the new iguana with scientists from the Australian National University and Macquarie University in Australia.
An important study finding for conservation of the genetic diversity in these iguanas is that, with only one exception, each of the 13 islands where living iguanas were sampled showed at least one distinct iguana genetic line that was not seen elsewhere.
The Fiji crested iguana, Brachylophus vitiensis, is gone from many islands it once occupied and is now listed as Critically Endangered on the “Red List” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The IUCN is the largest global environmental network. “Unfortunately, this new study indicates that the other previously-identified Pacific iguana species, Brachyophus fasciatus, is probably critically endangered also,” Fisher said.
The mystery of how the Pacific iguanas originally arrived has long puzzled biologists and geographers. Their closest relatives are found nearly 5,000 miles away across the ocean in the New World.
“The distinctive Fijian iguanas are famous for their beauty and also their unusual occurrence in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because all of their closest relatives are in the Americas,” said Scott Keogh, an Associate Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and lead author of the study.
The highest islands of Fiji have been continuously above sea level for at least the last 16 million years, and the current study’s findings suggest that the Pacific iguanas, both extinct and living, were likely on the islands much of that time. Ancestors of the Pacific iguanas may have arrived up to 13 million years ago after making a 5,000 mile rafting trip from the New World.
Realizing that scientists are just now describing the diversity in even such colorful and distinctive groups as Pacific iguanas is important in setting biodiversity targets for the Pacific Basin.
"This island basin is currently under attack by a number of invasive species such as the brown tree snake, various rat species and the coqui frog, which tend to reduce biodiversity," said Fisher. "Climate change may reduce coastal habitats and alter coastlines in the Pacific, further putting biodiversity at risk. A more accurate understanding of the patterns and processes that impact diversity in these unique island groups will help land managers set appropriate goals for conservation of these resources."
The new discovery is published in a recent special edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that pays tribute to Charles Darwin’s contribution to the Pacific region. The other coauthors of the study are Danielle Edwards at the Australian National University, and Peter Harlow at Macquarie University in Australia.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Ant Species Discovered

New Ant Species Discovered In The Amazon Likely Represents Oldest Living Lineage Of Ants
ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2008) — A new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant discovered in the Amazon rainforest by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling is likely a descendant of the very first ants to evolve.

The new ant is named Martialis heureka, which translates roughly to "ant from Mars," because the ant has a combination of characteristics never before recorded. It is adapted for dwelling in the soil, is two to three millimeters long, pale, and has no eyes and large mandibles, which Rabeling and colleagues suspect it uses to capture prey.
The ant also belongs to its own new subfamily, one of 21 subfamilies in ants. This is the first time that a new subfamily of ants with living species has been discovered since 1923 (other new subfamilies have been discovered from fossil ants).
Rabeling says his discovery will help biologists better understand the biodiversity and evolution of ants, which are abundant and ecologically important insects.
"This discovery hints at a wealth of species, possibly of great evolutionary importance, still hidden in the soils of the remaining rainforests," writes Rabeling and his co-authors in a paper reporting their recent discovery in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Rabeling collected the only known specimen of the new ant species in 2003 from leaf-litter at the Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária in Manaus, Brazil.
He and his colleagues found that the ant was a new species, genus and subfamily after morphological and genetic analysis. Analysis of DNA from the ant's legs confirmed its phylogenetic position at the very base of the ant evolutionary tree.
Ants evolved over 120 million years ago from wasp ancestors. They probably evolved quickly into many different lineages, with ants specializing to lives in the soil, leaf-litter or trees, or becoming generalists.
"This discovery lends support to the idea that blind subterranean predator ants arose at the dawn of ant evolution," says Rabeling, a graduate student in the ecology, evolution and behavior program.
Rabeling does not suggest that the ancestor to all ants was blind and subterranean, but that these adaptations arose early and have persisted over the years.
"Based on our data and the fossil record, we assume that the ancestor of this ant was somewhat wasp-like, perhaps similar to the Cretaceous amber fossil Sphecomyrma, which is widely known as the evolutionary missing link between wasps and ants," says Rabeling.
He speculates that the new ant species evolved adaptations over time to its subterranean habitat (for example, loss of eyes and pale body color), while retaining some of its ancestor's physical characteristics.
"The new ant species is hidden in environmentally stable tropical soils with potentially less competition from other ants and in a relatively stable microclimate," he says. "It could represent a 'relict' species that retained some ancestral morphological characteristics."
Rabeling's co-authors include Jeremy Brown, also a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Manfred Verhaagh of Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Karlsruhe, Germany. Brazilian ecologist Dr. Marcos Garcia assisted with the research in the Amazon.
Adapted from materials provided by University of Texas at Austin, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Taman Tumbina Visit

