Apr 24, 2011

Chek Jawa (24 Apr 2011)

A small team heads out to monitor the seagrasses of Chek Jawa this bright sunny morning.
The shores of Chek Jawa are covered in a green welcome carpet of fresh new Sea lettuce seaweed!

As we walk on the boardwalk we notice the meadows of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) have spread out extensively! This seagrass is so far only seen in large numbers on Chek Jawa and Cyrene Reef. There are also some patches of it on the oil-slicked Tanah Merah shore.
Siti does a quick introduction to the various seagrass species found on Chek Jawa. Thanks to Kok Sheng and Chay Hoon for finding the specimens. Also of some tricky seaweeds that masquerade as seagrasses.
Before we head out for monitoring, we have a quick look at some of the interesting marine life that have been set up for the Chek Jawa public walk that is going on at the same time. A baby seahorse has been found! Wow!
There's so much Sea lettuce seaweed that we have to remove them to see the seagrasses underneath! Lots of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) have grown into Site 1. How exciting!
Site 1 is just opposite the boardwalk near the mangroves of Chek Jawa.
While we are monitoring, Siti and her team of volunteers are hard at work on her experiment to learn more about our seagrasses.
Among the special seagrasses on Chek Jawa is the beautiful Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa). Of course, there are lots of Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) too.
Alas, we noticed various areas with severely bleaching seagrasses, especially at the Southern tip of Chek Jawa.
A closer look at the bleaching Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis). Bleaching results when seagrasses lose their chlorophyll. This happens when they are stressed. I'm not sure what is causing the stress to them.
We also noticed various kinds of seagrasses were badly burnt, with blackened leaf blades. This included Fern seagrasses (Halophila spinulosa).
We also saw burnt Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis). I saw these burnt seagrasses on various parts of the shores including the area near the beacon, as well as near the Southern tip of Chek Jawa.
Today, I also didn't manage to find the small patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) near Site 2. Oh dear.

Nevertheless, we saw lots of interesting marine life at Chek Jawa.
We are also excited to see furrows in the seagrass meadows on the Southern tip of Chek Jawa that might be dugong feeding trails!

It was great to have on the Team today: Andy, Ivan, Yen Ling, Richard, Kok Sheng, Marcus, Joo Yong, Chay Hoon, Sean, Eta, Gaytri, Puva, Yifeng, Gladys, Sue. Thanks to Wei Ling and Siti for making all the arrangements and doing the briefings!

Other posts about this trip
  • Ria with more about dugong feeding trails and other sightings on Chek Jawa.
  • Ivan on facebook with sea cucumbers, crabs and other critters on Chek Jawa.
  • Kok Sheng on his blog and on the Chek Jawa project blog: sea stars and other echinoderms, carpet anemones and more.

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