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Master of Science (Life Sciences)

Specialisation: Zoological Sciences

  • Return to the Master of Science in Life Sciences page for an overview of the programme.

    Course Code Name
    Core Course
    MLS900
    Science Communication
    Required Courses
    MLS982
    Comparative Functional Anatomy
    MLS983
    Advances in Animal Ecology
    MLS984
    Molecular and Physiological Responses to Environmental Stress
    Specialisation Elective Courses
    (Select 2 for those on the dissertation route; 3 for those on the complete coursework route)
    MLS905
    Seminars and Practice on Functional Genomics
    MLS962 Environmental Health and Toxicology
    MLS965
    Evolution and Phylogeny
    MLS985 Chemical Ecology
    MLS986 Sensory Zoology
    MLS987 Contemporary Topics in Zoological Sciences
    Plus either:
    - Dissertation (6AU); or
    MLS981 Critical Inquiry (Zoological Sciences) (2AU)
  • MLS900 Science Communication

    It is important for Science to be communicated effectively across all levels, given its large impact on society and vice versa.  All science professionals, whether they are in education, research or industry, will need to engage different audiences in science communication at various points in their career.  This course aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to evaluate scientific information and to communicate it effectively to both expert and lay audiences.  The following broad topics will be covered: mutual roles and influence of Science and society, principles of effective science communication, evaluating the quality of scientific evidence, and current science-related issues affecting society.  Opportunities for practice in science communication will be provided.

  • MLS981 Critical Inquiry (Zoological Sciences)

    This is a compulsory lab-based course offered to participants in the Zoological Science Specialisation who are enrolled in the Critical Inquiry route.  Participants will acquire experimental skills/techniques which are specific to the Zoological Sciences specialization.  Participants will be able to enhance their psychomotor skills in molecular and biochemical techniques like polymerase chain reaction (PCR), molecular cloning, real-time PCR, gel Electrophoresis, western blotting, protein purification, high performance liquid chromatography, spectrophotometry, enzyme assays and metabolite analysis. They will learn higher order thinking skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and application of knowledge through the use of the science inquiry approach to solve scientifically oriented questions or problems. 


    MLS982 Comparative Functional Anatomy

    Animals adapt to their environments via a variety of anatomical modifications and behavioural strategies.  Taking a comparative approach, this course focuses on the developmental morphology and functional characteristics of vertebrates and invertebrate  at the organismic level.  The study of this subject in contemporary zoology is vast; consequently, selected themes and taxa, their phylogeny, and systems will form the topics of study. Topics include adaptations for feeding, locomotion, and reproduction in the different taxonomic groups and environments.


    MLS983 Advances in Animal Ecology

    Besides introducing the various concepts in animal ecology, this course focuses on the complexity and interplay of animal ecology at the different levels of biological organisation (e.g., individual ↔ populations ↔ communities).  In today’s highly altered environments, knowledge about animal ecology has immense value in real-world applications to ensure a sustainable Earth for future generations.  Singaporean issues are central, but are set in a global context (e.g., Eco-Link@BKE, Cross-Island Line).  Topics include population growth models, competition, niche partitioning, trophic interactions, succession, and island biogeography.


    MLS984 Molecular & Physiological Responses to Environmental Stress

    Environmental stress can be caused by both abiotic (physical and chemical) and biotic (effects of other organisms) factors. How animals sense and respond to environmental stress have fascinated scientists.  Due to anthropogenic-driven environmental changes like depletion of the ozone layer, increasing UV radiation, global climate change, ocean acidification, and increasing pollutants, determining the ability of animals to sense and respond to different environmental stress becomes increasingly important.  This course will cover the molecular and physiological strategies or mechanisms used by different organisms to cope with environmental stress like hypoxia, UV radiation, oxidative stress, high temperature, freezing temperature, salinity stress, and high pressure in both the terrestrial and aquatic environments. 

  • MLS905 Seminars and Practice on Functional Genomics 

    A core of biology is the central dogma governing the gene expression from DNA blueprint to functional protein to exert various biological function. The classic genetics studies from genotype to phenotype. With fast moving development of technology in the "-omics" era, the study of gene function has leaped forward to genome wide scale. Genome sequences continue to be completed on a regular basis, and numerous bioinformatics, genomic and proteomic tools rapidly reveal a large body of information contained in these genomes. This elective course combines lectures and laboratory sessions to cover topic and skills in functional genomic.


    MLS962 Environmental Health and Toxicology

    The study of the effect of pollution on natural ecosystems by examining biological responses at all organismal levels (molecular to whole organism) using biomarkers is an increasingly popular tool for managing environmental health by various governmental bodies. MSc (LS) Environmental Science candidates who take this course will have an opportunity to run laboratory experiments using known pollutants.  Field sampling will be conducted to examine possible correlations with environmental contamination, allowing candidates to experience a direct application of ecotoxicology techniques as an environmental management tool.  This experimental extension allows for a more rigorous assessment of a research-based course.


    MLS965 Evolution and Phylogeny 

    While Physics and Chemistry have many fundamental laws that most science students are well acquainted with, Biology is fascinating in that there is a unity of all life, with the incredible diversity of living things and their innumerable adaptations for survival and reproduction. What made this shared ancestry and diversification possible? We will explore the process of evolution and the patterns of relationship among living things that follow from it. In addition, we will see how an evolutionary approach can help us better understand the interaction between organisms and their environment, as well as how an understanding of evolution and phylogeny can assist in the conservation and management of habitats and endangered species. Research themes and methods that are currently being actively pursued in the field will be highlighted.


    MLS985 Chemical Ecology

    This course on Chemical Ecology explores the role and function of chemistry in mediating interactions among a variety of organisms, including intraspecific and interspecific interactions.  The course will cover the range of compound classes involved in chemical ecology.  In addition, we will discuss the diversity of species interactions and chemical compounds in terrestrial and aquatic systems, and methods (e.g. analytical and molecular techniques) used to detect these compounds.  We will cover defensive and offensive chemistry mediating antagonistic interactions; the evolution of defenses; chemicals mediating mutualisms, competition, and sociality; the physiology of chemical production and recognition; and how chemical ecology affects humans.  The biotechnological applications of chemical ecology will also be discussed.  This course will include paper discussions of relevant recent literature.


    MLS986 Sensory Zoology

    Sensory physiology, animal behaviour, and animal ecology have traditionally been studied in isolation; sensory zoology or ecology is the synthesis of these sub-disciplines to link animal perceptual abilities to the observed ecological interactions.  This course focuses on linking the internal and external ecologies of animals, and provides relevant knowledge on this emerging field of study.  Topics include physical properties of the various environments, photoreception, mechanoreception, electroreception, as well as applied aspects of this field in ecology and conservation.


    MLS987 Contemporary Topics in Zoological Sciences

    This seminar course focuses on current research areas, topics and reviews of literature in zoological sciences.  As graduate students are expected and encouraged to read current zoological science research literature critically and widely, each time this course is conducted, a recently published edited book in relevant zoological science themes will be selected by the instructors to be used as the course resource.  Seminar resource material (i.e., the edited book) will be selected on a thematic or disciplinary basis, rather than on a taxon-specific basis.  Each student is required to read, synthesise, critique and make a class presentation on an assigned chapter of the book.  In addition, the students are expected to read the entire book so that they can engage each presenter in fruitful discussions during the seminar presentations.  Through this method of individual in depth research on one topic plus the discourse with course mates on related topics, the learning is self-directed as well as collaborative in nature.