Apr 15, 2009

Special seagrass on Pulau Sekudu: Halophila decipiens

I saw this odd seagrass with 'pointy' leaves on Pulau Sekudu in May 07.
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)?
Len McKenzie, Principal Scientist and Seagrass-Watch Program Leader of Seagrass-Watch HQ has just informed that this is Halophila decipiens! (Though we still need to get a herbarium specimen for final confirmation.)

Halophila decipiens is the latest of our seagrass species to be added to the long list of seagrasses on our shores! It was first confirmed in 2008 from specimens collected off Pulau Semakau at a depth of 8m. It has since been sighted at other locations in waters off the Southern islands.

Len remarked that "the abundance of Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa) at Chek Jawa would suggest a habitat also suitable from Halophila decipiens."

He adds that finding Halophila decipiens at the edge of the shallows is uncommon. He shares that he has only seen this situation a couple of times before, on the east Coast of Queensland. Both environments he observed were very turbid waters and it was exposing on a very low tide.

This means that TeamSeagrass will have to look more closely at those Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) when we monitor!

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