Saturday, November 24, 2007

Last Team Seagrass Trip for the Year at Semakau

Today's trip to Semakau Landfill is the very last Team Seagrass monitoring trip of the year, and we were really fortunate that the weather was great!

The sea was splashing a lovely bluish green, and the water was really clear! Sadly, many Singaporeans probably don't even know that our sea can be so pretty too. Guess most people are more familiar with the murky waters at East Coast.

My buddy for the day was Sam. We share the same surname - Yeo. Like what they always say in those Chinese drama, we could have come from the same family 500 years ago. Since Sam took the seagrass photos for the transect today, I don't have any of them and thus will only share about some of the things we saw before and after the monitoring session.

While making our way to monitoring site 1, which happened to the one at the far end, we saw this synaptid sea cucumber among the sponges in the shallow water.

Along the way, we walked by an area with lots of sand sifting sea star.

We finally reached the transect site, and quickly set up the line. Surprising, we actually managed to complete the transect in about 30 minutes! While this site is the furthest away, it is also the easiest to do as it has the least seagrasses.

And after the transect, it's time to explore the area!

And as I brought Sam to take a look at the giant clam, we heard a loud explosion!

Seems like the SAF was having a live-firing exercise again, and we were treated to a free pyrotechnic display!

Fortunately, we were not overly distracted by the bombing, and still managed to find quite a few interesting animals along the way.

Here's a stonefish sea cucumber. Didn't managed to find any sandfish though. Could it be that today was to hot? During our other Semakau guided walks, we often had problem finding sandfish on hot days.

Sam soon found one of the resident knobbly sea stars which I named as Pinkie due to its colour :)

I also found one of the orange-coloured ones. Have not given it a name though, as there were several of them with this similar brownish-orange colour. Looking at the knobs, it sure looks like one of those which had a few its knobs bitten off by something else some time back, and has since regenerated them. Didn't see another of my favourite knobbly, Oling, though.

Came across this little tidal pool with a fanworm right next to a sunflower mushroom coral.

And hey, what's this thing lying on the sand? And in fact, there were not just one, but lots and lots of them around!

Seems like the upside-down jellyfish are in season again :)

Here's one of them that I turned over to reveal the bell. This jellyfish has symbiotic algae, mostly in its tentacles, which photosynthesises better with it being upside-down since they will then be exposed to the sun.

And here's a graceful flatworm swimming in one of the tidal pools.

At this point in time, several other seagrassers had also joined us.

Sijie was telling me that he hope to see at least one nudibranch on each of his trip. And almost immediately after he said that, I spotted a discodoris nudibranch!

The above slug was spotted by Dawn. Have no idea what species it is. Too tired to look for the ID today. Hopefully Chay Hoon or some others in the gang will check things and update me tomorrow :P (Update: Thanks to Chay Hoon for looking through the Sea Slugs forum for the ID - Chelidonura pallida. Looking through the factsheet, it appears that this slug actually feeds on flatworms! And like sea hare, they also form mating chains sometimes! The male organ is situated on the right side of the head, while the female opening is at the posterior end of the body on the right side.)

Chay Hoon later also spotted this Denison's nudibranch. This was also the first time I saw this species here on Semakau!

Soon, tide was rising and we had to make our way back to the jetty. Taking a look at the others walking behind me, I managed to capture this beautiful scene before it got too dark.

Indeed, this has again been yet another wonderful trip. Am sure looking forward to the Team Seagrass activities next year!

1 comment:


The Sea Slug spotted by Dawn looks like Chelidonura pallida.