Jan 10, 2009

Chek Jawa (10 Jan 09)

Our first monitoring session for 2009! And a small team head off for Chek Jawa on a breezy day.Thanks to the team leaders getting things together, and everyone being punctual, we had a smooth journey to Chek Jawa.

There was much 'discussion', which started days before the trip, about who should go to the far shore! It finally got amicably settled. I joined the team going for the long trek to the Northern sand bar. The high shores are covered in a green carpet of Sea lettuce seaweeds (Ulva sp.) today!It was really windy, but it made for a pleasant cool day.And the work got done very quickly.Most of Chek Jawa is covered with the pretty Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) and short slim Needle seagrasses (Halodule sp.). In her transect, Chay Hoon found a really tiny sea anemone attached to a blade of Spoon seagrass! Here's her photo of this wee little nem.
I made a quick round of the Northern sand bar, specifically to see how the special Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) was doing. There were only a few patches of these tiny but tough seagrasses. Shufen checked the patch nearer the boardwalk and they too were being overgrown by the more abundant Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis). Does the small Beccari's seagrass do better when there is an influx of freshwater? Hmm...there's still a lot we need to find out about our seagrasses.It was nice to see the patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) doing well. And one of the transects even had readings of this seagrass which is not very common on Chek Jawa.

Elsewhere, the Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) patch near the boardwalk seems to have spread out to cover a larger area.

Shufen and Siti also found flowering Spoon seagrasses. Here's Kok Sheng's photo of the flower!

But what was most delightful was the luxuriant and broad expanses of the beautiful Fern seagrasses (Halophila spinulosa). Siti and the other volunteers tried out their underwater cameras to take photos of this beautiful seagrass.Here's Siti's effort with my little Olympus camera. Thanks to Sijie and Siti, I know realise there is a special setting on this camera for underwater shots! Yay!
These lovely seagrasses were found all around the seaward edge of the shore right up to the boardwalk! And the meadows were dotted with Carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) and other animals.

We found various creatures, but the most amazing was Kok Sheng's find of a special sea star!As usual, this prompted a huddle of papparazi.But Shufen and Siti are more alert to sneakier photographers who are photographing the photographers.

Thanks to all who came for the monitoring session: Alex, Andy, Joe, Kok Sheng, Marcus Ng, Marcus Tay, Mei Lin, Jiang Han, Steve, Chay Hoon, Nor Aishah, Sijie, Yikang, Zhichun and Kevin. Special thanks to Kok Sheng, Chay Hoon, Sijie and Nor Aishah for being team leads and to Andy and Marcus Tay for taking charge of the equipment.

Read more about our encounters and adventures on these other blog posts.

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