Symposium 2009


Day 1, Concurrent Session 1

12 Feb 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: Sivasothi, Janice Lee and Daniel Ng

10.00-10.15am: Group 1 – “I Like To Move It, Move It!”
Presented by Tay Ee Pei Lydia, Woo Wan Ting Isabella, Soh Kai Di Kathy and Tan Yiheng Benjamin.

Abstract – Various types of primates have their own way of moving about. We investigated the evolution of primate limbs – how each habitat could have possibly restricted or enabled certain types of locomotion and hence the differences amongst the primates’ limbs to better facilitate their movements. In the Singapore Zoological Gardens we observed how some primates evolved to suit their respective habitats. We categorized the primates according to suspensory, arboreal and terrestrial primates.

10.15-10.30am: Group 2 – “Foraging Behaviour of Pigeons in Urban Areas.”
Presented by Chan Sze Wing, Khoo Lay Hian, Mohyong Shiteng Devlin and Tan Mei Yan Kathleen.

Abstract – Our project deals with the behaviour of pigeons when feeding. Through our observations, we have noticed that pigeons tend to flock together to feed during certain times of the day (in the mornings and evening; when someone is feeding). Also, we have observed that these pigeons thrive around urban areas, as compared to rural areas in Singapore. We have concluded that the pigeons are largely dependent on humans for their survival. As they have an excellent memory, they’re capable of remembering feeding times. They’re assured of a steady food supply with no natural predators and therefore their population size balloons.

10.30-10.45am: Group 3 – Elephants at work and play: are they entirely simulated? Presented by Kristie Neo, Ahmad Fakhruddin, Ang Chee Hui and Tan Gim Yong.

Abstract – This study aims to examine the behaviour of Asian elephants performing at the Singapore Zoological Gardens. To what extent are their natural attributes exploited for the shows? We will investigate how elephants learn tricks to perform in the zoo and the training methods employed by the mahouts (elephant trainers). Through our observations and interviews, we discovered how the shows are catered accordingly to display the “natural” attributes of the elephants to the public.

10.45-11.00am: Group 4 – Size matters: Exploring the Small Dog Syndrome. Presented by Aarthi Sankar, Ruben S/O Victor, Leong Wenqian Jofid and Chia Ming Li Ramona.

Abstract – “Small Dog Syndrome” refers to the distinctive trait of tiny breeds of dogs having larger-than-life personalities as compared to their seemingly more composed larger counterparts. Most of us have encountered noisy, ballistic small dogs in HDB areas, while the much bigger dogs appear more sedate. In observations carried out in dog run areas, we looked for any disparities in behaviors between big and small dogs. Size is our independent variable, behavior our dependent variable. Our results do not support this hypothesis, they suggest that SDS may be more a social phenomena (observed by laymen) rather than an aspect of behavioral science.

Day 1, Concurrent Session 2

12 Feb 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Matthew Lim, Tay Ywee Chieh and Toh Kok Ben

10.00-10.15am: Group 6 – Hamadryas Baboons: Captivity and its effects on traditional hierarchical systems comparative to the wild. Presented by Adryanna Bte Abdul Aziz, Siti Marinah Bte M. Ali, Foo Ern-Syn Melody and Andy Lim Wan Yang.
Abstract – Our research seeks to find, through observation, the existence of a unique hierarchical system in Hamadryas baboons bred in captivity at the Singapore Zoological Gardens as compared to the wild. We focussed on factors of gender and the relationship between a baboon’s age and its strength. In captivity, factors such as space, lack of need for foraging, the absence of natural predators and human interaction affect behaviour. We find that in captive hamadryas baboons, although there is a dilution of classic hierarchical behaviour present in the wild, the fundamental hierarchical composition and behaviour still exists.

