Jun 10, 2009

Sentosa (10 Jun 09)

At the crack of dawn, TeamSeagrass is out on Sentosa to monitor the seagrasses there. We have lots of first timers today. Fortunately, Sentosa is less difficult to monitor and also, there were regulars to help introduce the methods to the new team members.
After a quick briefing by Wei Ling and Siti, the Team is off to do the random sampling method (because the shore is narrow). This means no laying out of the tape and thus it's much faster to do.
This last stretch of natural shores on Sentosa has lots of long Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides), which I again tried to take underwater photos of.
And carpets of little Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis).
These two kinds of seagrasses are easy to tell apart so Sentosa is not too difficult to monitor. Although the bewildering variety of seaweeds sometimes can be confusing.

Joining us today also is the Water Quality team from Singapore Poly.
Among the seagrasses, I came across a humungous crab! It must have had a body width of 15cm.
It looks like a Mud crab (Scylla sp.). Here's a closer look at it with my little underwater camera.
Other crabs include this vividly patterned Mosaic reef crab (Lophozozymus pictor).It is the most poisonous crab of Singapore! There are several documented deaths caused by eating this crab. Cooking does not destroy the toxins. Despite this natural protection, the crab is listed as 'Endangered' on our Red List due to habitat loss. So it's important to preserve shores like Sentosa so that these intriguing animals can continue to thrive.

After the monitoring, the Team headed off to explore the living reefs on this shore.
Meanwhile, as some of us rested on the high shore, some monkeys clambered down the forest that cloaked the natural cliffs.
Quickly, Siti rescues a bag left behind on the shore before the monkeys could raid it.
(The monkey is sitting on the fallen tree at the upper right corner of the photo).

After some amusing encounters with us, and a monitor lizard, the monkeys scampered off into the water for a swim!
Ivan took a video of the entire event!
Wow, this is my first time seeing this behaviour. Of course, I should not have been surprised. These Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are also called Crab-eating macaques. These animals are native to Singapore and their original habitat was mangroves!

More about the monkey encounter on the wild shores of singapore blog and Vanitha's peripheral vision with video clips of the monkeys and other wildlife encounters at Sentosa.

On the Team today were: Vanitha, Lee Qi, Yen-ling, Jason, Richard, Ivan, Siti, Wei Ling, Collin and Ria.

More about Sentosa's natural shores and the latest blog entries about Sentosa.

1 comment:

Vanitha said...

i had a great time and experience.

uploaded a video of the monkeys is in youtube.

thanks for the experience!