We arrived at the NEA jetty to see huge dark clouds draped over the shore where we will be monitoring. Oh dear. But we still go ahead.
some days earlier.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) and it's nice to see long blades of them. During our visit to Cyrene Reef the day before, much of the Tape seagrass there have broken off and are very short.
'Garlic bread' sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra) because it's about the same shape and size as a loaf of garlic bread, complete with dark bars that resembles slices on the loaf! It is listed as Vulnerable in Singapore.
The ecological role of Holothuria scabra (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) within subtropical seagrass beds by Svea-Mara Wolkenhauer et al. I'm ashamed to say I failed to do a post about this paper. Fortunately, on the awesome Echinoblog, Chris M had done a fabulous post about this study. The study found that seagrasses suffer without these sea cucumbers! Chri M puts it very well by saying:
So, what is it about sea cucumbers that makes sea grass beds THAT much more productive when cukes are around??It started to drizzle a bit while we were monitoring, even though the sun was out. So we enjoyed an awesome rainbow!
By ingesting all that sediment and sand and burying itself in the sediment, this kicks up all of the good organic food into the water and can knock loose food & nutrients that would be usable by the seagrass bed and other nearby plants and organisms.
Seagrass beds might also be taking advantage of sea cucumber "ammonium excretions" (which some humans would call "pee" but I would not) into the local ecosystem., thus feeding the surrounding plants and animals.
Siti led a team comprising Regi, Eva, Thorsten and Jerome to collect loggers (sorry I missed taking a photo of them at work). We were also joined by a team checking for invasive gobies at Pulau Semakau, led by Chun Keat and included Elsa, Rick, Magendran and Ariff. Fortunately, they didn't find any of these gobies at Semakau. What is an invasive species and why is it important to look out for them? More in this post.
Api-api jambu (Avicennia marina) of abandoned fishing nets and lines entwined on it. They also had a look at the Critically Endangered Pink-eyed pong pong tree (Cerbera manghas), there are several on Pulau Semakau!
Many thanks to NEA for giving us a super fast ride in on the super fast new van, and a much appreciated ride back out again.
Also thanks to Wei Ling who took care of our logistics arrangements even though she couldn't be with us. And Shufen for organising the boat transport!
Of course, we couldn't have done the monitoring without these team members on the trip: Marcus, Yen-ling, Vanitha, Andy, Kok Sheng, Nor Aishah, Joycelyne, Wen Xin, Sucan Sutanto, Mabel, Siti Nurbaya, Liu Ching, Karen and Wei Siang.
More photos and stories by these team members