TMSI - St John's Island 10th Anniversary Open Day

On 30th September, the usually quiet St John’s Island at the southern tip of Singapore was turned into a hive of excitement and festivities. The NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute’s (TMSI) marine laboratory on the island celebrated its 10th Anniversary with an Open Day for the families of its staff and research collaborators. More than 340 guests and 110 staff descended on the island via ferries.

During the Opening Ceremony, Professor Lui Pao Chuen, TMSI’s pioneer Chairman for the marine laboratory, shared the vision and history of the Institute on St John’s Island. TMSI’s Board Chairman Professor Lim Pin, accompanied by TMSI’s Board members and faculty collaborators, launched the celebrations,.

The St John’s Island marine laboratory was established in 2002 to provide marine aquaria and laboratories for marine science research. Supported by modern facilities and state-of-the-art flow-through seawater aquaria, some 50 staff and students carry out work on topics ranging from biodiversity conservation to marine engineering.

Two leading international marine biologists – Professor Michael G Hadfield from the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, Pacific Biomedical Research Centre of the University of Hawaii Manoa, and Professor Peter Steinberg, Director of the Sydney Institutes of Marine Science (SIMS) – delivered keynote lectures.

Prof Hadfield stressed that marine laboratories have always been and remain the major drivers for frontier research in marine science in the US, Japan and Europe. Noting the scarcity of modern marine coastal laboratories in Southeast Asia, he congratulated the Board of TMSI and NUS for their vision to build a modern marine facility in Singapore. Prof Steinberg concurred and emphasised the power and scientific value of housing natural seawater aquarium close to modern technological infrastructure in advancing marine science research, such as the SIMS marine laboratory.

A book Contributions to Marine Science was published to commemorate the 10th Anniversary. Written by young research staff and students, some of the articles were presented at seminars throughout the day. Electronic copies of the book's contents can be accessed at the bottom of this page.

The laboratories and aquaria drew the crowds, with staff and students presenting their research. Live marine creature displays, including giant clams, jellyfishes, anemones and sea stars, were the “animal stars” for guests and children. Educational interactive displays such as living plankton and larvae of marine invertebrates attracted external collaborators and grantors who were curious to see the organisms and tools in the projects they fund.

The celebrations ended late afternoon and some guests adjourned to the beach before boarding the last ferry home.

By NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute’s marine laboratory

(From left) Prof Lim, Prof Lui and TMSI Director Prof Peter Ng admiring the giant clams in the marine laboratory

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Contributions to Marine Science [Electronic Version]



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