Claire and I visited the Taman Tumbina this morning and met with the Curator Encik Jaffry Ibrahim to introduce him to the Natural Science Society. We discussed how the Society may work with them to promote both the Taman Tumbina and encourage the appreciation of nature to the population of Bintulu.

Encik Jaffry treated us to a tour of the Taman which we enjoyed very much and Claire got to release some newly hatched butterflies into the aviary!

We look forward to bringing in groups of young school children soon to the Taman Tumbina for educational trips.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DISCOVER Magazine's 6 Most Important Experiments in the World(Dec 2007)

The 6 Most Important Experiments in the World

Planted Forests Project

On the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, loggers, conservation biologists, and indigenous groups are coming together to test a new model of land use that gives everyone a piece of the pie. If their plan succeeds, it could be replicated in tropical regions around the world, protecting biological diversity while allowing the local people to enjoy the economic benefits of productive land.
The Sarawak state government in Malaysia commissioned the Planted Forests Project in an attempt to have it all: economic development, wildlife protection, and land use by local people. Nearly 1,900 square miles have been allocated for the planted forests zone. Slightly less than half the land is earmarked for the logging of acacia trees—a fast-growing species that can be harvested for paper. More than 30 percent of the land will be set aside for conservation. Indigenous people will continue to live on the remainder.
Biologist Robert Stuebing, who set up the conservation department of Grand Perfect (the government’s timber contractor), says the project was inspired by a map of the region showing where the government planned to plant acacia. Some areas would be used for the logging plantations, while others would be left alone. Stuebing realized that the network of undisturbed patches could serve as a haven for native plant and animal life. “Even if less than the whole habitat is protected,” he explains, “as long as you have enough bits and pieces and these are connected, you might be able to maintain a good sample of biodiversity.” Working with the loggers and the state forest department, he created corridors of land linking the forest conservation areas so wildlife can travel among them. Other conservation and development projects are also using protected passageways as a way to save native species. The question for all these initiatives is whether the corridors will actually allow enough movement to preserve populations of wildlife.
Stuebing’s first priority was to begin an inventory of what was living in the forest zone. Researchers have counted bearded pigs, deer, small mammals, birds, frogs, fish, and dragonflies and are now in the process of surveying fungi. The department keeps a log of every species identified, where it was sighted, whether it is endemic (exclusive to the region), and what its international and local protection status is. Despite previous logging and farming in the planted forests zone, more than 400 vertebrate species, including bears, civets, macaques, leopard cats, mongooses, pangolins, and porcupines, have been spotted there. Researchers have even discovered 18 snails that have never been seen anywhere else on Earth. “The beauty of the project was to see that there was such resilience and survivability of the fauna,” Stuebing says.
How the giant new acacia plantations will affect this diversity remains uncertain. Some carnivores, frogs, and squirrels seem to have taken to the planted areas more quickly than birds, bats, and snakes. With a considerable financial stake in the logging project, the government is unlikely to give up on the acacia stands, even if monitoring shows that they are harming biodiversity. But in a part of the world where human livelihood depends on the forest, this experiment at integrating wildlife protection into the mix is a big step in the right direction, Stuebing says: “It looks sustainable, and biologically, I really think this model will work well.”
If he’s right, sustainable developers around the world may copy his strategy as they struggle to balance the needs of humans and wildlife.
Jennifer Barone

Taman Tumbina Visit

We will be doing a reconnaissance visit to Taman Tumbina on Sunday 14/9/2008 at 2pm.
Interested members please join us.
We'll meet at the front gate at 2pm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sabah moves to conserve turtles, marine habitat

September 11, 2008 - The Borneo Post Online

SANDAKAN: When the waters that surround Selingaan, Gulisaan and Bakkungan Kechil islands, were turned into a marine park and named Taman Pulau-Pulau Penyu in 1977, it was done for a certain intention.

