Lab Members

Principal Investigator

A/P John Stoskopf Ascherjohn ascher

Ph.D., Cornell University, NY, USA (2004)
Office: (65) 6779 2486

I am interested in the systematics and ecology of bees and other aculeate Hymenoptera, investigating their phylogenetics and biogeography, urban ecology, and plant-insect interactions, and integrating specimen and taxonomic databases with online biodiversity portals.

Masters Student

Chui Shao XiongChui Shao Xiong

B.Sc. (Hons), National University of Singapore (2015)

My interest is in pollinator-plant interactions, between generalist highly eusocial bees and the flowers they visit. I had documented 7 extant species of stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini) in Singapore for my FYP under John Ascher, and for my MSc I will be looking at their foraging preferences and interactions.

FYP (2015): A conservation assessment of stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini) in Singapore

Research Assistant

Benjamin Ho

B. ES. (Hons), National University of Singapore (2016)

My scientific interests are in the study of eusociality, especially among hymenopterans such as bees, wasps, and ants, and interdisciplinary approaches to conservation.

As an RA, I assist John Ascher in maintaining his databases, among other duties.

Previous RAs:

Gabriel Low
Chui Shao Xiong

Undergraduate Researchers


Amanda_photoAmanda Chang


To look at possible reasons for population decline and inbreeding in stingless bees to better help their conservation.

For my final year project, I am looking at the genetic diversity of stingless bees as well as the morphological and colour differences of Tetragonula laeviceps.

Angeline TeoVersion 2


For my FYP, I will be assessing the effect of ecological and management park variables on bee species richness and abundance in Singapore. Urban green spaces in Singapore are abundant but unequal in their ability to support bee communities which is the driving motivation behind this study. I hope to be able to draw useful implications from the study from looking at how ecological variables like park size and proximity of parks to forest patches as well as management variables like flower species richness and floral width and depth can affect the presence or absence of bee visitations.

Apart from being out in the field catching bees, I also catch and throw balls in the pool, representing the Singapore women’s water polo team.

Tan Yong GuangYong Guang photo


For my final year project, I’ll be looking at the island biogeography of bees and wasps. I’m looking at the correlation between species diversity to island size, distance from mainland Singapore, and maybe land use and floral resources.

Tan Zheng YangZheng Yang photo


I am studying the morphological diversity of stings in Singaporean bees and wasps including genera not sampled in previous studies, so that I could construct a phylogeny based on sting features.

Tee Yu XunYu Xun photo


DNA barcoding has proven to be a relatively cheap and efficient way to identify specimens. Currently, there is no DNA barcode database of the bees in Singapore. In this study, I seek to build a reference library for the 120+ species of bees in Singapore. Backed with morphological identification down to the species level, I aim to provide, locality information along with flora associations as far as possible to form a comprehensive list for the bees in Singapore.

I plan to collect fresh specimens of each species from all over Singapore (including offshore islands). As for the species that I fail to collect, I will utilise DNA extraction tools on dried samples from the Insect Diversity Lab.

At the end of this project, I hope to be able to construct a list with a high-resolution image, COI barcode, locality information as well as flora associations of each species of bee in Singapore in an effort to provide information for conservation planning in the future.

Gordon Yong


I am investigating the differences in ant diversity and community assemblages in the different secondary forest subtypes in Singapore.

Call me Ant-Man.

Previous FYPs

Joey Lai (2016): The impact of urbanisation on bee and wasp diversity & their interaction with floral communities

Chua Muishan (2016): Utility of green roofs for flower-visiting bee and wasp (Hymenoptera: Apocrita) species in Singapore

Christabel Ong (2016): The first checklist and conservation assessment of Singaporean wasps: habitat evaluation and integrative taxonomy (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae, Vespidae, and Crabronidae: Psenulus)

Fedeline Tjong (2016): Genomic exploration of native stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini) in Singapore

Ng Kia Yi (2015): Population genomics of cryptic carpenter bee species (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Xylocopa) in Singapore. Co-supervised by Dr. Rheindt.

Chua Si Hao (2015): Population genomics of Amegilla blue-banded bees and their Thyreus cloak-and-dagger bee cleptoparasites. Co-supervised by Dr. Rheindt.

Eunice Soh (2014): Diversity and trap-nesting studies of Singaporean Megachile bees to inform monitoring and management of tropical pollinators


Previous UROPs

Kristy ChangWhatsApp Image 2016-10-13 at 3.36.49 PM.jpeg


I am building the DNA barcode reference library for Southeast Asian bees, with emphasis on the small carpenter bee genus Ceratina, starting with Singaporean species. Barcode results were verified with respect to morphological characters, following the procedures of integrative taxonomy, and these data are used to inform evolutionary and ecological hypotheses for this group. The DNA barcodes can be further used to associate sexes, detect cryptic species, and assess population divergence.

Angela Chan (2016): Factors affecting pollinator species richness and composition on a university campus in tropical Southeast Asia

Ng Sue Lynn (2015): Plant-pollinator networks for restoration plantings on the National University of Singapore campus

Cheryl Leem (2015): Exploring a new world of bee and wasp diversity with next-gen sequencing. Co-supervised by Prof. Meier.

Jonathan Tan (2014): Testing assumptions of mark-recapture in population estimates of Xylocopa aestuans


Sophie Choi
John X. Q. Lee