Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tioman Field Study Camp with Nature Explorers Day 3

The intertidal walk was usually my favourite activity for any field study camps! As this activity is tide dependent, we had to start the walk very early around 1am.

Try spotting the octopus here. It was really well-camouflaged, and many of the students could not spot it until it started moving!

The Black Long-spined Sea Urchin (Diadema setosum) was rather common here. Juveniles like this one here could be found in shallow waters, while the adults were found in deeper waters. They have venomous spines that give painful stings to deter predators.

The Red-eyed Reef Crab (Eriphia ferox) was usually found in the rocky area, sometimes hiding in cracks among the rocksl

An unknown sea cucumber.

Yet another unknown sea cucumber. Tioman was certainly a sea cucumber haven! We can often see many different species here.

I was quite glad to find this Juvenile Cushion Star (Culcita novaeguineae).

Several cowries (Cypraea spp.) were spotted. Not sure about the ID though. This one was about 3cm long.

Looks like the Mole Cowrie (Cypraea talpa) to me.

Probably an Egg Cowrie (Calpurnus sp.), sometimes also called False Cowries or just Ovulids (Family Ovulidae).

A cone snail (Conus sp.)! This venomous snail can give painful stings, and some species in fact gives fatal stings!

Flatworm. So flat, that it easily glides in between fine cracks.

Greenfish Sea Cucumber (Stichopus chloronotus) and Tiger Tail Sea Cucumbers (Holothuria hilla) found under a rock.

A Giant Reef Worm (Eunice sp.).

There were quite a few brittle stars as we started looking under the rocks.

This Pinkfish Sea Cucumber (Holothuria edulis) did not really look too healthy when I found it. Was going really limp, and part of it appeared to be damaged.

The walk ended around 3 plus in the morning, and the students went back to sleep after that.

Around 9 plus, the students met again, now for their mini research project. They had the whole afternoon to conduct a little research project and analyse the data.

After dinner, it's presentation time! Group 1 studied the effects of detergent in the water on water striders. They had a hilarious skit. The girls, Ethel and Wei Tieng, were acting as the water striders.

The boys, Chong Tat was the nerdy scientist, and Dexter was one of the people bathing in the stream. And the nerdy scientist ask the bathing guy, "How come you seemed to know everything." And the latter removed the towel and said, "Of course, I am from RI!" I laughed until pengz...

The second group, Yong Chang, Yee Ting, Hu Qi and Jonathan.

The two guys became fighting fiddler crabs! Their project is on sexual bias of fiddler crab population.

The primary school kids gave an excellent presentation! Here we have Nicole, Alamelu, Zhong Yi and Arvind. Their project is about food preference of ants.

Arvind looked as if he's looking for gold bars on the ground.

Arvindh, Haikal, Owen and Daariin formed the 2nd primary school group

Their project was about the light and shade preference of the leaf litter community.

The last secondary school groups was made up of Jia Yi, Jia Ling, Pamela, Cherlyn and Derek.

Their project was on weaver ants' nesting preference.

And 2nd prize went to the ants' food preference group from the primary school!

First prize goes to the water strider group! They did an excellent job of having good content and research procedure, and a very informative and hilarious presentation :P

It was again a very successful field study camp for the nature explorers! Can't wait for the next round of new nature explorers next year!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tioman Field Study Camp with Nature Explorers Day 2

Day 2 was packed with activities. We started off with taking a boat to Pulau Renggis for snorkeling.

I led the secondary school group with WK, while TL led the primary school group. Here's a quick group shot near the stern of the boat.

Two of the students missed the group shot as they were at the bow of the boat.

This was the other boat with the primary school group.

We reached Pulau Renggis after takign the boat for about half an hour. And it's time to head into the water!

The teachers also got ready to jump!

Once everyone got into the water, we had a group shot.

Here's another one.

We were really lucky that not long after we started snorkeling, we saw a turtle!

Did not take many photos for this trip, as the tide was quite high, and visibility wasn't good. Here's a Cushion Star among the Staghorn Corals.

Towards the end of the snorkeling session, we even saw a Blacktip Reef Shark!

Our second snorkeling site was the marine park, which I didn't take any good photos due to the poor visibility.

We headed back to the resort for lunch around 1pm.

After lunch, it's freshwater ecology time!

The students were brought to a freshwater stream to do sampling.

This group of students were using the "rock-and-roll" method.

They got a little too ambitious after a while and went for the really huge rocks.

And here's checking what they got in the net.

The other method is the "kick-and-sweep" method.

This method is more useful in areas with vegetation.

After about an hour or so, we moved to another part of the stream with deeper water and bigger boulders.

In some parts, the water went all the way to the students' thighs.

It was a little hard to "rock-and-roll" with the big boulders.

And after the sampling session was a relaxing session sitting around the stream and chit chat and makan!

It certainly was a tiring day for the students.

In the evening after dinner, we had a quick briefing to prepare them for the intertidal walk, before we quickly sent them to bed.

The intertidal walk would take place very early on the next day, in fact, around 1am!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tioman Field Study Camp with Nature Explorers Day 1

From 7 to 10 September 2010, I was back on Pulau Tioman to conduct a field study camp for the students shortlisted from the Nature Explorers Programme.

We chartered a bus to bring to Tanjung Gemok to take a ferry to the island. It was a really bumpy ride, and some of the students demonstrated that the merlion can be found on a bus as well.

We finally reached Tanjung Gemok jetty. We barely had time to go for a toilet break when it's time to board the ferry, where more "merlions" were spotted. For those of you who don't know what is a merlion, just do a google. I'm refering to the one with water gushing out of its mouth...

We soon reached the island, and after lunch, LK gave a quick introduction on what to expect for this field study camp.

After that, we had some ice-breakers where the students introduce themselves.

We also had a little game, where the students had to write down something about themselves on a post-it. The post-its were consolidated and randomly pasted on the back of the students.

They had to form a human chain, with each student having to stand behind the person with his/her post-it. Sounds confusing, well, I guess you have to play it to get what I'm trying to say. In any case, the students got to know each other better through this game.

Another game we played was Whacko. The person who got whacked the most had to spell his name using his butt :P

After the ice-breakers, we brought the students around the resort for an orientation walk. During this walk, we also talked about the various adaptations of the coastal plants growing there. Didn't managed to take any photos except this flowering Wax Flower (Hoya sp.), since I was busy explaining to the students the various adaptations.

After the walk, the students rented the snorkeling gear, and we had a practice session at the house reef to prepare for the snorkeling session on the following morning.

And before we knew it, Day 1 was over!