The move was not only to protect the turtles that land on the three islands but also to conserve the coral reefs that thrive in these waters as they were a major component of the marine parks ecosystem.

Apart from being the source of food for the turtles, the coral reefs are also the habitat of other marine life in the park.

Aware of this important aspect, the Sabah Parks authorities have launched a programme to monitor the situation of coral reefs in this marine park.

According to the marine parks manager, Fazrullah Rizally Abdul Razak, the objective of the annual programme is to ensure the continuous existence of the marine habitat there, despite the focus being on the turtles.

To facilitate monitoring work, the 1,740 hectare-wide park is sub-divided into five zones.

Marine research staff would dive into the sea to collect samples for data compilation, Fazrullah Rizally told Bernama while inspecting monitoring work at the marine park recently.

Marine Research Unit staff from Tun Sakaran and Tunku Abdul Rahman marine parks led by research officer Nasrul Hakim Maidin conducted the exercise.

Fazrullah Rizally said the data compiled would be useful for future long-term research programmes.

He said data obtained from this research would be analysed and applied in the next coral reefs management programme.

“For example, if they (marine research unit) come across the starfish while inspecting the coral reefs, the starfish would be removed if these marine creatures are found in abundance on the coral reefs.

“This is so as the existence of too many starfish could threaten the corals while too few starfish indicates the corals are not growing well,” he said.

Hence, the data is crucial towards determining the health status of the coral reefs and if the level dips, a water-quality check would have to be made.

Fazrullah Rizally said three methods are used in the monitoring programme on the coral reefs — checking on the type of corals, identifying the breed of fish that live among the corals and making out the invertebrates that live on these reefs.

“These three methods, used widely worldwide, allow the determination of the coral reefs health level whether it is healthy or otherwise,” he said. — Bernama

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Into The Unknown

Something extremely important is going on today in a giant tunnel beneath the Swiss countryside. But precisely what 'mysteries of the universe' are the scientists at Cern hoping to solve - and does it matter whether or not they succeed? Stuart Jeffries gets to grips with Higgs bosons, quarks, supersymmetric particles and miniature black holes

