Symposium 2011

Day 1,  Session 1
07 Mar 2011: 10.00am – 12.00am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Sivasothi, Erica Sena & Laura Yap.

Group 1 – Behaviors of cats: food territoriality VS space territoriality

Presented by Chua Hui Xuan Valerie, Heng Yuan Hao, Koh Hui Qin Alethea, Tan Shu Ling Leanne & Wong Yimin.

Abstract – Our project strives to investigate the behavior of stray cats in Singapore; before feeding (in isolation or approaching each other), during feeding, and after feeding. Through observation, we will determine the general behavior of these cats under the above-mentioned circumstances, as well as the traits specific to certain individuals and the factors accounting for such differences. Using the standard criterion of inter-cat distance, an analysis regarding the sense of food and space territoriality that cats possess will be carried out. We observed that the cats are generally willing to compromise on their sense of territoriality with the presence of food.

Group 2 – Feral Dogs of Track 14

Presented by Chong Kah Yan, Farhana Binte Mokhtar, Lim Boon Chee, Loh Hui Yi & Wong Yong Wei Edwin.

Abstract – Widely known as loyal and faithful pets, dogs bond well with humans. However, what is less known about dogs is their social behaviour within a pack. This is what we set out to learn more about. For the purpose of this study, we decided to conduct our investigation on feral dogs that we had observed around Track 14, off Jalan Lekar in Choa Chu Kang.  Our observations are focused on the largest pack, comprising seven. Through our observations, we learnt about the relationship between dogs in a pack, alpha male behaviour, mating behaviour and their reactions to intrusions by people.

Group 3– The Feeding Habits of Squirrels in Singapore

Presented by Nurul Hannah bte Mohammad, Peh Kim Hua Jeremy, Lee Wei Liang Justin, Tan Chun Wee & Shamsydar Ani bte Ismail.

Abstract – Squirrels are a common sight around Singapore. However, although they are often seen scampering about, particularly in wooded areas, they are rarely observed feeding. After considerable time spent observing these creatures, our group will present our findings on the feeding habits of squirrels – what they eat, when they feed and the manner in which they consume their food. As a point of interest, we will also be comparing the behavior of squirrels found in Singapore and those overseas, since those of us who have been on exchange have noted differences between the behavior of squirrels abroad and squirrels here.

Group 4 – Cattle Egrets: Their Feeding Methodology

Presented by Tan Jin-Zhou Dwight, Cho Hui Ping Clara, Chan Mei Hwa, Zoe Caplan & Ho Yi Xiu.

Abstract – As the name suggests, Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) increase their efficiency when foraging near large grazing animals. Due to the natural expansion of its range over the years, they have been found in urban Singapore especially in the Western parts of the island. Our study aims to understand how the Cattle Egrets adapt their feeding behavior in the absence of livestock or farming machinery by observing the birds found within NUS. We will also contrast our observations with data from other studies, as well as account for the reduction in egrets found in our island compared to the previous year.

Group 5 – What constitutes and affects dragonfly territorial behavior?

Presented by Darshini Patkunan, Tay Sze Wen Elizabeth, Sophil Ang Shue Ying, Siu Wing Hei Martin & Choo Li Min.

Abstract – Our project was set on finding out what constitutes and affects dragonfly territorial behaviour. A study of dragonfly behaviour at Kent Ridge Park and Toa Payoh Town Park showed that territoriality was exhibited through acts of patrolling, chasing intruding dragonflies, and directly attacking these intruders. A comparison study also revealed that territorial behaviour was proportional to population density in the area. Dragonflies typically attacked conspecifics or even interspecies of similar or smaller sizes. Also, the larger the dragonflies, the more aggressive their behaviour. Collaborative efforts to drive out a common enemy were also observed.

Day 1,  Session 2
07 Mar 2011: 10.00am – 12.00am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: Zeehan Jaafar, Seok Ping & Pankaj Kumar.

Group 7 – Will ants be more attracted to a greater quantity of sugar?

Presented by Chin Tsung-Rern, Emily Marie Lim Hui Yan, Goh Wei Ling, Fam Xiao V & Wang Xin Yi.

Abstract – Ants usually congregate around our food and they are a source of annoyance. Therefore, our group decided to investigate the foraging behaviour of ants. We conducted an experiment to find out whether ants are attracted to greater quantities of sugar. The two species of ants we experimented on were the paratrechina longicornis (black crazy ant) and the anoplolepis gracilipes (yellow crazy ant). Our results revealed that it may not be true that the greater the quantity of sugar, the greater the number of ants attracted. Factors that could have influenced their foraging behaviour include nest activity and different nutritional needs.