10.15-10.30am: Group 7 – Aggression of Male Jumping Spiders in the Presence of Female Jumping Spiders. Presented by Frans Prawira, Goh Yi Lin Pamela and Ting Bing Hui.
Abstract – An experiment was conducted to investigate if the presence of female jumping spiders affects the level of aggression between male spiders. This was carried out through the introduction of male spiders to the female spider sequentially in order of ascending size. The introduction of the male spiders was performed singly and it was found that the presence of a female spider would result in escalated aggression between males. Furthermore, it was also discovered that male spiders would fight to win the mating opportunity with a female, and that interest in mating supercedes the instinctive fighting behaviour in male spiders.

10.30-10.45am: Group 8 – How ants react to obstacles placed in their trails. Presented by Lee Sin Yan, Yeo Kiat Ju, Lee Ying Ying and Loh Man Ying.
Abstract – Our project seeks to investigate how ants work as a team to overcome obstacles. To do so, we simulated various situations to test the behaviour of the ants. The simulation involved the disruption of an ant trail with obstacles that were stationary, scented and foreign intruders. Through our observations, we have found out that ants’ instinctive behaviour of laying pheromones, responding to different types of pheromones and their social behaviour play very important roles in helping ants communicate and work efficiently as a team.

10.45-11.00am: Group 9 – Aggressive Behaviour of Fighting Fish. Presented by Lek Wee Keat, Ng Yi Si Esther, Goh Wan Ying Esther, See Yong Xuan Mervyn and Suhaidah Bte Mohd Yusof.
Abstract – We investigated the causes for aggressive behaviour of male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) in captivity by carrying out a two part experiment in which various conditions were introduced to provoke aggressive behaviour: a) Which sensory cues caused the most reaction; b) Which visual cue caused them to react most violently.

Day 2, Concurrent Session 1

5 Mar 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: Sivasothi, Ng Shi Yan and Goh Seok Ping

10.00-10.15am: Group 11 – King Penguins – What you see is what you get? Presented by Ong Yaohui, Huang Yifang, Wee Hian Huat and Wei Peiling.
Abstract – Our study focuses on the King penguins in Jurong Bird Park. The behavioural aspect we wish to observe is specifically, their reproduction process, which encompasses their mate selection, nesting and incubation. Based on our observations in the enclosure, the interview with the bird-keeper, and established studies from other researchers, we will attempt to compare the behaviour of these penguins in captivity as compared to the wild. Despite the bird park’s efforts to simulate the natural habitat, we still managed to observe some behavioural discrepancies between the penguins in the wild and those in the enclosure.

10.15-10.30am: Group 12 – Creatures in Captivity: Observation of Polar Bears and Penguins in the Singapore Zoological Gardens. Presented by Chen Zhihui Pearlyn, Chew Wei Yang Eugene, Durga Devi d/o Rajandran and Kumuthan s/o Maderya.
Abstract – How does an animal biologically made to survive in a different climate survive in the tropics? What are the factors that have helped animals from colder climatic regions adjust to the tropics? To answer these questions, we conducted a study on polar bears and jackass penguins at the Singapore Zoological Gardens. Based on literature research and observations, a comparison of the animals’ physical attributes, behaviour and diet was done. Internal (animals’ adaption to the climate) and external (measures provided by the zoo) factors have supported the animals’ survival in the tropics. Breeding and the absence of stress illustrate the animals’ successful adaptation to the tropical climate.

10.30-10.45am: Group 13 – Social and Predatory Play Behaviour of Domestic Kittens. Presented by Ho Ling, Lee Liang Yi, Lee Xing Ru Cynthia and Tang Chyi Yueh.
Abstract – The purpose of our study is to explore play behaviour of kittens. We hypothesize that kittens will display predatory behavior towards a ball that is similar, in size, texture and smell, to a rodent. In our experiment, we varied, the size of the oval-shaped ball, type of material the ball is made of, and presence of a hamster’s scent, to determine the behavior of the three kittens that we experimented on, individually. Our results showed that all three kittens behaved more aggressively (shown by biting) and displayed predatory behavior when they were given the rat-sized furry oval-shaped ball with hamster’s scent.