Stuart Jeffries
The Guardian,
Wednesday September 10 2008
Article history

A section of the Compact Muon detector at Cern. Photograph: Reuters

The universe is increasingly incomprehensible, don't you find? Consider that small part of it taken up by James Bond films. For decades they were satisfyingly stupid, making numbskulls such as me feel a glow of superiority. No one, with all due respect, has ever been intellectually challenged by Roger Moore. Not even me. Now, though, I can't even understand the title of the next 007 film. What does Quantum of Solace really mean? Is solace something that can be quantified? Or did Ian Fleming just throw words together, like an irresponsible God drunk with power on the eve of creation, hoping they would add up to something?
And if I can't understand Bond film titles, then what chance have I got of understanding what is going to happen in a 27km (17-mile) circular tunnel beneath the Geneva countryside this morning at the start of an experiment that, it has been suggested, will unlock the secrets of the universe? Despite the obvious answer to this question (ie: "None"), I am going on a crash course to try to find out what it all means, armed only with a misplaced assurance that I am not the thickest thing in the universe.
What, I want to know, do half the world's particle physicists hope to achieve by triggering a machine called a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to drive two beams of particles in opposite directions around this 27km ring at 99.9999991% of the speed of light, steering the beams at four points during their circuit into head-on collisions with enough energy to recreate in miniature the cosmic circumstances that existed one trillionth of a second after the big bang?
Everything conspires against understanding. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research is confusingly known by its French acronym Cern, for instance. But that's nothing. Cern's scientists also hope to find extra dimensions, perhaps as many as 10, coiled up in microscopic loops. (I look back on that last sentence wondering what the hell it means.) They hope to create called a Higgs boson, which is a particle that hasn't existed since a split-second after the big bang and yet which, physicists hypothesise, was fundamental, billions of years ago, for the establishing the nature of reality. A Nobel prize-winner called the Higgs boson "the God particle", but every expert I speak to says that this term has no theological import, but is a silly, misleading piece of nomenclature. So thank you, Nobel laureate Leon M Lederman, for muddying further already murky waters.
Discombobulatingly, I read that only 5% of the universe is made of matter that scientists understand. A further 25% is so-called "dark matter", which clusters around galaxies, and the remaining 70% is even more enigmatic "dark energy", which drives the expansion of the universe. Or so scientists claim. But hold on: if scientists only understand 5%, how can they posit anything about the remaining 95%? Aren't they, then, only slightly less ignorant than me? Won't you let me hold on to that dream? Please?
Worse yet, the basic building blocks of the universe seemed to have been named by astrophysics postgrads on crack, or at least a dare. I'm familiar with quark, strangeness and charm, though only because this was the title of a Hawkwind album. I'd never come across a gluon before, though. Although it has an unwonted DIY vibe, like something you might use to hold your bookcase together if you'd lost the Allen key, a gluon turns out to be an elementary particle that causes quarks to interact, and is indirectly responsible for the binding of protons and neutrons together in atomic nuclei. What's more, your everyday gluon has something called negative intrinsic parity and zero isospin. It is, you will be astounded to learn, its own antiparticle. Again, I write these last three sentences and look back at them in bafflement. Oh God, this is hopeless! The only graspable part of particle physics for me is to be found in John Updike's poem Cosmic Gall: "Neutrinos, they are very small/ And do not interact at all." I understand that bit. The poor little sweethearts!
I ring the astronomer royal, Professor Martin Rees, for help. "I believe that the key ideas can be explained by people who need to make a bit of effort to communicate at the right pitch and to people who, similarly, need to think harder than usual," he says. " There is a special scientific vocabulary which is unfamiliar and the mathematics is very complicated, but learning about the experiment is like learning musical notation or like learning Spanish."
Heartened by these words (even though I barely read music or speak Spanish), I settle down for a pub chat with people who have never aspired to unlock the mysteries of the universe. After exhaustively analysing today's other important global event (how will England avoid humiliation in Zagreb this evening?), we reflect on sub-atomic activity. At the Old Queen's Head on the Essex Road in Islington, north London, the conversation starts shallow before plunging deeper. Barry asks me the following: "Did you see Frankie Boyle on Mock the Week?" Perhaps I did. "He said: 'I'm sure they're going to find out some interesting things about protons, but I would add: I don't give a fuck.' That's how I feel about it." Barry goes off to buy drinks.
I turn from Barry, whose disregard for intellectual improvement and scientific knowledge is typical of modern Grazia-reading, X-Factor-venerating British society, to his friend Martin, who tries to explain what happened in that trillionth of a second after the big bang by using an empty beer glass - something I secretly hoped someone would do during my research for this article. "Imagine," says Martin, who has an A-level in physics and claims to have read such books as Schrödinger's Cat and the Fabric of the Cosmos and alleges that he's finished A Brief History of Time (as if), "that this glass is a very hot bowl with a frog on its rim." Right. "At the bottom of the glass are some worms that the frog wants to eat." Check. "The frog can't keep still on the glass because it's so hot and so hops around. But as the glass cools, the frog slides down, just like matter did when the universe cooled in that first second." I see, I say (lying). "But imagine if the bottom of the glass had a raised central podium on which the worms sat." Gotcha. "Well, the difference in altitude between the frog at the bottom of the glass and the worms is parallel to the Higgs field of bosons that pertained in that first second and gave all mass-bearing matter its properties." Why does the frog slide down the glass? "Because of time's arrow," says Martin, settling back in his seat proudly. Right. And what do the worms represent? "That's not important." Frankly, I don't think Martin did read all those books. Or if he did, he didn't understand them.
Barry, thankfully, comes back with his round. "And the other thing is," Barry says, "if we are going to get sucked through a black hole on Wednesday morning, I don't find it reassuring when scientists say these are going to be really small, miscroscopic black holes that they're going to be creating in Switzerland. That surely just means it's going to be more painful than if they were big holes, doesn't it?" Marginally, perhaps, I concede. "After all, it's more painful to get sucked through a hole smaller than the eye of a needle than one that's bigger, isn't it?"
I guess. At this point, I rise from the table and bid Barry and Martin, whom I would like to thank for their hospitality and for helping me not at all in increasing my knowledge of particle physics, a fond farewell.
