May 21, 2007

Tuas with Schering Plough (21 May 07)

It was time to monitor the Tuas seagrasses again, and our friends at Schering Plough were out to do the job despite the threatening weather.
After a briefing by experienced TeamSeagrassers Sheryl and Helen, the volunteers were off to do this small but grassy shore.
Sheryl led one team to do the patch near the sea wall,
While Helen led another to do the patch in the middle of the sandy shore. Today's monitoring was rather like Christmas "HO-HO-HO" all the way (Seagrass joke, you have to be a Seagrasser to get it, sorry).
Very soon, they were done with monitoring and we went to have a little look around before the tide came in. The fluffy 'Teddy Bear' crab or Hairy crab (Pilumnus sp.) is always a big hit; with its beady eyes and almost cuddly look. The Tiger moon snail (Natica tigrina) is quite common on this shore, but rarely seen elsewhere.The tide wasn't low enough for us to have a look at the reefs, but among the coral rubble were lots of colourful sponges. We also saw several big and healthy carpet anemones as well as lots of hermit crabs.
The Find of the Day for me was this huddle of determined Drills (Family Muricidae). They were firmly stuck to a clam, which must certainly be shivering in its valves. The Drills clung on tenaciously even though I turned the bunch slightly to show everyone what was going on. Drills can patiently and slowly drill a hole through the shells of snails and clams. I think the clam is doomed.
The undisturbed Tuas shore is also a great place for herons to fish. This pair was busy on the reefs near the Merawang beacon.

The staff at Schering Plough are not only involved in TeamSeagrass, but have also been diligently replanting the shore with mangroves! Helen showed me some of the replanted areas while we waited for the volunteers to arrive before the start of the seagrass monitoring.
Here's one large replanted patch, facing the second causeway in the distance.
Another patch among existing mangrove trees.
And yet another patch! Our seagrass monitoring area is behind in the background.

I also learnt that Shering Plough staff are also helping out with terrestrial reforestation.

Wow! I'm impressed!

Thank you to friends at Shering Plough for doing the seagrass monitoring today: Farhana, Jernice Lee, Rachel Lee, Oh Meng Hui. And of course, intrepid TeamSeagrassers Sheryl and Helen for organising their colleagues for this effort. Sheryl and Helen are full blooded TeamSeagrassers who also monitor our other shores.

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