10.45-11.00am: Group 14 – Mother Nature Versus Mandai Nurture. Presented by Murali S/O Tamil Selvam, Arul Vadivelan S Muthumanickam, Vemalan S/O Elangovan and Naseem Fathima.
Abstract – The Hamadryas Baboons were observed based on comparison with their wild counterparts. The main objective of our observations was to derive if the baboons’ behaviours were instinctive or operant. Their 2 notable behaviours were foraging and violent interaction. These behaviours were thus used as lenses to distinguish the Mandai residents from their wild cousins. Our findings revealed that those from Mandai are considerably different from those in the wild.

11.00-11.15am: Group 15 – Change in Territorial behaviour of stray cats upon human interference. Presented by Goh Hong Yi, Choo Lay Yoong, Chew Wei Ting and Ong Meng Yeow, Aaron.
Abstract – Cats are known to be independent and territorial. This project seeks to test if stray cats will gather and overcome territorial barriers as a response to humans. We chose to focus on a common human-cat interaction in the neighbourhood: feeding. Our hypothesis is that in a situation where there is no competition for food, stray cats’ sense of territoriality would be lowered and they will congregate. We also want to find out the extent to which they are willing to tolerate other cats in their space during feeding.

Day 2, Concurrent Session 2

5 Mar 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Matthew Lim, Ng Jun Xiang and Yip Ai Kia

10.00-10.15am: Group 16 – Mynas in pairs, or is there greater power in synchrony? Presented by Tan Pei Shan Maria, Derek Tan Yi-Ren, Chong Shih Wai, Shaun and Foo Hsuan Lei, Jorim.
Abstract – Common Mynahs (Acridotheres tristis) have been known to forage in pairs. Yet in Singapore, large flocks of Common Mynahs are seen foraging together. This study attempts to prove that Common Mynahs exhibit group dynamics, resulting in greater foraging confidence. Experiments were conducted on lone pairs and large flocks by injecting food into their natural habitat and observing their confidence levels. The experiment was repeated in various locations in Singapore to rule out differing confidence levels of various “tribes”. Our findings indicate that Common Mynahs display synchronous behavior where there is intra-group communication, leading to greater confidence in the foraging process.

10.15-10.30am: Group 17 – Pre and Post Fornification Behaviour of Pigeons (Columba livia). Presented by Goh Wei Huai Nigel, Berner Poh, Chan Wen Cui and Cai Suting.
Abstract – “Are pigeons choosey mates?” We studied the pre-mating (courtship behaviour), mating behaviour and post-mating behaviour of undomesticated feral pigeons (columba livia). We video-taped and observed such behaviour and matched our observations with known researches found from articles, books and papers to identify potential discrepancies. We also studied the choice of mates by female pigeons through their interaction with male pigeons. We found out that two factors mattered, namely, social status and outlook.

10.30-10.45am: Group 18 – Safety in numbers: Schooling behavior in neon tetras. Presented by Cheng Kai Wen Eileen, Eng Woon Chong Shawn, Zhang Kaiwei and Zhu Lianglin.
Abstract – Schooling is an important defense mechanism for many different types of fish, this is especially so for the small and timid neon tetra. We exposed a test group of neon tetras to various forms of stimuli and observed their reaction, noting when the fish displayed schooling behavior. We came to the conclusion that though schooling behavior is an instinctive trait, the tetras also show signs of habituation, where after constant exposure, the stimulus no longer triggers schooling behavior.

10.45-11.00am: Group 19 – Social Behaviors of Meerkats. Presented by Xie Wangyang, Chew Sze Tat, Li Zuwei and Ting Zhi Hui, Magdeline.
Abstract – Meerkats are small mammals of the mongoose family commonly found in parts of the Kalahari Desert. They are social animals forming “clans” of about 20 meerkats up to 50 or more and are led by an alpha pair. For our observations, we will be visiting the meerkats held in the Singapore Zoological Gardens. We seek to look at some of the social behaviors of the meerkats such as sentry duties, grooming each other, babysitting and play activities such as wrestling matches and foot races. We will then seek to understand the observed behavior through various expert studies on the meerkats.