The following day I ring Edward Pattison, a physics teacher at Hayes School in Bromley, south-east London, for a Cern primer, ideally not featuring hot frogs in beer glasses. "You're familiar, I hope with E=mc2," asks Pattison. Absolutely - and not just because it was a song by Big Audio Dynamite. "Well, the more energy, the more mass you create and so you can make big particles - things that previously only existed in the big bang. Tomorrow is just the start, but as the Large Hadron Collider speeds up and up, it'll show what was there in the earliest seconds after the big bang, and then earlier in the big bang and earlier still as it speeds up. We should be able to see dark matter, which is what holds much of the galaxies together. You'll be showing what black holes are like, creating microscopic ones."
Should I be worried that the creation of little black holes at Cern will mean I and my loved ones will be dragged towards Switzerland and thence to oblivion? "No. The smaller they are - and the ones they may create will be tiny - the faster they disappear because they radiate very quickly and so, as it were, evaporate. And anyway, we already find them in space. We shouldn't worry about being gobbled up." Excellent.
Next I ring Professor Jim al-Khalili, who is not only a theoretical nuclear physicist at the University of Surrey, but also has an OBE. Why is this experiment being undertaken now? "We seem to have got to the point in describing the Standard Model where the theory has guesswork in it and it needs to be verified or falsified by experiment." The Standard Model, you'll be eager to learn, describes three of the four known fundamental interactions among the elementary particles that make up all matter. That theory, I learn, predicts the Higgs boson particle which has never been observed except, possibly, by God - and then only billions of years ago for a split second. He might have blinked and missed it. So he might like a mini-reprise. If he exists.
"You see, particle experimentalists have been almost twiddling their thumbs because, up until now, we haven't been able to create the energies necessary to create theses particles - if they indeed exist - while theorists have been theorising wildly," says al-Khalili. "What we can do now is, for a fraction of a second, create the particles, the Higgs bosons, that theorists argue have not been around since the big bang." Why is that important? "Because the Higgs boson, it is hypothesised, endows other particles with its properties. Mass for instance."
Earlier, I had asked Rees to explain to me what a Higgs boson is. "No," he replied firmly. Why not? "It would take too long."
Al-Khalili is more forthcoming. There is a story, he relates, that William Waldegrave, when science minister in Margaret Thatcher's government in the 1980s, launched a competition to explain what the hell this chuffing boson was (he didn't quite use those words). The winner compared the Higgs boson to treacle or molasses through which other particles passed shortly after the big bang. "Another, better, story that appealed to Waldegrave was that of a cocktail party in a room into which a famous celebrity walks, Margaret Thatcher for instance. A huddle forms around her as she walks through the room and she finds it difficult to move. Then other non-celebrities come through the room and find it easy to move around - these are the particles that don't have much mass." Like neutrinos? "That's right." The poor little sweethearts! Hold on, though; what do the guests at the party represent? "The huddle of guests represents the Higgs bosons that form a field. It's, so far, a mathematical description, and the hope is that we will find, by means of the LHC, that it does exist by crashing these protons into each other." In the sub-atomic post-collision debris? "That's it."
What will happen if the experiment doesn't produce Higgs bosons? "Well, the whole hypothesis might be wrong, and we will discover whether it's right or wrong in the next two years. For me, if it is proved wrong then it could be very exciting. All kinds of other possibilities could be discovered."
Indeed, what al-Khalili calls one of the most powerful rival ideas is the so-called supersymmetric particles. What are they? "They are the mystery, the dark matter that has been missing that we have never been able to see." Spooky. How do we know that they exist? "We know dark matter is there because we know how it affects what we do see. It would be nice to see it, which is a possibility that the LHC holds out."
Rees also hopes that the LHC will discover these hypothesised particles. "Speaking as a cosmologist, I'm hopeful - indeed, I rather expect - that the LHC will reveal so-called supersymmetric particles," he says, "because it is quite possible that they are 80% to 90% of what holds the galaxies together." That makes the research sound very important indeed. "It is. It is absolutely the biggest science experiment ever conducted and so very exciting and important." Why? "It may give us an answer to one of the key mysteries about the universe - the "dark matter." Atoms make up only around 10% of the gravitating stuff that holds galaxies together. [I thought it was 5%, but let's not get sidetracked.] The rest probably consists of particles left over from the fiery beginning of the universe, but as yet we have only the haziest idea what they are." Again, I find it cosmically reassuring that even astronomers royal have only hazy ideas about such things.
Is Cern's work worthwhile? After all, Sir David King, the government's former chief science adviser, recently argued that the £500m Britain has contributed to the LHC project diverts top scientists away from tackling the more pressing issues of the age, such as climate change and how to decarbonise the economy. "I hear that kind of objection a lot," says al-Khalili. "It's certainly not going to lead to a quality-of-life improvement, but even from just a cultural point of view it's important to know. There are certain things that a civilised, enlightened society should try to know. If it also captures the admiration and imagination of children who get into science as a result - which I think it will - then it is surely a good thing."
Good point. If future generations are less ignorant than me about the nature of reality and what happened at the dawn of time, then that would be to the glory of humanity (among other things). "It's a good moment to be a physics teacher," says Pattison. "I keep getting stopped in the corridor by kids asking what it's about - the big bang, the LHC, all that. It's the most weird and wonderful things that interest them - stuff like this and quantum physics.
"There's a problem with the curriculum," he adds. "What children study is supposed to be relevant to children's lives. As a result, we no longer teach relativity as part of an A-level course. But it is just this sort of thing that entrances children. If I had my way, I would teach 11-year-olds about space, quantum mechanics and relativity - obviously at a basic level. But to get children thrilled by physics at an early age seems to me to be important and Cern is helping with that."
This resonates for me. I recall that my physics O-level course ended before we had even broached radioactivity. It ended without a big bang, but with something of a whimper. Perhaps that is why I stopped studying physics at 16 and now find myself struggling to understand the exciting things that physicists are doing. Many of the great heroes of physics - Faraday, Rutherford, Einstein, Dirac - never got namechecked in my class (I had to piece them together in remedial reading as an adult); still less were we as thrilled by the subject as the pupils Edward Pattison says have been bombarding him with questions, inspired by what will soon happen beneath some Swiss fields. It would be good if British children are less scientifically ignorant than I am. Perhaps, in my dotage, they could even explain to me what Quantum of Solace means. Or maybe that's too much to hope.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Messages: good will

