May 13, 2009

Seagrass Watch at Labrador

Len and Rudi are back from Bali! They stopped over for a while and Siti kidnapped Len to show him Labrador. Unfortunately, Rudi wasn't feeling too well this morning. We hope he's feeling better now.
Also with us today was Cheng Puay aka Mr Lim who has been valiantly leading his young ladies from RGS in monitoring and learning about this special mainland seagrass meadow. And Ben joined us later.

Labrador has our only large meadows of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) on the mainland. In the photo above, Len, Cheng Puay and Siti are standing in the middle of the meadow of this seagrass. There is also a smaller patch further along the shore.Len says our Sickle seagrasses are looking good and in fact have more blades that usual. Wow! That's good to know!
Various animals are found growing in the meadows, such as these colonial anemones or zoanthids.
And this encrusting blue sponge that has flat spatula-like flaps.
We also take a look at some of the other species of seagrasses on this shore. Like the very long Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides).
Len points out how Tape seagrass sometimes grows in a circle like the one above. He's not sure why they do this. He also tells us that the male flowers only 'bloom', i.e. the bracts release the tiny male flowers, when the water level is low enough that the temperate is just right.
There's also lots of Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) on the higher shores, here in the foreground of the above photo.They are mostly doing quite nicely, with fresh green leaves.
But I came across some that look like this. Len says this is probably because they were heat stressed, which causes them to lose their chlorophyll and thus to eventually die. Oh dear.
There's also lots of seaweeds on the shores today. Len also takes a closer look at them. And we discuss the difference between these two seaweeds that are naughty and sometimes make us think they are seagrasses. Siti will be very quick to scold and tell us they are NOT grass!

These two kinds of seaweeds are often confused for one another:
On the left is Caulerpa taxifolia, while on the right is Caulerpa sertularioides. They are quite easily distinguished if you can look at both at the same time.
Caulerpa taxifolia has a very flat central 'stem' and flat 'branches'. The branch narrows where it joins the central stem creating a tiny gap. While Caulerpa sertularioides has a cylindrical central 'stem' and cylindrical 'branches'.

But both are NOT seagrasses!!

Len also shared some ideas for monitoring Labrador with Mr Lim taking lots of notes.
We are looking forward to more exciting happenings in monitoring of Labrador, involving light and temperature loggers and other cool gadgets. You can read all about their adventures on their Labrador blog.

Thank you Len once again for being so patient and sharing so much for our shores!

I came a little earlier to check up on the state of Labrador. More of what I saw on the wild shores of singapore blog.

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