My Research

I am with the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where I obtained both my Honours degree with a project compiling the total vascular plant flora of Singapore, and my PhD with a thesis on the effects of greenery on urban biodiversity. I am currently on an NUS Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship and will be based at the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, University of Queensland.

My research interests are in vegetation ecology, invasion ecology, and urban ecology. Currently, I am working on optimal planning of urban greenery and green spaces to maximise their value for both biodiversity and humans. My previous postdoctoral stint was on an interdisciplinary project to model vegetation-hydrology relationships in a catchment containing Singapore’s last substantial tract of intact freshwater swamp forest: the Nee Soon swamp forest. In 2011, together with Alex Yee and later funded by the Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund, we set up long-term plots to monitor the recovery trajectory of secondary forests after an unusually powerful windstorm resulted in extensive tree falls in the Mandai Road area of the Central Catchment Nature Reserves of Singapore. I also contribute to a number of biodversity surveys that have informed urban biodiversity protection and enhancement in Singapore, such as of the former Keratapi Tanah Melayu railway line, Coney Island, and the Ulu Pandan, Tampines, Serangoon, and Punggol waterways, etc.

I enjoy looking at data and designing studies. I am most proud of the work that I have accomplished in partnership with the students that I mentor/supervise; much of my time and effort goes into making them worthy of making it through scientific peer-review (see my track record).

I am also keen on contributing to the development of the standard of scientific research in Southeast Asia, a diverse and unique region where an understanding of local cultural sensitivities and socio-political realities is key for applied research to make a real impact.

Other Profiles: Google ScholarResearchGate, Publons, ORCID, ResearcherID

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Urban Ecology

Chong, K.Y., S. Teo, B. Kurukulasuriya, Y.F. Chung, S. Rajathurai & H.T.W. Tan. 2014. Not all green is as good: different effects of the spontaneous and cultivated components of urban vegetation on bird and butterfly diversity. Biological Conservation 171: 299–309. [website] [PDF]

Chong, K.Y., S. Teo, B. Kurukulasuriya, Y.F. Chung, S. Rajathurai, H.C. Lim, H.T.W. Tan. 2012. Decadal changes in urban bird abundance in Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 25: 189-196. [website/PDF] [corrigendum]

Invasion Ecology

Chong, K.Y., M.B. Raphael, L.R. Carrasco, A.T.K. Yee, X. Giam, V.B. Yap & H.T.W. Tan. 2017. Reconstructing the invasion history of a spreading, non-native, tropical tree through a snapshot of current distribution, sizes, and growth rates. Plant Ecology 218: 673–685. [website] [PDF]

Chong, K.Y., R.T. Corlett, D.C.J. Yeo & H.T.W. Tan. 2011. Towards a global database of weed risk assessments: a test of transferability for the tropics. Biological Invasions 13: 1571–1577. [PDF]

Singapore Floristics & Vegetation

Towards a field guide to the trees of the Nee Soon catchment. Nature in Singapore. I: Lauraceae (led by Chong, K.Y.; 9:1–28), II: Cratoxylum (led by Neo, L.; 9:29–39), III: Myristicaceae (led by R.C.J. Lim; 9:63–138), IV: Xanthophyllum (led by S.Y. Tan; 9:139–147); with J.W. Loh, W.W. Seah, et al. 2016–.

Yee, A.T.K., K.Y. Chong, L. Neo & H.T.W. Tan. 2016. Updating the classification system for the secondary forests of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 32: 11–21.  [website/PDF]

Yeo, C.K., X.Y. Ng, W.Q. Ng, K.Y. Chong, W.F. Ang & Ali bin Ibrahim. 2012. Ficus stricta (Miq.) Miq.: a new record in Singapore. Nature in Singapore 5: 351–358.

Chong, K.Y., S.M.L. Lee, A.T. Gwee, P.K.F. Leong, Samsuri Ahmad, W.F. Ang, A.F.S.L. Lok, C.K. Yeo, R.T. Corlett, & H.T.W. Tan. 2012. Herbarium records do not predict rediscovery of locally presumed-extinct species. Biodiversity and Conservation 21: 2589-2599. [PDF]
(See also: Lok et al. 2011. Rediscovery in Singapore of Coelogyne rochussenii De Vriese (Orchidaceae). Nature in Singapore 4: 49–53; Lok et al. 2010. Rediscovery of Liparis barbata Lindl. (Orchidaceae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore 3: 277–281.)

Chong, K.Y., H.T.W. Tan, & R.T. Corlett. 2011. A summary of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 63: 197-204. [PDF]
(See also: Chong, K.Y., H.T.W. Tan, & Richard T. Corlett. 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.)

Teo, S., R.K.H. Yeo, K.Y. Chong, Y.F. Chung, L. Neo, & Hugh T.W. Tan. 2011. The flora of Pulau Semakau: a Project Semakau checklist. Nature in Singapore 4: 263–272.

Development & Conservation

Chong, K.Y., & X. Giam. Cross-Island Line issue highlights need for more debate on environmental decisions. TODAY commentary. 4 Mar 2016. [website]

Jain, A., K.Y. Chong, M.A.H. Chua & G.R. Clements. 2014. Moving away from paper corridors in Southeast Asia. Conservation Biology 28: 889–891. [website]

Chong, K.Y., M.A.H. Chua, M.L. Neo, D.J.J. Ng, Siti M. Yaakub, T.C. Toh, A.K.S. Wee & D.L. Yong. 2014. Impacts of development on biodiversity in Singapore. In: J. Appleton (ed.) Values in Sustainable Development. Routledge. Pp. 286–298.

Giam, X., G.R. Clements, Sheema A. Aziz, K.Y. Chong & J. Miettinen. 2011. Rethinking the back to wilderness concept for Sundaland’s forests. Biological Conservation 144: 3149-3152. [PDF]

Chong, K.Y. Saving endangered species in Singapore: Let’s walk the talk. Straits Times Forum. 6th January 2011. [website]

Chong, K.Y. Face up to the green fact. Straits Times Forum Online. 24th May 2010. [website]

Religion & Conservation

Lee, J., A.G. Gosler, D. Vyas, J. Schaefer, K.Y. Chong, P. Kahumbu, S.M. Awoyemi & T. Baugh. 2013. Statement of the Society for Conservation Biology on the Use of Ivory for Religious Objects as Developed by the Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative of the Society’s Working Group on Religion and Conservation Biology.

Awoyemi, S.M., A.G. Gosler, I. Ho, J. Schaefer & K.Y. Chong. 2012. Mobilizing religion and conservation in Asia. Science 338: 1537–1538.

Chong, K.Y. 2012. Religiously protecting Myanmar’s environment. Science 337: 1604–1605.

Awoyemi, S.M., J. Schaefer, A. Gosler, T. Baugh, K.Y. Chong, E. Landen. 2012. Society for Conservation Biology (SCB)’s Position on the Religious Practice of Releasing Captive Wildlife for Merit. Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative (RCRC) of the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group (RCBWG). [Version 1 | Version 2]

Chong, K.Y.Animal release: science, compassion and religion. Today Voices. 21st May 2011.

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