11.00-11.15am: Group 20 – Learned versus Instinctive Behaviour in Sun Conures. Presented by Kasthuri d/o Mahanthran, Tahiradulnisha binte Kader Ibrahim and Renuka d/o Nasendran.
Abstract – Sun Conures are a species of parrot that make good home pets. We have been observing a domesticated Sun Conure in a home environment and have discovered that they display an interesting array of learned and instinctive behaviours. Our intention was to observe the kinds of interaction between the bird and its owners. These include instinctive behaviours such as territoriality and feeding. We also observed learned behaviours stem from habituations and spatial learning. We learnt that majority of learned behaviours are results of habituation.

Day 3, Concurrent Session 1

Date: 19 March 2009
Venue: Lab 7A
Panel: Enoka, Janice Lee & N. Sivasothi

“Penguins – Adapting for Survivial,” by Group 21: Chin Ying Ying Crystal, Goh Jiali Cherie, Yee Wei Chun, Thng Jie Ying Mabel.
Abstract – This project aims to compare penguins in captive vs wild environments and how penguins adapt to the changing environment for survival. Our group observed 5 different species of penguins, namely the Humboldt, Rockhopper Macaroni, Fairy and the majestic King penguins, that were enclosed in a common exhibit at the Jurong Bird Park. Despite being in an artificially constructed environment, the penguins retained some of their natural behaviours and also exhibited interesting learned behaviours. We made use of secondary resources such as documentaries for research on natural behaviours and primary resource based on an interview with an avian supervisor.

“Comparative study on Meer Kats in captivity and the wild.,” by Group 22: Gabriel Xiu Wei
Muhd. Farkhan Salleh, Nur Liyana Mohd. Sulaiman, Pham Duong Thu Nga.

Abstract – Our study is based on comparing meerkats in captivity and in the wild based on 4 categories; foraging, anti-predatory, breeding and social hierarchy. In captivity, foraging techniques and anti-predator behaviour have been observed to be different in the absence of natural predators. We will analyze the changes to the breeding behaviour which consists of the pre-gestation period, and the learning process as it grows. Meerkats have a strict social hierarchy. We aim to see the differences that have been brought about in a controlled social setting. We will discuss and attempt to interpret the perceived differences.

“Fiddler Crabs – Do they display territorial behavior?” By Group 23: Foo Kah Yen, Lee Rui Jun, Lee Soon Fatt Kelvin and Yeo Liwei Vivien.
Abstract – Male Fiddler Crabs are well-known for their one-sided large claw used either to attract female counterparts or for intimidation. Our study focuses on the territorial behavior of this specie of Crustacean. By heading out to Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin to make observations of the wild Fiddler Crabs from the boardwalk during low tide, we obtained positive findings of their territorial behavior shown by the display of aggressive acts of the males near their burrows and hereby propose several reasons for that: for protection of feeding ground and ovigerous females and for advantageous combined defenses against intruders.

“Resourcefulness of Ants,” by Group 24: Poo Mei Yi, Desmond Zhuo, Michelle Tan Zhen Yue, Srinivasan Natarajan.
Abstract – Ants are an integral part of the ecosystem. This project is based on studying a significant part of their life, which are the methods and mechanisms of foraging. We will understand how ants obtain food by investigating the response dexterity of ants in detecting the existence of food, their follow up cooperative behavior in safely and successfully bringing it back to their ant-hill, their ability to negotiate rough terrain, how they manage to overcome our uniquely devised physical obstacles, and finally by simulating the existence of an intruder, gain an insight on the ant’s defensive tactics and survival instincts.

“An observation of the Asian small-clawed otters: Sociable furballs or dangerous animal?” By Group 25: Chen Guanyou, Timothy Chen Bing Chuan, Gabriel Wong Guang Yong, Jacob Jonathan.
Abstract – We will be doing an exploration and observation of the Asian small-clawed otters, primarily investigating the question of whether they are as cute as they seemed or much more violent than their furry exteriors suggest. We will almost be observing their group reactions to strangers (tourists) and non-strangers (Zookeepers) and whether their behaviour ties in with our secondary data and information.