Group 8 – Wet or Dry?

Presented by Eric Koh Hong Wei, Sen Hock Yi, Tan Hui Lin, Teo Siying Carol & Jithra Tamil Selvam Charleston”

Abstract – Ants pose a certain fascination to our group due to the general lack of knowledge about them despite their constant presence everywhere. After initial research and experiments, we decided to focus on moisture levels in food with relation to attraction of ants. We laid out different types of food of different levels of moisture each, in front of different nests of Carpenter Ants and observed them over hours as well as overnight. Our results were pretty consistent, with ants being initially attracted to the wettest food first, before moving onto the drier ones.

Group 9 – “Banded Archerfish are excited by the blinking light and induces their shooting behaviour”

Presented by Peh Jeremy, Ee Bao Qin,  Goh Ying Hui, Tan Li Wen Irene & Wong Cher Yi.

Abstract – The Toxotes jaculatrix, or popularly known as Banded Archerfish, hunts for its food by shooting jets of water onto its natural prey i.e. insects. This shooting behaviour, which we found out can be induced by blinking lights, is not a frequently used hunting technique as substantial amount of energy is required to propel the jet stream. Most of our fishes chose red and orange lights as their targets. Hence, there is a possibility that based on their instinctive knowledge; these two colours are associated with food. Further experiments can be carried out to better understand which insects Banded Archerfish prefers.

Group 10 – Is tongue flicking in the Malayan Water Monitor Lizard affected by movement and weather conditions?

Presented by Chew Hui Shi Felicia, Chew Yi Ling, Liu Xinyi, Yi-Chen Michelle Guo & Sim Joo Huat Thomas.

Abstract – Monitor Lizards (Varanus salvator) collect odour particles from the atmosphere through tongue flicking which serves to detect food, predators and conspecifics. We seek to investigate if the different nature of movements and climate conditions like atmospheric temperature and humidity affects the rates of tongue flicking amongst adult lizards. Similar works are consulted before the team comes up with a set of observational standards for the 2 days of field work done in the Sungei Buloh Wetland reserve. The observational findings reckon that the lower the temperature and the higher the humidity, the more the lizards tongue flick.

Group 11 – Aggressive Behaviour of Blue Spotted Mudskippers

Presented by Claudine, Lee Hui Shan Candy, Lee Jia Yi, Lydia Kerry Kosasih & Ou Guozheng.

Abstract – In our preliminary Studies, all species of mudskippers are aggressive and territorial in nature. In this study, we will focus on the level of aggression for Blue spotted Mudskippers. Some of the aggressive bahaviours include:
1. Raising and lowering of their dorsal fins
2. Opening of their mouths
3. Flipping
We conducted 3 observations at the MA2 of Sungei Buloh Wetland Nature Reserve for a period of 4 hrs each. During our observations, the blue spotted mudskippers have a relatively mild sign of aggressiveness. We will provide possible reasons that might explain our observations.

Day 2,  Session 1
21 Mar 2011: 10.00am – 12.00am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Zeehan Jaafar, Erica Sena, Laura Yap & Yuan Ting.

Group 13 – Thermoregulation of cold-blooded vertebrates: Environmental conditions and its effects on the basking habits of the Varanus Salvator

Presented by Koo Li Yan Madeline, Lim Kai Keat, Cherie Chiang Xue Li, Wilson Ng Wei Xiang & Yee Puay Yip Karen.

Abstract – Long-tailed Macaques are a common sight in Singapore. People often have pre-conceived notion of their reaction to humans. Our project seeks to find out if modifications of macaques’ environment affect their feeding behaviour, leading to an increased interaction between macaques and humans. Through the observation of macaques in Macritchie Reservoir, we concluded that a myriad of anthropogenic factors (modifications to the environment) has led to a change in the feeding behaviour of the macaques. The purpose of our study is to explain macaques behaviour and to raise awareness.

Group 14 – Tail functions of the flat-tailed house gecko

Presented by Ang Rui Xiang, Banu Gunasekaran, Shanmuga Prasad S/O Mogan, Vinod S/O Pannerchilvam & Zoe Tan Yiru.

Abstract – In our project, we will discuss the various tail functions of ‘Cosymbotus Platyurus’. We have elucidated the various characteristics of tail action in relation to specific behaviours like aggression, defence, manoeuvre and mating throughout our project. In addition, we have investigated the relationship between clicking and tail wagging. Our studies were carried at four locations out of which we drawn the most conclusions from one of the location. The other locations were useful in supporting our conclusion.

