We had a large group of newbies and some old-bees who had forgotten how to monitor; so we decided today will be a teaching session, where we take it slow and emphasize the finer points of monitoring. After we sorted the old-bees, newbies and stalwarts into groups (this always takes waaay too much time, maybe we need a TeamSeagrass sorting hat?), I did the briefing and we headed out to shore to do the seagrass ID session.
|Siti giving the briefing.|
|A quick seagrass ID session and we are off! :)|
The inter-tidal elves have been up to mischief because this is the second day that we've found the stakes marking our transect start points missing. At CJ1, only one stake was left standing and from what I hear, there was some trouble locating CJ2 as well. In situations like this, we are relieved to have our trusty GPS to tell us where our sites are. After a quick introduction on how to set up the site (transect lines 2 and 3 were missing from CJ1), we started the monitoring.
I had Loius and Erine in my group, both of whom were relatively new, but enthusiastic and responsive, which is great. It always sucks when you ask a question only to be met with silence; although if I had been given a dollar every time it happens, I think I'd be pretty rich. I did the first 4 or 5 quadrats with Erine and Louis, making sure to emphasize the importance of checking their estimates against the percent cover standards sheets, how to include only seagrasses that have their "footprint" in the quadrat to prevent overestimation, and how to estimate relative species composition. I also taught them how to use the epiphyte cover matrix, which really helps take the guesswork and brain sprain out of estimating epiphyte cover.
|Using the Epi-Matrix to estimate epiphyte cover on seagrass leaves. Its much easier and more accurate to use this matrix because its a standard that's being used across all seagrass monitoring sites.|
|Erine and Louis monitoring seagrass like pros :)|
|Rachel with new volunteers Christine and Wan Yi at CJ site 1 transect 1.|
|Nor Aishah with Jocelyn (another one!) and Ivan at CJ1T2.|
|Blackened Halophila ovalis (spoon seagrass) likely from overexposure to sunlight coupled with drying out from being exposed during an afternoon low tide.|
|More examples of stress - seagrasses looking bleached. Direct exposure to sunlight at low tide can cause stress to the plant and chlorophyll to break down.|
|We activated Ivan and he went into guide mode, telling the newer volunteers about the fun critters we saw :)|
|Dugong feeding trail? Or was Pei Yan feeling peckish? ;)|
For more on yesterday's monitoring, check out Mei Lin's blog