Len and Rudi from Seagass-Watch HQ visited us over the CNY weekend and OF COURSE we had to go seagrass adventuring. The aim of the trip was to collect some samples for nutrient analyses, genetic studies and to do a preliminary seed bank study.
Fortunately, the tides are evening tides, which means that we could sleep in after the CNY feasting and festivities before heading out to Chek Jawa on Sunday, 2nd Feb. Once we were there, Sam, Nor Aishah and I set out collecting samples for genetic analyses. There were some curious members of the public out and about and we had to tell them what we were doing. Good thing we have that research permit!
After that, Rudi showed us how to do seed bank sampling. It's a relatively simple method, using very simple tools, namely a PVC pipe and a kitchen sieve. The idea is to get about 10cm of sediment in the corer and sieve out the sediments and look for seeds. Here's Sam showing us how it's done:
|Using the Corer (PVC pipe with cap) to sample ~10cm o sediment.|
|Sieving sediment away with a sieve (no! yes, really).|
|Checking for H. uninervis seeds.|
|It wasn't just us! The seeds wouldn't appear even for Len and Rudi!|
|Those are some hungry dugongs!|
We found H. beccarii quite quickly, and set about collecting samples. Collecting genetic samples means collecting parts of the plant that yields the best DNA when extracted and this tends to be the "new or growing" bits, like the meristem, growing tips or young shoots.
|Ugh what's this squishy stuff?|
|Skip ahead skip ahead! Don't stay too long in one place or you'll sink!|
|Mission accomplished! Now to get outta here.|
|Not the happiest camper.|
|"There's some seagrass there to your right"|
|The fields are aliiiveeeee... with the sound of muuuuuusiiicccc|