Aug 23, 2009

Chek Jawa (23 Aug 09)

Today is our last monitoring trip at Chek Jawa for the year. And the last of the morning trips by the Team.
Despite the wet weather and early hours, a small team gathers just before sunrise to get the job done.

We are joined today by Lee Qi's crab team. She is doing a project about the crabs found in seagrasses and the team has strange cut-out buckets and lots of other gear!
Kok Sheng also did a quick follow-up survey in relation to his project on the mass death and recovery at Chek Jawa.

As we head out, the sky clears and we get a lovely pink dawn.
We put up the TeamSeagrass banner on the boardwalk to inform visitors about our work.
Before clambering down the ladder to the shore. Or in my case, barely squeezing past the narrow ladder bars. If I get any fatter, I won't be able to make it down anymore.As we are setting up the transects, there is a glorious sunrise show overhead.
Today we are very short handed. So I get to do a line on my own. Siti and Jocelyn helps me set up my line before they do theirs. And with their help, I got it straight (almost) at the first try! Wow. That's a first for me. And what glorious surroundings to do work in! Cool dewy morning, and pink skies.
This is my first time doing Site 1 and it's now full of Smooth ribbon seagrasses (Cymodocea rotundata). See how much of it fills my transect square! This seagrass is not widely distributed in Singapore and Chek Jawa is one of our few shores with extensive growths of it.
Under the longer seagrass grows the shorter Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis). In our site, we also got little bits of Fern seagrasses (Halophila spinulosa).
After we're done with the monitoring, I have a quick look around at the seagrasses. The Smooth ribbon seagrass is growing right up to the sandbar where public walks are conducted! That's great, so that visitors can take a closer look at this special seagrass.
On the other side of the sandbar facing the sea are wide areas full of more seagrasses!
But today I head inland to check out the mangroves that ring the upper shores of Chek Jawa. Past Richard and Yen-Ling who are still hard at work on their transect. Behind them is the Chek Jawa boardwalk and Jejawi viewing tower.
Along the way, I came across various Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) big and small. A smooth sea cucumber out of the ground, as well as a half buried Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra).
As I got closer to the mangroves, I saw a little Striated heron (Butorides striatus) hunting little fishes among the seagrassy pools left behind at low tide.
The ground got a little more silty as I got nearer the mangroves.
And here, I saw a Sand star (Astropecten sp.) and a mangrove sea anemone.
And a tiny sea anemone that turned out to be attached to a living snail!
Here's a view of the seagrass meadows from the mangroves.
Chek Jawa is one of the few shores left in Singapore where the mangroves and seagrass ecosystems are found next to one another as it is naturally meant to be. There is a delicate flow of nutrients between the ecosystems, and various marine life depend on these ecosystems.

All too soon, it was time to go home. We spent a fair bit of time waiting in mosquito-infested areas. While the rest of us were busy waving our arms to keep the pesky critters away, Richard shows us how to stay cool in such a situation.
The team today were:

Jocelyne, Yen-ling, Richard, Andy, Suizlyn, Vanitha, Suryati, Chay Hoon, Adelle, Kok Sheng, Siti and me. With the Singapore Poly Water Quality Team: Nuan Qin, Joycelyn, Suzanna; and Lee Qi's Team Aldrin and Kan Meng.

Other blog posts about this trip

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