NewsOKJComment

The biodiversity of Singapore at your fingertips

NewsOKJComment
The biodiversity of Singapore at your fingertips
Photo Credit: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Photo Credit: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Despite Singapore's small land mass and urban landscape, a commendable part of the city-state is still rich with biodiversity.

Most recently, Singapore-based photographer Nick Bay's macro shots on unusual insects, arachnids, and fungi found in Singapore gained huge exposure on the popular visual culture blog, Colossal.

Before recently, those interested in biodiversity will have to labour through printed text and long research papers from a number of sources to get their desired information, leaving only the very brave to spend their precious time and energy.

Now, a new online database known as the "Animals and Plants of Singapore" is available as a one-stop destination for information regarding Singapore's flora and fauna.

Managed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and helms by Dr Ang Yuchen and Professor Rudolf Meler, the site will not only aim to be a bridge to all information regarding Singapore's biodiversity collected through research and surveys but also form links to better understand the relationships between different species found in Singapore.

While the site is live, it still very much a work-in-progress. The database currently has the records of more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Though the aim is to double the figure by the end of 2015, Professor Meler estimates that there could be between 50,000 to 100,000 multicellular plants and animal species on this tiny island.

Links to external sources, where users can find more elaborate information regarding each species is also continuously being added.

The beginnings of this valuable source of information will be painstakingly slow and taxing. However, the role it plays will become fundamental to the efficiency of all future biodiversity research and surveys.

It will also encourage and inspire more to take up influential positions in the interest of Singapore's biodiversity. I expect it to be a staple in the appendix of all future polytechnic projects relating to this topic.

I personally look forward in seeing the interesting conclusions and theories that comes with the analysis of big data as well as its potential great impact on Singapore's future such as in the areas of preservation and future urban scaling.