Day 3, Concurrent Session 2

Date: 19 March 2009
Venue: Lab 7C
Panel: Tang Junhao, Toh Kok Ben & Matthew Lim

“FNB1303: Red Platy goes to school,” by Group 26: Gay Sen Min, Lee Hui Ping Josephine, Chua Yu Yinn, Chan Jiexin Melissa.
Abstract – This study looks at the learning ability of the red platy. How quickly can the red platy learn to recognize a specific visual cue? To answer this question, we set up an experiment with the hypothesis that the red platy is able to learn a specific pattern of feeding within a duration of 8 hours. We made use of a visual cue in a form of torch lights whenever we feed them. How well did they fair?

“The Trails of the Hungry Weaver Ants,” by Group 27: Ang Bin Hua Yvonne, Chan Nga Yin, Chua Jia Ling Samantha, Liu Jie Feng.
Abstract – Based on research and preliminary observations, Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) are known for its chaining behaviour in nest formation, cooperative behaviour and liking for tuna. Therefore, we decided to investigate whether these behaviors will be exhibited when narrow gaps are present in their foraging path, hence improving their foraging efficiency, which we define as effectiveness in food search, i.e using the shortest distance required for this study. Our results confirm that these ants link up via bridging behaviour and to engage in cooperative behaviour to get to the food which is placed across a narrow gap.

“Observation of South African Ground Squirrels in the Singapore Zoo,” by Group 28: Andrew Teo Say Chong, Chan Mei Ping Sarah, Foo Kaori, Fu Lok Man Rhoda.
Abstract – Our group decided to study the South African Ground Squirrels, also known as the Cape squirrels, or Xerus inauris. We did our observation in the Singapore Zoo and noticed that there were skirmishes between the squirrels, violent attempts at mating and the random burrowing. These seemed to us very atypical of squirrels in their natural surroundings and hence we hypothesize that this might be due to the stress that the squirrels in the zoo have to undergo from being artificially contained in a very claustrophobic environment.

“”Get your paws off my territory!” – Studying the Territorial Behaviour of Suburban Stray Cats in the Chai Chee Neighbourhood,” by Group 29: Lee Sin Yee, Liang Xiaoping, Phay Su Hui Francy, Bernice Chua Mei Ling.
Abstract – Literature has shown that the spatial distribution of stray cats does not occur at random. Rather, their spacing patterns are highly affected by the environment, which includes the accessibility of shelters as well as water and food resources. Therefore, stray cats are inferred to exhibit different territorial behaviours in contrasting habitats, according to the availability of these essential resources for their own survival. The objective of our study is to examine the extent to which stray cats are protective of their own territory in the suburban HDB setting of the Chai Chee neighbourhood and thereby, underlining factors influencing their possessiveness, or lack thereof. Through tracking the positions of stray cats across a week, from late afternoon to nighttime, when the cats are most active, their paths will determine if territorial boundaries are often violated or shared within the colony.

Day 4, Concurrent Session 1

02 Apr 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: N. Sivasothi et al.

“The Sacred Baboon,” by Group 31: Chow Charlene, Huang Wan Ting, Peh Pei Yi Pamela and Shee Shi Min.
Abstract – Our group decided to study the behaviour of the Hamadrya Baboons in the Singapore Zoo in comparison to those in their natural environment. We aimed to investigate the differences in behaviour based on observations as well as academic research. We spent approximately 6 hours observing them. Our focus is divided into 4 main categories: Socializing, Communication, Mating and learned behaviour. The results of study indicated that the main features of baboon behaviour are still present, however they have mostly evolved. Also, we realized that there are certain behaviour that has been acquired based on learned experiences in captivity.

“Happy Feet No More.” by Group 32: Muhammad Firdaus Bin Mohidin, Tang Yan Xiu, Ling Jie Fang, Yap Xiu Fen Denise.
Abstract – Our topic question is ‘Are ordinary juvenile Jackass Penguins segregated from adult Jackass Penguins?’ We observed the penguins in the zoo for approximately eight hours and used a video camera to record their behavior. After the observations, we found out that the ordinary juvenile penguin did not partake in activities of the adult penguins and that there was minimal interaction between them. Thus, after confirming with other various studies and researches, we concluded that in general, ordinary juvenile Penguins are separated from the adult penguins.

