Feb 28, 2010

Semakau (27 Feb 10)

It's time to monitor Pulau Semakau once again! Here's the team gathered to board our transport...
No, we didn't take the ornate junk. We went in our usual sturdy orange ferry for the long slow ride out.

At Semakau, we have quick briefing.

How nice to get a ride out with the friendly NEA staff! Thank you! And we're off for the long walk to the monitoring sites.
I got to do site 1 which is very far away. Before we start, Kevin kindly did all the GPS points. Here he is giving the points to Hazel.
Site 1 is supposedly the easiest site so it is where we introduce the new ones to monitoring. There is lots of Tape seagass (Enhalus acoroides) here and they were blooming! Hazel and I noted many male and female flowers on the plants in our transects.
Today, there was also lots of branching seaweeds: Codium sp. Here's a closer look at the seaweed.
Site 1 seems to have changed since we first started monitoring it nearly three years ago. We now see lots of Cymodocea serrulata, as well as some Thalassia hemprichii and Halodule sp., and Charmaine also saw Cymodocea rotundata in her transect! There's also Syringodium isoetifolium in the area, although Hazel and I didn't get any in our transects.

But there are some parts that are still rather 'bare'. And in our last transect there was zero seagrass but there was a little hard coral colony. What's happening? Well this is why it's important to monitor, and over a long period, so that we can better understand seasonal and other changes to our seagrass meadows.
Soon, we are done with monitoring and we have a quick look around on the long long walk back. Azylna is very happy to see the reefy parts near our site.
In fact, on our line, Hazel and I saw the Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.) right at the 30m mark! As its common name suggests, we should not touch this animal.
Another animal seen near transect 2 is the Upsidedown jellyfish (Cassiopea sp.). It's quite commonly seen on Pulau Semakau and prefers to be upside down. This is because it harbours in its frilly arms, symbiotic algae that undergoes photosynthesis and shares the food produced with the jellyfish.
A Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) is spotted! It's a white one too! We can't resist taking a quick group shot with the sea star. It's important not to over-handle sea stars as they don't like being out of water, and they can purposely drop off their arms if they are stressed. So we gather around the sea star to take our photo, instead of picking it up.
The Special Find of the Day: Charmaine spots this very well camouflaged Alligator pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus) as we are rushing back. Amazing! It looks just like a seagrass blade!
Seagrasses provide shelter and food for all kinds of marine life!

Our team on this trip: Yen-ling, Mei Lin, Nadine, Charmaine, Suryati, Hazel, Joe, Jessica, Azlyna, Marcus Tay, Kah Ming, Chun Fong, James, Marcus Ng, Joyce, Kevin, Wei Ling, Shufen and Ria.

More about Pulau Semakau.

Other blog posts about this trip

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