Apr 22, 2007

Chek Jawa (22 Apr 07)

TeamSeagrass was back on the shore for an early tide.
We gathered at Changi Jetty as dawn broke, and headed sleepily out to Pulau Ubin.

Shortly, we are all ready to monitor. This after Shufen explains the New and Improved Field boxes for keeping track of equipment.

While the busy Seagrassers head off to the seagrass lagoon to monitor, I decide to check out the coral rubble area to see how things are since the mass deaths at Chek Jawa we encountered earlier in the year.

The seagrasses were certainly doing very well in the area. With lots of healthy Fern seagrasses (Halophila spinulosa) complete with all their little fronds. As well as thickets of other seagrasses like Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) and Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.).
(Siti's note: The seagrasses on the seaward side were HUGE and were growing thick and lush. Shufen and myself finally understood the reason behind Halophila ovalis's common name - the Spoon Seagrass- because the ones we found that day were literally like SPOONS, as big as our thumbs! There's certainly lots of food at Chek Jawa for hungry migrating dugongs passing through Singapore)

The carpet anemones were also doing much better. They were large and relaxed and many in the usual brilliant colours. Many crabs were out and about. Large swimming crabs in all colours and lots of hairy crabs too.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much else there. All sponges and encrusting animals have yet to recover. And with them the colourful flatworms and nudibranchs we usually encounter. There were few snails and only dead fanshells (Pinna sp.).

It got hot, I got slack and so I decided to check out the coastal forest that rings Chek Jawa.
The beautiful Delek air trees (Memecylon edule) were blooming! With clusters of bright bluish flowers. These trees are now rare because the coastal habitat where they grow have been lost.

Equally rare is the Nyatoh tree (Pouteria linggensis). It was blooming and fruiting! The only other specimens of these trees are found on Lazarus island.

I made a quick foray into the mangroves as well.
The amazing Nyireh bunga (Xylocarpus granatum) has large cannon-ball shaped fruits. The flowers are tiny!

Chek Jawa is amazing because it has so many different ecosystems in one location. The boardwalk construction seems almost complete. And soon, everyone can enjoy these beautiful ecosystems.

I met up with the Seagrassers at the end of the tide. They saw filefishes, a large flatfish, and Budak and Helen had a strange encounter with a transparent sea cucumber. Dickson shares more about the Team's encounters on his blue heaven blog. And Jenn Chye, who has just joined the Team, shares on his solonavi blog.

Thank you to team members who came for the monitoring! Chay Hoon, Ley Kun, Lyn, May Yee, Jenn Chye, Faizah, Dickson, Sijie, Andy, Marcus, Nor Aishah and Gaytri. And Wilson for being such a gentleman as always.

TeamSeagrass had a very busy weekend with FOUR monitoring sessions. Besides the one at Sentosa, Cyrene and Chek Jawa, the RGS girls also did Labrador on Sunday. The Sentosa and Labrador monitoring was to make up for the non-compliant tides at the earlier scheduled dates. Cyrene has just been added to the monitoring schedule.

There's lots to do, and lots to see!
Come join us for the upcoming monitoring sessions!

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