“Adaptation of Ants in an Urban Environment,” by Group 33: Lui Ai Lin Aileen, Cheong Hui Ling Annie, Lee Kok Leong, Chew Yuan Wei Kelvin.
Abstract – Ants have been around for millions of years, but have evolved little from their original state, instead quickly adapting in the face of environmental change. This study involves examining a colony of Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) in an urbanized setting, observing how and to what extent they have adapted to living in the human environment. Emphasis was placed on two aspects of adaptation: shelter and food sources. Findings suggest that while weaver ants readily adapt to take shelter in a wide variety of man-made structures, their diet has so far not been influenced much by human contact.

“The Foraging Behaviour of Ants,” by Group 34: Ma Peiyi, Shi Fu’ai Iona, Yogeshwari Balakrishnan and Tan Junyan.
Abstract – The experiment’s objective is to study the foraging behaviour of ants within a natural environment, particularly looking at their reactions towards their food sources and their interaction with other ants during their foraging behaviour. Their reaction towards the food sources is observed based on the size and the type of food source. Their interaction with other ants is observed based on whether they work collectively in foraging or do independently. External elements such as a slight drizzle and the presence of an aggressor were also present which provided more insights into their behaviour.

“Observing feeding behaviour in Proboscis monkeys,” by Group 35: Sandeep Singh Brandal S/O N S, Kavitha D/O Supramaniam, Poh, Jody Wei-Ting, Sumangalam Haridas.
Abstract – The Proboscis monkeys cohabit in two social groupings – the first being all male coalitions of no more than 10 juvenile monkeys and the second being uni-male harems where a dominant male lives with several females and their offspring. Our research analysed similarities and differences in their feeding behaviour between the two groups. These observations were done in the zoo, a controlled environment. Observations showed that both groups are territorial with food and eat at the same time. The main difference is that in the uni-male group, they are less aggressive and the male has to start eating first.

Day 4, Concurrent Session 2

02 Apr 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Matthew Lim et al.

“Fatty Catty Trio: Territory, living together and its benefits.” By Group 36: Rachel Shamini Mohan, Hong Xinying, Brintha Anne Loganathan, Shalini d/o Sukumaran.
Abstract – We have chosen to focus our study on a group of cats living in the Serangoon North Ave 4 estate because of the group’s unique nature in terms of territory. The perimeters of their territory is relatively fixed and situated close to human habitation i.e. the lift lobby of Blk 526. Hence, we aim to observe this group to understand their particular territorial behaviour, as well as the benefits they receive by living together as a group in this area.

“Wild or not-so-wild??- A peek into the world of long-tailed macaques.” By Group 37: Chuan Wei Zhang, Reshma Nair, Toh Jing TIng, Kesavan Nair.
Abstract – Our research focuses on the grooming, mating and foraging behaviour of long-tailed macaques in the wild in Singapore. Through observations at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie and Seletar Reservoir Parks; our objective was to observe the kinds of interaction between the macaques themselves and with humans. We also observed that learned behaviours stem from habituations and spatial learning. Are the macaques really still wild animals? Based on literature research and our observations, we will attempt to compare the behaviour of these macaques in “urban jungles” as compared to the wild.

“Watching Otters: A Study of Captive Asian Small-Clawed Otters,” by Group 38: Phua Xin Ju Cherlyn, Goh Jin Han Javin, Chua Sui Ling Christine, Mark Rusli.
Abstract – Our group focuses on the behaviour of captive Asian Small-Clawed Otters. Through careful observation of their behaviour in confined settings, we determine if limitations in their physical and social environment have affected their natural behaviour. Such conditions in captivity include their diet, the artificial environment they are in, enforced social structure, and how their physical abilities are restricted. Thus, our paper compares the behaviour of otters in the Singapore Zoological Gardens with that of their natural habitat, and also analyses if otters have adapted their abilities to suit their man-made settings.

