04 August 2010

New books on Singapore's dragonflies and freshwater life

Launched this week are two brand new books about Singapore's biodiversity!
"Private Lives: An Expose Of Singapore's Freshwaters" provides a glimpse into Singapore's freshwater bodies, to get people interested in some of the 'strange and unusual' aspects.

One of the book's editors, Assistant Professor Darren Yeo Chong Jinn said many people may think that a book on freshwater species would just be about fish and prawns, but there are other species in the ecosystem such as insects, frogs and birds as well, all featured in the book.

There is also a chapter titled Temasekia which highlights species which were important in the country's heritage. These are species which were either first discovered in Singapore or named after some part of the country. This group includes prawns, crabs and aquatic bugs.

'Some of these animals really surprise us - we think they're gone, then they suddenly show up again,' he said . 'It's amazing how resilient some of them are.'

The book also features contributions from academics, biologists and overseas experts, as well as amateurs who have a keen interest in the topic. National water agency PUB has also contributed a chapter on human and societal involvement with freshwater bodies.

Prof Yeo, who lectures on freshwater biology, the ecology of aquatic environments and biodiversity, said: 'Conservation of freshwater resources is very important as the freshwater ecosystems provide us not only with fresh water for daily use, but also other, perhaps less tangible, benefits such as temperature regulation, biodiversity, and even aesthetics and recreational opportunities.'

Raffles Museum head Peter Ng said that after 150 years of 'relentless development' in Singapore, it was very surprising that the extinction rate of fish, for example, was just 40 per cent and not closer to 90 per cent.

'It is hard to imagine that any of the freshwater biodiversity would have survived,' he said.

Full media article about the book on wildsingapore news, and pdf of article on the RMBR news blog.

"A Photographic Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore" by Tang Hung Bun is long awaited by nature enthusiasts! It is the first full-fledged guidebook dedicated to these beautiful creatures in Singapore. This guide will no doubt help many learn more about them.

For a sneak peak at our dragonflies, see Tang's awesome Singapore Odonata website.

See also Dazzling Dragonflies of Singapore for more about dragonflies of Singapore and the work done for them.

Where to buy the books?

The books are on sale at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, as well as bookstore Nature's Niche. The hardcover version is $35, while the paperback costs $22.

More details on the RMBR website.

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