Congratulation to the New BOD of the Sarawak Natural Science Society!
Good Day!

We are up and kicking!

The Natural Science Society’s 1st AGM was held yesterday attended by 14 charter members.

The new Board of Directors as follows:

President: Dr. Daisy Kho
Vice-President: Ms Claire Wilson
Secretary: Mr. Lau Song Ting
Treasurer: Mr. Billy Young
Committee Members: Mr.Joannes Unggang
Ms. Roslina Ragai
Dr. Joseph Bong
Mr. Nalong Buda
Miss Wong Ling Chie

The committee and members thank the Protem Committee for their work and effort in registering the Natural Science Society. Special thanks go to Mr. Lau Song Ting for his time and contribution to getting the Society legally registered and lending us the use of his premise for our meetings.

We have lined up a series of educational talks for the year, preliminaries as follows:

25/10/2008 “Small Mammals” by visiting Biologist
08/11/2008 “Operation Nest Egg” by Ms Claire Wilson
06/12/2008 “Plant Pathology” by Miss Wong Ling Chie
10/01/2009 “Pesticide Residuals” by Mr. Lim Guan Mian
21/02/2009 “Termites” by Ms. Hoe Pik Kheng
14/03/2009 “Peat Soil” by Miss Lee Jia Huey
11/04/2009 “ Feeding Preferences of Termites” by Mr. Chan Seow Phan
09/05/2009 “ Conservation in Golf Course Management” by Mr. Nalong Buda
14/06/2009 “ Fishes of the Planted Forests” by Mr. Azizan Juhin
11/07/2009 “ The Wildlife Ordinance of Sarawak” by Mr. Lau Song Ting
08/08/2009 “ Small Mammals of the Planted Forests” by Miss Roslina Ragai

Details of Date, Time and Venue will be posted when confirmed.

Other proposed activities include field work, publicity, educational talks and zoo visit.

We also want to put together a more detailed short and long term plan for the Society.

Congratulations to all the Charter Members and thank you all for your enthusiasm, support and contribution of ideas.

This Society has immense potential to do good work and I look forward to the challenge to make it one that we all love and can be proud of.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

1st AGM

Our 1st AGM is schedule on 9.9.2008 Tuesday 5pm at the conference room at 87, Park City Commerce Square (Law office of David Allen Sagah Teng) (same block as BP Cafe).
Members and all interested parties are invited to attend.

Natural Science Society Membership Form