“Subterranean Ant Wars,” by Group 39: Danielle Hong Yuan Hua, Tan Tian Hee Elizabeth Joy, Siti Hazariah bte Abu Bakar, Mahathir B Aziz.
Abstract – The objective of our observation of two colonies of Species X ants within the constructed captive space of an ant farm was to determine territorial behavior of both colonies in response to one another. Over the course of three weeks we made both short, intermittent observations (half an hour daily) as well as one observation over a sustained period of time (three to four hours).
What we discovered was that not only did the two colonies settle into burrowing new nests at opposite ends of the farm, they also tried to invade each other’s territories. They also fought over common resources like water and food, which were placed in the middle of a communal area.

“Tool Using Behaviour of Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in wild and captivity,” by Group 40: Koh Jing How, Ho Wenjie Jerry, Peh Shiyun, Poh Ping Xiong.
Abstract – The common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, is closest living animal relative to mankind and is one of the few living species on the planet that is known to use tools to acquire food. For our project, we visited the Singapore Zoological Gardens, where the chimpanzee enclosure had feeding stations that required the captive chimpanzees to use tools to get to the food. We compared the behavioural tool use of the captive chimpanzee to that of the Chimpanzees in the wild, as recorded in various research papers. We also observed the how the chimpanzees engaged in social learning of new skills. Our results revealed that behaviours of wild and captive chimpanzees were very much similar.

Day 5, Concurrent Session 1

16 Apr 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7A
Panel: Enoka PK Vidanage, Goh Seok Ping & Sivasothi.

“Social Behaviour of Pochards: Fiction with a Twist”, by Group 41: Choong Chyi Horng, Ong Geok Suan Jerline, Loo Shang Yi Aubrey, Tay Fang Sheng Matthew.
Abstract – The purpose of our study is to explore interactions between the European and red-crested Pochards. We hypothesize that due to captivity, the red-crested and European Pochards will display heightened interactive behaviours between each other. Through observations and interviews, with the staff of Jurong Bird Park, it is shown that there is little inter-species interaction. Only intra-species interaction can be seen within the red-crested pochards. However, the results were not the same with the European Pochards,. The male and 2 female European Pochards keeps to themselves, showing little or no interaction. These lack of inter-species interaction gives rise to doubts about the pochards hybrid mating preferences and interactions as can be observed in the wild.

“Aggression Study On Hamsters”, by Group 42:Neo Jun Jie Jeremy, Tay Hui Ping, Byron Jevan Koh, Cheong Cherlynn.
Abstract – Our project aims to observe conflict and aggression amongst hamsters, simulating different scenarios for the hamsters to go through. Project was based on background information found that hamsters are innately aggressive and prefers solitude. Scenarios are based on factors that we feel might induce aggression, keeping other variables constant. Factors introduced ensured that no harm was inflicted upon the hamsters. Results proved to support our researched background information. However, we found out that there are other factors have to be considered too when deducing reasons for aggression amongst hamsters. These will be explained further in our presentation.

“An Exploratory Study on Ant’s Foraging Behaviour in Urban Environment”, by Group 43:Chan Pei Lin, Cheng Yi’en, Lee Joo Guan Samuel, Sim Suet Leng Gwendolyn.
Abstract – Much research has focused on the adaptability of ants through studying their foraging behaviour, because the strategies and methods of obtaining food are vital to any species community’s survival. The present study aims to explore feeding preferences of ants by using sugar solution. This followed by a test for overcrowding effect on ants’ foraging behaviour. Finally, the color preference of the ants is also tested. All these are done by self-designed experiments which are conducted along a pavement in the urban environment. An important finding is that environmental stress such as overcrowding can lead to emergence of adaptive foraging decisions.