Group 15 – Understanding the Snail Universe

Presented by Chelsy Tan Li Sia, Goh Xue Ting, Nadia Farhanah Bte Hassan , Nadia Bte Abdul Majeed  & Terence Phay Zhi Yi.

Abstract- Molluscs like the giant african land snail (Achatina fulica) are revolted by people because of their soft slimy nature and as garden pest. However, behaviours exhibited by snails to adapt and survive are fascinating and deserves our attention. We focused our observations on how snails protect themselves from desiccation and predation at four different locations at various timings. Snails favoured wetter weather conditions, chose wetter paths and were most abundant at night. They would hide when the sun came out and preferred wider, circular grass blades. We recommend further observations such as the homing behaviour of snails for further understanding.

Group 16 – The dynamics of predation: behavioural traits of the Nephila

Presented by Jiang Ruiqi, Fiona Ignatia Goh Shu Yi , Amanda Rachael de Souza, Leigh-Anne Choo Shaan & Priscilla Ann Vincent.

Abstract- This project seeks to examine the stages of predation and the nuanced behavioral patterns of the Nephila spider at each phase. Over the course of 4 on-site observations (across 3 hour blocks in the daytime), we observed that the Nephila displays 3 distinctive behavioural phases in the process of predation. These stages encompass: attraction (through web decoration and utilization of the detritus), attack (movement and positioning of spider) and consumption of its prey (preparation and ingestion of prey’s innards). In analysis, we posit that these 3 behavior patterns consolidate themselves in a cyclical pattern.

Group 17 – Monkey See Monkey Do

Presented by Koo Li Yan Madeline, Lim Kai Keat, Cherie Chiang Xue Li, Wilson Ng Wei Xiang & Yee Puay Yip Karen.

Abstract- Long-tailed Macaques are a common sight in Singapore. People often have pre-conceived notion of their reaction to humans. Our project seeks to find out if modifications of macaques’ environment affect their feeding behaviour, leading to an increased interaction between macaques and humans. Through the observation of macaques in Macritchie Reservoir, we concluded that a myriad of anthropogenic factors (modifications to the environment) has led to a change in the feeding behaviour of the macaques. The purpose of our study is to explain macaques behaviour and to raise awareness.

Group 18 – A peek at the Courting Behaviors of the Red-eared Sliders

Presented by Tan Liang Chye Stanley, Yong Jia Quan, Neo Hanwen Christopher, Esther Chew Yuki & Pamela Yau Shin Torng.

Abstract- Trachemys scripta elegans, the South American Red-Eared Sliders are now common around the world through pet trading. This invasive species can be easily spotted in most ponds in Singapore but their elaborate courtship rituals often go by unnoticed by the casual observer. Do Red- Eared Sliders rely on characteristics such as size to determine their mates? Also, on which period of the day do courtship rituals occur most often? Our group has visited Singapore Botanic Gardens to unveil some insights to this migrant from South America – The Red-Eared Sliders.

Day 2,  Session 2
21 Mar 2011: 10.00am – 12.00am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: Sivasothi, Neo Mei Lin & Pankaj Kumar.

Group 20 – Curious George: A look at aggression in long-tailed Macaques

Presented by Shi Zeshen Clinton, Yeo Sen Son Benjamin, Ow Yong Shi Yun, Kwok Youjun Eugene & Chin Zihui Joan.

Abstract- Our study focuses on the presence of infants in macaque troops contributing to aggressive behaviour towards human bystanders. Out of seven troops observed in MacRitchie Nature Reserve, three troops with infants displayed signs of aggression, while three troops without infants failed to display signs of aggressive behaviour. However, one troop with infants did not show signs of aggression towards human bystanders. In fact, they displayed a high level of friendly human interaction. This variation can also be explained by the presence of alternative factors that act to mitigate aggression such as a large troop size and ample food sources.

Group 21 – How the foraging behavior of the Blue-Spotted Mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti) is affected by tidal patterns

Presented by Chua Cheng Liang, Pauline Chee Mei Xin, Tan Tian Shuo, Tan Wei Xian Cornelius & Yeo Zhi Wei.

Abstract- The effect of tidal patterns on the foraging behavior of Blue-spotted mudskippers was studied in populations living within marked areas located in two intertidal regions in Pulau Ubin (Sungei Ubin and Abandoned Prawn Pond). During observations made on the 27th February and 13th March 2011, the feeding frequencies of blue-spotted mudskippers at both areas were measured at various times. The results indicated that foraging activities were most frequent 2 hours before low tide (just when water level has just receded), decreased as the lowest tide level approached, and peaked again 2 hours after the lowest tide (before mangrove was submerged).

