Jan 3, 2011

Chek Jawa (2 Jan 11)

Happy New Year from TeamSeagrass as we do our first monitoring for 2011!
The Team enjoyed a breezy sunny day as we monitored at Chek Jawa, as well as some NEW stuff ...

Wei Ling brings our long-awaited NEW pencils!
But Yen-ling finds out the pencil container is quite difficult to open up.
Another new aspect for the Team: reusable cloth bags to carry all the bits and pieces that we need for monitoring. Thanks to donations by those who came today, we have lots of bags for the year ahead! And they are so colourful too!
As usual, Richard is totally geared up against all manner of bugs!
I brave an attempt at documenting some of what we do during a trip on the awesome FLIP video cam. I'm not very good at doing this, so apologies for the poor quality clips.

After setting up the gear, Siti gives a quick run through of the data entry, Wei Ling shows everyone how to use the GPS and then we're off to monitor!

It's a sunny, windy day as we head out to the seagrass meadows. Siti gives a quick run through of the seagrass IDs, then we head off to monitor. Those doing site 2 have a looong way to walk. It's tricky laying down the line in windy weather. And monitoring is easiest done with two persons! All too soon, our time on Chek Jawa ends and we head home.

The seagrasses were generally doing alright with lush green Fern seagrasses (Halophila spinulosa).
Unfortunately, at Site 2, we noticed some bleaching Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis).
However, the seagrasses seem to be 'returning' to transect 1, which in our last monitoring in October was nearly bare of seagrasses. It's amazing how fast the sand bar and seagrasses move! This is why it's important to regularly monitor our seagrass meadows.

The small patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) near Site 2 is still there. But some leaf blades are rather brown and black, and the Spoon seagrasses among them are bleached. Oh dear.
The swathe of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) also seems rather sparse and Mei Lin saw bleaching among them too. Some Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) were seen.

The flock of Lesser crested-terns (Sterna bengalensis) that usually hang about on the Northern sand bar were still there. Mei Lin also observed many shorebirds out and about on Chek Jawa. It's the migratory season for shorebirds, so this is not surprising.
Thus the sand bar nearby is liberally splattered with bird poop. This is great! Because bird poop helps seagrasses to grow!
The Northern sand bar is alive with all kinds of buried creatures. The tiny dots are made by Button snails (Umbonium vestiarum), while the larger streaks by sand dollars (Arachanoides placenta).
In general, the shores were rather quiet according to the Team, probably because it was a hot day. But happily, Andy reported seeing many Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni), which is good news as they were greatly affected by the mass deaths in 2007. TeamSeagrass actually observed the mass deaths as our first monitoring was during this event.

Regular monitoring helps us understand what is happening and thus better manage our shores. So the Team really makes a difference!

It was great to have on the Team today: Jason, Vanitha, Andy, Sean, Mei Lin, Chay Hoon, Amy, Richard, Emil, Marcus, Kah Ming, Chi Keung, Yen-ling and Ivan. Thanks to Wei Ling and Siti for making all the arrangements and doing the briefings!

More about the trip by these Team members:
  • Mei Lin with more about TeamSeagrass, Chek Jawa and consolidating some broad observations.
  • Ria with more about the mangroves of Chek Jawa
  • Sean with more about the marine life seen on Chek Jawa

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