Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Marine Biodiversity Expedition (7 Mar 2012)

It's Day Two of the Expedition and another batch of volunteers are back on the mudflats at Pulau Ubin, Outward Bound Singapore.
They were a fun and enthusiastic bunch from APB (Asia Pacific Breweries) who are sponsoring the Survey and Expedition. It was nice to meet them again and earlier, I had been on a trip Big Sisters Island with them.

This little patch of flats near the OBS jetty reminds me of Chek Jawa! There's some seagrasses, and lots of soft squishy mud. On the rocks, lots of colourful sponges!
The team found lots of sea urchins, sea pens, sea cucumbers, Bill the unknown anemone (that was featured in the recent Straits Times article about the Survey), little snails, clams, lots of worms including what looks like a spaghetti worm. I found a strange synaptid sea cucumber buried in the mud! And we later came across a Biscuit sea star near the jetty.
After having a look at the nice mangroves along the shore, I made everyone wash up on the beach, before we realised that there was a nice washing point just nearby! For a comfy and clean wash up!
Then Glendon from TMSI who led the survey shared a little about all the amazing things we found!
Treat of the day! At the end of the trip, the APB team shared lots of ice-cold Crystal Beer which was well appreciated by everyone! Awesome!
When we arrived, we notice the NUS vessel Galaxea is at the jetty. This means the Dredging Team has done their run and everyone must be busy sorting out their finds!
Indeed, the Sorting Stations were busy! Led by Dr Betrand Richer de Forges.
Here's some of their amazing finds. A live Rare spined murex, lots and lots of brittlestars, and Nick has found ctenaphores (the blob in the spoon).
The scientists were hard at work checking up on the specimens and photographing them.
Yen-Ling and Rene are also looking at specimens. Here's Rene's marvellous photos of these finds!
Helen is keeping everything going like clock-work with neatly written instructions and plans.
Prof Peter as usual, educates everyone on the specimens. He can enthrall us even with a humble oyster.
He pointed out this baby Mantis shrimp! My bad photo of it here. I'm sure Rene will share a better one soon.
Dr Tan Heok Hui shared this tiny frogfish that he found. WOW! While we were away, there was also a seine net survey of Chek Jawa and earlier in the day, a check on mudlobster mounds at Pulau Ubin. The Expedition is exhausting but lots of fun!
I made a lame joke that in the Expedition, we don't have running water. We have walking water! Here's a team bringing back seawater for processing the specimens.
All too soon, it's time to go home again. Thanks once again to the sporting APB team for helping out at the survey and for the excellent beer!
Tomorrow, I'll be staying overnight, so the next blog update will be on Friday. There's so much more to learn about our shores!

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