Research Assistant (Alumna)

Email: joywongsy(AT)

Research Project

I am interested in community ecology, in particular using coral traits to examine the functioning of reef ecosystems in Singapore. Currently, my project involves quantifying the different aspects of biodiversity – species, functional and phylogenetic diversity – and then investigating the relationships between them. This is pertinent as biodiversity conservation often focuses only on species diversity and overlooks other facets of biodiversity, despite their recognised importance. The outcome of my project would inform reef conservation decisions by (1) highlighting interesting or biodiverse reefs in Singapore, and (2) identifying the relevance of one biodiversity measure for predicting another in coral reef ecosystems. My work involves much subtidal fieldwork, where we survey the reefs using line intercept transects, and extensive data analysis, primarily using R.


I am a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) graduate specialising in Environmental Biology. My interest in marine biological research and conservation kicked off when I did a UROPS with the Reef Ecology Lab studying the behaviour of coral-eating snails. Working with live coral samples really got me fascinated in their biology. I also got to explore intertidal areas on field trips and experience first-hand the work of marine biologists at the TMSI Laboratory (since renamed St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory). Inspired by their work, I pursued a SCUBA diving licence and have been hooked since.