Group 22- Monkey Business

Presented by Lin Yijie, Goh Liang Bao, Pasadik Dhamma, Denice Sit Xiang Quan, Tan Boon Han & Chia Hui Jin.

Abstract- The aim of our project is to observe if the frequency of communication between the dominant male and his subordinates vary at different times of the day, and come up with explanations to our observations. We will also attempt to analyze the communication between the dominant male and his subordinates, and the purpose of such communications between them.

Group 23- How do Red Ants(Solenopsis invictus) hunt?

Presented by Toh Jia Yi, Yeoh Ling Xuan, Wang Mei Zhen, Kwok Yi Jun & Lee Jia Min Jamie.

Abstract- Our research question is ‘How do Red Ants(Solenopsis invicta) hunt?’ The areas which we are going to focus on are the communication patterns and predatory habits. The ants are generally omnivorous, they predate through joint communication. They sting together and cooperate to bring their prey back to the colony together. They can hunt individually, but they joint predation is preferable because of their small size that can be a disadvantage to them. Hunting together allows them to bring down larger prey. Their stings contain venom that will paralyse the victims. The different communication modes are chemical, visual and auditory cues

Group 24- Mudskippers – Territorial tyrants or Angelic Cuties?

Presented by Boey Jun Rong Leonard, Pun Chee Mun Sherman, Tan Weiwen Andrew, Wee Wen Jun Josheen & Chang Jane Yin.

Abstract- There is a misconception that mudskippers are mild amphibians that do not bite. In this project, we examine the territorial behaviours of two species of mudskippers, the Giant Mudskipper (Periopthalmus Barbarus) and the Blue-spotted Mudskipper (Boleophthalmus Boddarti), in how they define their home-range, territory, and their “personal space”. We also provide evidences to show the differences in aggression level between the two species, attributing some of the differences to the environment in which they thrive. This was done by comparing and contrasting between the mangrove areas in Pasir Ris Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and Chek Jawa in Pulau Ubin.

Day 3,  Session 1
04 Apr 2011: 10.00am – 12.00am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: Sivasothi, Yuan Ting & Enoka.

Group 25 – Human Shyness: An observational study on Long Tailed Macaques

Presented by Kavin S/O Tamilchelvan, Logaventhan S/O Karuppannan. Low Hon Inn, Pamela Teo Yue Yuan and Rahmat Tirmizi

Abstract- Our overarching research question is to what extent do long tailed macaques show aversion to human beings and is there a noticeable pattern that we can deduce from our field observations? Throughout our observations at Upper Thomson Road, we found particular patterns and also postulated a hypothesis that macaques are not ‘shy’ to human interaction and surroundings. Our methodologies include photograph and video evidence, the use of an ethograph and charts to explain why and how we intend to answer our research question.

Group 26 – The Skippers behaviour

Presented by Goh Wei Xian, Kong Hui Yun Jasmine, Shana Poon JingJie, Leong Lay Peng Cindy, Tay Hui Yi

Abstract- Our group seeks to determine the behaviours of blue spotted mudskippers (Boleophthalmus boddarti) during low tide. We use three sampling methods, ad libitum, scan sampling and focal animal sampling to assist in our analysis. We hypothesize that the majority of the mudskipper’s active time is spend on feeding. This was supported by our observations. From scan sampling, we observed that 66.2% of their time was spent feeding. Thus our focal animal sampling focuses on the mudskippers’ feeding behaviour. In addition we also studied the other behaviours observed including social interaction and breathing through ad libitum sampling method.

Group 27 – Observations on the feeding sequence of the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) in relation to its fruit handling techniques between different types of food

Presented by Candice Soh Jia Yun, Neo Ai Ting, Ng Xiangqi, Soh Sharmin

Abstract- The Yellow Vented Bulbuls are one of the most commonly found species of bulbuls in Singapore. However, their existence is often heard but little attention is given to them. As such, our group seeks to investigate the feeding behavior of these ubiquitous bulbuls in relation to its food handling techniques, such as fruit size, position and location. Quite consistently, our results portrayed that there is generally distinct differences of the bulbuls’ feeding patterns in relation to the size, position and location of food.

