Jul 28, 2013

Pulau Semakau (28 July 2013)

Hello everyone! Team Seagrass is back again since the last training session on Chek Jawa last June... This time, we headed out to Pulau Semakau. Thank you to Johnson Ong, who made the effort to take all the photographs below.

Today's team consists of the old guard and new members! It's heartening to see that Team Seagrass is attracting more youths to participate in the monitoring and to explore our amazing shores. Here's a photo showing Siti giving a pre-trip briefing to find out everyone's previous monitoring experience.

"Good morning Team Seagrass", says Siti

Upon arrival, we marched on (since there weren't anyone around to ferry us to the hut) in the early morning heat. Boy was it hot today!

Unlike Chek Jawa, we have 3 sites to monitor on Pulau Semakau - that means 9 transects! Thanks to the volunteers for taking the initiatives to sort out the equipment.

After the usual pre-monitoring briefing of seagrass species, and how to fill in the datasheets correctly, everyone set off to their sites. It was still very HOT! Luckily Wei Ling reminded everyone to drink up! Sankar joked about starting a 'water parade' on the shore! (Water parade refers to drinking ALOT of water in the army lingo)

Johnson was paired up with two young ladies and below is a photograph of them at work. Yes! You probably have noticed that the tides are rather high today! On average, most of our water depths was ~20cm... It was a challenge as we had numerous fishes swimming around us, zooming away as we monitor...

How are the seagrasses doing on Pulau Semakau? Unfortunately not too good - as all the members have pointed out. The first thing we all noticed is the cropped up Enhalus acoroides (Tape seagrass). Tape seagrass is the largest seagrass species in Singapore's seagrass meadows, usually with the highest canopy heights. Today, everyone noticed how short they were - as if being lawn over! :(

Where are all the seagrass?? :(

I asked Siti what could have happened, and she proposed a couple of reasons. 1) The seagrass meadow could be experiencing a higher light regime, resulting in overheating of the grass. The result is a stress response of losing the bulk of its canopy. 2) Sedimentation may also have a role in changing the physiology of the plant too. :( Let's hope that this is temporary and that they will recover to what it once used to be (see photo below).

Pulau Semakau meadow - 19 Feb.2012 (Photograph by Neo Mei Lin).

Another successful trip and a BIG THANK YOU to all those on this trip who endured the intense heat and continued monitoring our seagrass: Johnson Ong, Choo Le Min, Quek Boon Seng, April Gwee, Cheryl Koh, Aristotle Lau, Sankar, Tok Yin Xin, Feng Yu Hui, Jin Yifeng, Jacyln Lim, Pearlynn Sim, Alisa Wee, May Chew, Kenny Ng, Samuel Tan, Lee Juin Bin, and Pin Chong.

Sorry for the inconvenience of walking back after the trip! We were apparently forgotten! :P

Special thanks to the NParks ladies - Rachel Lim, Lim Wei Ling, Samantha Lai and resident seagrass expert, Siti Yaakub for coordinating this trip, ferrying the equipment, and taking care of the countless arrangements to make this trip possible.

Posts by others of this trip:
  • Johnson Ong shares his experience on hot hot Semakau.

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