Marine Biology & Ecology

Southeast Asia’s tropical marine habitats contain the richest flora and fauna on the Earth. These living resources have value to humans as sources of food, materials and products such as bioactive compounds used in medicines, nutrichemicals and agriculture. Vibrant coastal environments also provide opportunities for recreation. Through our monitoring, survey and research programs, the MBEL seeks to understand how the distribution and abundance of living organisms are affected by the environment and detect presence of threats to our natural heritage, such as pollution, disease, invasions by non-native organisms, and climate change. Marine ecosystems are delicately balanced and subject to stresses, both natural and human-induced. Our researchers carry out research to inform and enable environmental managers to devise strategies to conserve biodiversity and sustainable development of our coastal resources.



The marine sponge, Oceanapia sagittaria


Egg capsule of Thais clavigera

The focus of the Marine Biology and Ecology Research Lab is to conduct research to raise the understanding of the marine organisms and ecosystems in tropical Southeast Asian seas. Leveraging on Singapore’s strengths, the research team focuses on development of capabilities and expertise to tackle the unique environmental issues in Asia. This knowledge is needed to enable effective conservation and sustainable development of the rich marine natural resources in our region.



Some areas covered are:

Marine Biodiversity

Environmental Monitoring and Dynamics

Marine Biofouling and Antifouling

Marine Biosecurity


Research Article Highlight:

Heavy issue: Biodiversity of fouling organisms

::Research Collaborations

MBEL maintains effective collaborations with partners from other research agencies, government institutions and industry, both locally and international. These partnerships produce knowledge-based solutions that address real world issues, enabling the advancement of marine science.
Our local partners include the Raffles Museum for Biodiversity Research (NUS), A* Institute for Chemical Engineering and Sciences (A*ICES), the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE), and the Centre for Imaging, Remote Sensing and Processing (NUS).
Our research group works closely with several government linked agencies including the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, Surbana Corporation, the Housing Development Board, the Public Utilities Board, National Environment Agency and the NParks Board.
International collaborators include the British Antarctic Survey, the US Office for Naval Research Coatings Program and WL/Delft.

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