May 1, 2009

Seagrass Watch workshop: Level 1 classroom session (1 May 09)

It's time to sit down with the Masters and learn all about Seagrasses!A very alert and attentive class settled for the Level 1 Seagrass Watch classroom session with Len McKenzie and Rudi Yoshida of Seagrass-Watch HQ.

Len shared lots of fascinating facts about seagrasses throughout the world and our region.
From the many different kinds that can be found. Wow! About 60 species worldwide! And our region has the highest number of species.Seagrasses are flowering plants and of course they have fruits! And some (as I learnt today) have a nut: which is a fruit with one seed.
He shared more about the tricky bits of seagrasses.
And how they came about from gazillions of years of evolution, from the sea and back again. To ensure we learnt all the points, there were quizzes in between. Some of the more 'experienced' people took advantage of the younger brains to get by their quizzes.Meanwhile, in the back of the room, Wei Ling and Shufen were setting up samples for the hands-on ID session. While Siti (of course) was furiously preparing her presentation.It was soon time to try our hand at seagrasss ID.Which requires taking a real close look.It helps to hold the seagrass blade up against the light if you want to count veins and look at other features.
Or if the seagrass is real tiny.Getting a friend to double check also helps.
The skyward homage with seagrass in hand is almost a standard ID position!Siti shows tiny features, with the naked eye.And with the awesome stereo microscope!

Len goes through loads of materials. Among his final points are that our processes undergo Quality Control.
This is why it is important for us to have a method, to understand what we have to do, do it properly and completely.
He also shared a little about Seagrass Watch.Siti also shared briefly about our seagrasses.Including just how rich our Eastern shores were before the reclamation. Seagrasses that are now only found in our offshore islands, were recorded for these Eastern shores in the past.She also shared about some of our findings. But we really need to do the monitoring over a longer period in order to get a better understanding of our seagrass meadows.There were lots of goodies given away. Wei Ling prepared a delicious and well appreciated dinner. Jeremy bought the working crew kopi and teh (which Len tasted for the first time). And everyone was helpful in being punctual so that we could cover the super-packed programme in good time.

We are deeply impressed by Len's knowledge and for sharing it with us, and doing so for hours and hours, immediately after a grueling field trip. Wow!

Thank you everyone!

Team members who attended the session were: Jerome, Hannah, Edwin, Yoke Xi , Chun Fong, Kah Ming, Sean, Suryati, Jinwen, Cheng Puay,Andy, Helen, Liu Jia, Adelle, Michell, Saurabh, Si Hui, Nor Aishah, Richard, Cornie, Jeremy, Sunshine, Jia Yan, Joo Yong, Hassan, Mohammad Rozaimi, Ben, Yuet Hsin, Anuj.

Tomorrow, we meet again on Chek Jawa for the Level 1 field session!

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