Group 28 – Angry Birds

Presented by Jacklyn Ho Kah Yee, Lim Sim Yee, Tan De’en Melvin, Li Zong Mi Andrea, Saw Wei Jie

Abstract- Our group is looking into the foraging behavior of the Javan Mynas that we commonly see flocking into our local hawker centres and canteens. We are focusing mainly on the group dynamics of the mynas within their own species, and also whether they exhibit any territorial dominance in the presence of other birds (eg. Eurasian Tree Sparrow).  Also, we want to see how these birds have adapted to our urban environment when foraging by observing the way they use man made structures when feeding which we hope can explain their sustained population in these harsh environments.

Group 29 – Amazing Monitor Lizards

Presented by Priyathanaa d/o Kalyanasundram, Yeo Tu Chin, Melvin, Yap Kar Yee Lydianne, Toh Keng Yong, Deon, Chu Guang Sing

Abstract- This project is on Varanus salvator, a type of monitor lizard. It aims to showcase whether their size of affects their thermal and foraging behaviour. Our hypothesis based on research indicating that bigger monitor lizards tend to bask more as they gain and lose heat more rapidly than their smaller-sized counterparts. We found the hypothesis to be true by observing their behaviour over 3 weeks within a controlled time frame and an almost controlled environment each time. Our findings can perhaps be expanded to other species of monitor lizards as well.


Day 3,  Session 2
04 Apr 2011: 10.00am – 12.00am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Zeehan Jaafar, Erica Sena, Neo Mei Lin & Seok Ping.

Group 31 – The social dynamics of grooming within each group of long-tail macaques at Bukit Timah.

Presented by Quek Hwee Chien Sheri, Cheryl Dan Si Min, Wang Xinpei, Tan Wan Ting, Szeto Wing yu, Carolina Martina Catharina Kamps

Abstract- Our group aims to study the grooming behavior of long-tailed macaques in Bukit Timah. We will examine the following factors; how long-tail macaques approach each other, who grooms whom and the duration of the grooming. Based on our observation, it is seen that the grooming behaviour displayed in long-tailed macaques depends on the hierarchy of the groups. We will be using mindmaps to present our findings and show the social hierarchy within the groups. Lastly, we will discuss the limitations and challenges of our project.

Group 32 – Teamwork- no rEGRETS!

Presented by Verine Ling Hui Yi, Kiesha Prem, Tan Xiling, Lum Zhi Yong and Su Zhirong

Abstract- Our project is focusing on whether flock size of Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) affects pecking rates. Little Egrets are generally solitary hunters. However, we would like to explore variation in its hunting behaviour in larger groups. Our measurements of peck counts span across small groups (<5) and large groups (>5). We also question if sentinel behaviour is present in this particular species.

Group 33 – See it, Stretch it, Strike it!

Presented by Ang Jia Jun, Chua Ming Fang, Gladys Koh, Low Tee Tong, Ng Li Xuan Serene.

Abstract- Our project aims to observe the foraging behavior of Little Heron, Butorides striatus. One observation seen during foraging was little herons could actually stretch it’s neck out to a length that’s almost twice it’s body size. We focused on thirteen little herons that were found in drainage canals. We observed that there were generally two feeding strategies in which the little herons adopted. We classified and categorized the feeding behaviours into four processes and recorded the timing for each process respectively. The Little Heron is often seen to remain in a crouched posture and appears to have short neck.

Group 34 – The showdown averters: The nature of aggression in mudskippers’ territorial behaviours

Presented by Ang Min Jia, Jonathan Ma, Cheong Wei Ming , Lee Kok How Leon , Goh Tsoon Liang Exel

Abstract- Mudskippers are known to be highly aggressive creatures especially when it comes to defending their territories, but are they always the bold and violent physical confronters we often see in documentaries? In this study, we monitor the territorial behaviour of giant mudskippers at Sungei Buloh to find the answer. Contrary to our hypothesis, our observation reveals that the giant mudskippers seemed more inclined towards displays of intimidation to deter opponents rather than outright physical confrontations. Through our observation, we also speculate that they demonstrate a hierarchy of behaviors that would occassionally culminate into physical clashes.

Group 35 – The 4 Wonders of Peafowls

Presented by Gabriel Choo Pei Yong, Jessica Low Xu Yan , Priscilla Wee Sze Hui , Pang Wen Jie, Valerie Yeo Mui Hiang

Abstract- Peafowls engage in mainly 2 forms of communications. Firstly, vocalization and secondly, physical behavior to communicate under different situations. Communication will mean interchange of thoughts and messages between individuals.
We will support these 2 forms of communication through our observations we have made. Our observations will be based on 4 focuses:
1) Communication between Parent and Child
2) Communication during Feeding
3) Roosting Calls
4) Courtship
These observations, together with examples, will reinforce the point that peafowls use vocalization and physical behavior to communicate intra-specifically.