“The Scorpion King”, by Group 44:Ang Huilei Ethel ,Chan Kit Ying Elaine, Chua Xian Yi Darrel, Koh Jun Hao Wilvin.
Abstract – Our project will focus on the behaviour of scorpions. Its behaviour may differ somewhat from more institutionalized and established observations. The aspects of its behaviour that we will concentrate on is on their feeding and mating habits. The mating ritual of scorpions is extremely fascinating and we will attempt to draw parallels with other species which exhibit such tendencies. Last, we will explore the ways in which scorpions are portrayed in popular culture and which characteristics make them so appealing to the human imagination.

“An observation on the foraging behaviour of Mynahs in NUS Arts Canteen”, by Group 45:Tong Jun Fang Sandy, Ng Yun Ling Genevieve, Lim Xiao Wei, Chui Geok Leng.
Abstract – Our project will focus on the foraging behavior of Mynahs in the Arts Canteen. We will be looking at factors that affect this behavior. The factors include the presentation of food, singular or pair foraging and human presence. We carried out several observations on weekdays and weekends and concluded that the most marked effect on their foraging behavior we could glean was human presence.

Day 5, Concurrent Session 2

16 Apr 2009: 10.00am – 11.15am.
Venue: LS Lab 7C
Panel: Tang Junhao, Yip Ai Kia & Matthew Lim.

“Observational Learning in Hamsters”, by Group 46:Ng Shi Wen, Fang Yu, Lim Pei Qin Alvin, Khoo Li Lin Cheryl.
Abstract – Classical conditioning has often been used to explain learning in animals, including humans. However, classical conditioning requires first hand experience of positive or negative stimuli, which is not always the case. This experiment seeks to understand the acquisition of learning even without the direct application of a conditioned stimulus (CS) or unconditioned stimulus (US). Here we show that hamsters that observed another hamster’s conditioning of a tone to food later showed the same signs of learning, although to a smaller magnitude. Thus it has been demonstrated that learning can also occur without the direct application of a CS or US.

“Koi Carp – Love the “Master” of the “Food”?”, by Group 47: Lee Ai Shi Esther, Lee Kah Hock Benedict, Lim Qingli.
Abstract – The Koi carp was initially bred to supplement rice farmers’ diets but in recent years, it has evolved into its status as a pet fish. Not only can the Koi float and surface from the water to feed from the owner’s hand, it eventually recognises its owners and gather around him or her during feeding times. Thus, we intend to observe this interactive behaviour of the Koi through a series of experiments, which requires the Koi to identify its owner and food, while adding control variables. We learnt that consistent interaction and training is essential to stimulate such behaviour.

“Size, gender and the learning behavior of Mud Crabs; Does size or gender affect rate of habituation?”, by Group 48: Choo Jie Xiang Andy, Lin Meiyu Dina, Lim Chien Ling Kimberlyn, Lim Jin Min Jimmy.
Abstract – Our project studies the existence of relationships between size and gender of Mud-Crabs with their learning ability towards repeated stimuli that did not follow by a reward or punishment. We hypothesize that: Larger crabs learn and adapt faster than smaller ones; Male crabs learn faster than female crabs. We observed the aggression Mud-Crabs display towards the stimuli, their posture, and duration taken for them to cool down. Results showed the existence of learning in the form of habituation. No apparent relationship was observed between size and speed of habituation, however males were observed to learn faster than female mud crabs.

“Body Talk: A comparison in grooming regions between non-captive and captive Long-tailed Macaques”, by Group 49: Ching Yi Wen Agnes, Lau Siew Peng Joyce, Luo Dongyi Benedict, Lee Hourong Jeremy.
Abstract – Grooming is an integral part of every monkey’s daily routine, and the long-tailed macaque (macaca fascicularis) is no exception. We observed the regions of the body groomed by the macaques, situated in MacRitchie Reservoir, and proceeded to compare our results with that of a research paper from the International Journal of Primatology (1991). Focusing specifically on gender, we separated our observations into four “groomer-groomee” dyads – female-female, female-male, male-female and male-male. We concluded that the bodily regions groomed by captive and non-captive long-tailed macaques differed, mainly because the captive macaques studied in the research paper had no real predatory threat.