World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum – Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016, 26-28 June 2016, Tianjin, China

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss not-for-profit foundation, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded by Professor Klaus Schwab in 1971, the foundation’s mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.

I participated in this year’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions (AMNC) 2016 as a Young Scientist. I also had the opportunity to co-chair an Innovator Hub session as a discussion leader for the topic of “Investing in Oceans”. My other discussion leader is the energetic and vibrant Angela Chen, from Impact Capitalyst. 🙂

World Economic Forum - Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, People's Republic of China 2016

Participants at the World Economic Forum – Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin People’s Republic of China 2016. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Jakob Polacsek

Thank you WEF for this kind invitation for myself and spouse! 😀 We truly enjoyed the discussions and activities organised. It provided me a perspective that gives me renewed energy to continue pursuing my research!

And thank you Agenda for the interview about myself and giant clams!

Q&A: What has the panda got that the giant clam hasn’t?

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China’s first success at giant clam breeding

Thank you Professor Yu Ziniu and Dr Zhang Yuehuan of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO) for sharing this wonderful news with me! Their research team has recently successfully cultured their first batch of fluted giant clams, and will be publishing their results soon. Not only that, they are now the first group to have successfully done so in China. Congratulations!


Press release about the local workshop on giant clam breeding techniques.

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ICRS 2016 – International Coral Reef Symposium

Aloha everyone! It’s happening once again – The 13th International Coral Reef Symposium is ongoing at tropical Honolulu, Hawaii!

The ICRS is sanctioned by the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) and held every four years. It is the primary international meeting focused on coral reef science and management. The Symposium will bring together an anticipated 2,500 coral reef scientists, policy makers and managers from 70 different nations in a forum to present the latest research findings, case histories and management activities, and to discuss the application of scientific knowledge to achieving coral reef sustainability.

Taken from ICRS dedicated website

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Field work – Dongsha Atoll Research Station (19 May to 7 June 2016)

Thanks to Professor Keryea Soong and Professor Li-Lian Liu (National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan), the Dongsha Atoll Research Award, and the National Marine Park for supporting our field research on Dongsha Atoll! Also, thanks to L’Oréal Singapore For Women in Science National Fellowship for supporting my research!


Left: Dongsha Atoll National Park. Right: Monument citing “Island far, heart is close”.

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Why did the giant clam cross the road?

Wait a minute – Giant clams walk?!

It is surprising for most people to imagine how giant clams could ‘walk’ around on the reef. When you see a giant clam on coral reefs, you would think that such a large animal like this cannot move very fast on its own. In fact, most people have usually described the adult giant clams as sedentary (or sessile) for the rest of its life!


Mama Jong Clam has remained in her same spot for the last 10 years of monitoring. Photos by Neo ML.

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“Can giant clams see us?”

Visitors often find themselves enthralled by our juvenile giant clams in tanks. As they swipe their hands over a tank, they noticed that the clams will rapidly retract their mantles and shut their shells. A few moments later, they slowly reveal their mantles again.

“How does that happen?”

Clam drawing

Our simple answer is “They can see you!”.

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Eaten by a giant clam

Eaten by a giant clam” by Joseph Cummins neatly sums up my adventurous self in the pursuit of marine biology. More often than not, I pounced into the depths of the oceans seeking answers to satisfy my curiosity, and only to find even more questions that lead on to an endless adventure. Like the many other naturalists before me, they share many interesting stories about their adventures with science. Of course, a few very intriguing ones with the giant clams… 😉

The Giant Clam has been a fascinating species for decades but did you know that culturally in the early 1920s-1940s, they have been frequently portrayed as the evil man-eaters! Due to its immense body size and weight, people historically misunderstood them and thus assume that they had the ability to kill men. The US Navy Diving Manual was said to give detailed instructions on how to release oneself from the grasp of the clam by severing the adductor muscle that holds the clam shells together. In some accounts, they even mentioned drowning of a pearl diver when the Tridacna shell clamped on his arm!

Juvenile fluted giant clam

“Am I a man-eater? Nom nom nom!”

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Science – Shell trade pushes giant clams to the brink

In the most recent volume of the Science magazine (Vol. 351, Issue 6271), Christina Larson (Science correspondent in Beijing) provided insights on the current extensive shell trade in Tanmen, Hainan Island, China. This article is closely linked back to the overfishing of giant clam shells by Chinese fishermen in the South China Sea (BBC News, 15 Dec 2015). A big thank you to Christina for putting this story together! 🙂 We hope that it will highlight the severity of over exploitation of giant clams, and the damage to the surrounding reefs. Here’s a print screen version of the article:

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