Saturday, August 04, 2007

Team Seagrass at Semakau on 4 August 2007

It was 05:47:50 when I received this sms - "In cab lao" (note the wrong spelling, shld be liao, not lao).

And my immediate reaction was, "What???!!??? So fast??? Isn't he supposed to pick me up between 6 to 6.10? Doesn't he know that it only takes like 5 minutes plus from his place to my places? I haven't even change my clothes yet!!!"

Within a few minutes time, the early risers of Serangoon Avenue 4 witnessed a blurry figure dashing from Block XXX (pai seh, it's a secret) to the bus stop next to Serangoon Stadium.

"I just saw something flashed past me, and it's not even the 7th month. So scary!" Said the Ah Peh who distributes newspapers door-to-door every morning.

"Ai yoh! Must be some army boy training for SOC lah," said the Ah Soh selling breakfast at the void deck. "My son also in army now you know? My eyes very sharp one. Saw that he had a backpack. Training in full battle order. So on!"

Eye witnesses claimed that they saw the blurry figure jumping over stairs, and flying across overhead bridges, before it finally got into a cab waiting at the bus stop.

Anyway, that was roughly what happened to me this morning - the tide chaser wasn't chasing tides, but taxi.

I had arranged with SY to share cab to Marina South, picking up AL as well along the way. Dear SY, I promise I won't tease you about your "special project" again. Just don't make me do the 500m dash again when we share cab :P

Anyway, we managed to reach Marina South Pier safe and sound. Today, we were heading to Semakau Landfill. Not for a guided walk though, but for Team Seagrass.

The last time I was here, I was tasked to do Site 1 - which was the furthest site. So this time round, I had hoped that I won't have to walk so much again, and asked CT if I can do Site 3 instead. And of course, CT, who must be one of the NICEST person around, readily agreed.

Here's KS and YK on the transect line next to mine, busy doing the monitoring.

The groups of people at the back were not here for the seagrass monitoring though. They're on a guided walk organised by the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

Here's a photo of my transect square at the 25 metres mark. You can see there's a coral in the middle. We were supposed to note down the type of substrates, the seagrass percentage cover, algae cover etc.

Since this wasn't the first time we did the transect, we managed to finish quite quickly, and were free to explore the area. KS decided to tag along with me to do the exploration.

And just near our transect site, we saw lots of star-shaped prints on the sand.

They were actually sand sifting sea stars. And as the common name implies, they can actually burrow into the sand.

And not too far away across the seagrass lagoon, another burrower - a moon snail - was out in the open.

We decided to follow the route markers placed by LK, and saw 2 noble volutes laying eggs!

It's always nice to see eggs on our shores, as they are a clear indication that our shores are very much alive and animals are reproducing!

During my last trip here, I had tried to mark the location of a Haddon's carpet anemone using the various landmarks, and so I decided to test if I got it right.

Sure enough, I soon found the carpet anemone with a pair of cute anemone shrimps!

But while I was walking around the coral rubble area, I also noticed that there seem to be more zoanthids around these days.

Related to sea anemones and corals, these zoanthids are actually poisonous! In fact, the most toxic marine poison, palytoxine, was discovered in a zoanthid.

It was quite a good day for slugs actually, and I saw a number of species, including this pair of marginated glossodoris nudibranchs.

Were they mating, or were they getting ready to mate, or have they finish mating? Can really see the reproductive organs so can't really say for sure. Anyway, nudibranchs are hermaphrodites - they have both male and female reproductive organs! And thus, they usually fertilise each other when they meet, though sometimes one will take o a male role, the other a female role.

Very sorry KS that the chromodoris kenna "eaten" by the hole on the rocks. Chromodoris lineolata is quite common, so we should be able to find it again on some other trips.

LK told me that she couldn't find the knobbly sea stars, and so I decided to help her to find them

I roughly remembered where they were the last time, and so I got KS to help comb the area with me. And in just a short while, KS found one, and I found another.

And here's the happy KS with the knobbly sea stars in his hands :)

After passing the sea stars to the other guides, we decided to go out again to try our luck, and KS found another orange one. Pai seh LK, after looking at KS's photos then I realised that the 3rd one we found was the usual smaller orange one, not a new one.

Anyway, Semakau is also a wonderful place to see corals, both hard and soft.

Above top 2 were hard corals, while the other two were soft corals.

Apart from the carpet anemone described earlier, we also saw various other anemones, including the gigantic sea anemone, the bulb tentacle sea anemone, and possibly Merten's carpet anemone as well. There was also this anemone which I thought could be the Heteractis crispa.

It supposedly has much more tentacles than the other similar looking anemones, such as the Macrodactyla doreensis. Forgot to feel the underside of the anemone, as H. crispa supposedly has a sticky underside but not M. doreensis. Will try to do it the next time I'm there :P

It's a pity Dr Daphne, world anemone expert, wasn't with us today, or she would have been able to tell us what it is. In fact, I saw quite a few small weird anemones today, including many of the "Condylactis not" that the sea anemone team had been trying to get more specimens.

Sadly, tide was soon rising and we had to leave the intertidal area.

Haven't had the time to explore the southern side of the intertidal area yet. Sure hope I can find time to do it the next time round :)

See also:


~mantamola~ said...

Oh!U were @ Semakau on 3 Aug too? :-)

Ron Yeo said...

Alamak! Pai seh, wrong date. Dun suan me lah. Hv changed the title. Thanks! :P