Friday, January 23, 2009

Global Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

ScienceDaily (Jan. 22, 2009) — When three undergraduates set off on an expedition in 1965 to trap moths on Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, little did they realise that they were establishing the groundwork for a study of the impacts of climate change.

New research led by the University of York has repeated the survey 42 years later, and found that, on average, species had moved uphill by about 67 metres over the intervening years to cope with changes in climate.
This is the first demonstration that climate change is affecting the distributions of tropical insects, the most numerous group of animals on Earth, thus representing a major threat to global biodiversity.
University of York PhD student I-Ching Chen – first author of the new study – said: “Tropical insects form the most diverse group of animals on Earth but to-date we have not known whether they were responding to climate change. The last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR4 Report showed a gaping hole in the evidence. Our new study is good in that it increases the evidence available, but it is potentially bad for biodiversity.”
Professor Thomas added: “Large numbers of species are completely confined to tropical mountains, such as Mount Kinabalu: many of the species found by the expeditions have never been found anywhere else on Earth. As these species get pushed uphill towards cooler conditions, the amount of land that is available to them gets smaller and smaller. And because most of the top of the mountain is bare rock, they may not be able to find suitable habitats, even if the temperature is right. Some of the species are likely to die out.”
The New Expedition in 2007 was joined by Henry Barlow, one of the members of the original survey, whose life-long enthusiasm for moths helped I-Ching Chen, who is from Taiwan, to come to terms with the sheer diversity of moths she had to identify.
Jeremy Holloway, a Research Associate at the Natural History Museum in London, and another member of the 1965 expedition, devoted his career to the identification (taxonomy) of moths from South East Asia, enabling the research team to identify the new samples. Armed with the data from 1965, moth-trapping equipment, tents, sleeping bags and rations, I-Ching and colleagues set out to repeat the original survey.
“Photographs from the 1965 expedition led us back to exactly the same sites sampled 42 years ago”, said Dr Suzan Benedick, expedition member, and Universiti Malaysia Sabah entomologist.
The new survey involved climbing the mountain and catching moths up to an elevation of 3,675 metres above sea level. Once all of the specimens had been caught and identified, then the team compared the heights at which each species had been found in 1965 and again in 2007. The results revealed a highly statistically significant shift, indicating that the moths are now found higher on the mountain than previously.
There is a more positive note, however. As the highest and coolest location between the Himalaya and New Guinea, Mount Kinabalu represents an extremely important “climate change refuge”. Species that begin to find conditions too hot (or dry) in the surrounding lowlands may be able to find suitable conditions by moving upwards on the slopes of this mountain. “The critical thing is to protect the forests surrounding the mountain, so that the lowland species are able to reach the cooler conditions that they may need,” said Dr Jane Hill, expedition member, and one of I-Ching Chen’s advisors.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The visit to Samarakan on 17th and 18 January was very good indeed. The team activities includes night survey and driving around the Sarawak Planted Forest Acacia mangium plantation.
Here are some of the photos of fauna that I took during the visit.

Feel free to visit my flickr for more photos at

An unknown spider taken during the night walk.

Another unknown spider with different pattern

Dr Daisy saw this sticky frog in the Glen Forest trail.

Another shot of the sticky frog.

An interesting green spider. Lawyer Law assisted me with the lighting to take photo of this one.

A closeup of the eye.

SUddenly Azizan called from upfront in the pitch dark trail. He softly whisper there is a mousedeer infront of us.
Have you ever seen a mouse deer before? I manage to take only the backside of it. It is the brown color thing in the photo :)

A gecko on tree trunk. I think Lawyer Law spotted this one. I can't remember.

A File-eared Tree Frog. I have some time to make this photo into a postcard and post it out here.

Another post card photo of probably Rana glandulosa we found that night.

The assassin bug that Mr. Tham and I took photograph of on the peak of Bukit Mina.

The team from NSSB with Azizan (In blue shirt with cap) and me (holding the camera)

(Left: Lawyer Lau, Azizan (GP), Mr. Tham, Billy and Dr Daisy)
Cheers everybody!

Friday, January 16, 2009

One Green Year: What You Can Do Today

By Kate Hanley, National Geographic Green Guide
December 30, 2008

You could decide to lose weight—again—or this year you could resolve to lighten the load you leave on the planet. To help, we’ve outlined a series of small changes that add up to big results and divided them up by time frame—tasks you can complete today, in the next week, during the next month and over the course of the next year. Breaking your efforts into smaller, more manageable tasks isn’t a cop-out: By following this plan, each small step adds up to changes that will benefit the health of the planet—and, yes, even your own health—immediately and in years to come.

Over the course of the year,your goal is to educate yourself about food—where it comes from, how it's packaged and transported, and what happens to the waste—so you can make wiser choices at every meal.
This week, start at the end: Research your composting options. Throwing food scraps in the garbage may seem innocuous, but decomposing food not only clogs landfills, it also releases methane—a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. And encasing food scraps in a plastic bag or landfill keeps fruits and vegetables from replenishing the soil, increasing our dependence on chemical fertilizers.

Instead of having lunch delivered to your office, walk to a nearby restaurant and save take-out containers by dining in. Or bring your own container to the restaurant and have it filled there. At the very least, bring a set of your own silverware and a bottle of your favorite condiment to the office so you can skip the plastic utensils and the little packets of salt, pepper, ketchup and soy sauce.

Start making a note of each car trip you take. “Changing your car habits is one of the most dramatic ways to reduce your environmental impact,” says Jodi Helmer, author of The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference ($14.95, Alpha, 2008). Getting a clear picture of exactly how car-dependent you are can help in finding ways to cut back.

Get a baseline of your current carbon footprint using the reliable online calculators at either or Set a goal of how much you’d like to reduce your impact over the coming year—10 percent is a good start. To up the ante, get a likeminded friend or group of friends to make a competition out of it: Send out an email today inviting them to join your year-long challenge.

Everyday Purchases
Buy a calendar and a notebook made out of recycled paper so you can track your consumption throughout the year. In the coming months, you’ll be noting each of the following on your calendar:
the highest and lowest temperatures at which you set your thermostat each day
the number of kilowatthours of electricity your household uses each month (it’s listed on your bill)

In the notebook, create tally pages for car trips, trips made by public transportation, and self-powered (walking and biking) trips. Another page can be for waste, especially if you’re going to compare your progress with friends and neighbors. Divide this page into “recycled” and “not recycled” columns, and tally the things you dispose of and the things you recycle—plastic bags, drink containers, etc.— week by week.

Create your own personal "Going Green" kit. Small purchases that can add up to a big impact include: - reusable tote bags- stainless steel water bottle- travel coffee mug- BYO-lunch supplies—an insulated carrier, utensils and wax paper or aluminum foil (instead of plastic wrap)- compact fluorescent light bulbs

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Natural Science Lecture

“Small Mammals: A Neglected Group of Conservation Concern"

by Ms.Roslina Ragai (Conservation Officer)

Date : 17th January 2009 (Sat)

Time: 2-4pm

Venue: New World Suite Level 10 Executive Meeting Room.

Admission: Free