Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wrapping up at the Northern Expedition Day 17

Today is the beginning of the end of the Northern Expedition. There are no more field trips, and everyone is busy shutting down the stations.
But we have a glimpse of some special animals seen during the Expedition, and an Irrawady dolphin was spotted during a recent dredge survey!

First thing when I arrived this morning, I checked with Dr Kathe on the mangrove slugs I found yesterday at Sungei Buloh and she says this one might be something different from the ones we've been seeing. Wow, that's exciting!
Prof Daphne and Nicholas Yap are working hard all morning on their new paper. And Nick had done wonderful sections of some of the sea anemones collected during the Expedition. Prof Daphne shows us one with baby anemones inside the mother anemone, indicated by the pointer she placed in the slide. Wow, Nick sure did a great job at this delicate and difficult business of slicing and dicing anemones.
Another wondrous find: this Sunburst shell that was found in a dredge survey.
A last effort to set baited traps for mangrove insects, using yummy rotting fruits.
The volunteers and Sorting Team spent most of the sunny morning in a massive washing exercise to clean the gear. Everything from fish tanks to chairs, booties to buckets and endless quantities of vials and containers.
After all the washing, there's lots of wiping dry to do. From the tiniest vial and petri dish, to huge trays and tanks.
Many hands make lighter work!
It takes time to pack up all the gear large and small.
Meanwhile, there's lots of packing up in the lab as well. Microscopes and other fancy equipment have to be properly packed for the trip home.
Here's the team literally wrapping up the Expedition.
We are also busy sorting out the many specimens collected, such as the wonderful range of fishes that can be found on our Northern shores. Stunning to see such a wide variety!
We also have a look at some of the beautiful photos taken by the professionals at the Photo Station. Here's a lovely crab that might be a new species.
During lunch, we had a nice surprise serving of prawns! And everyone had a last look at the souvenirs of marine stuffed toys made out of socks.
It's a bitter-sweet time as the Expedition comes to a close. Last chance to take photos of friends at the Expedition.
The lovely ladies of the Expedition are always ready with a smile!
And to exchange name cards and souvenirs. Our Thai friends shared wonderful Thai stamps of all kinds of interesting places and features of Thailand. So hard to choose a set from all the nice stamps.
In the evening, how nice to get a surprise talk by Dr Rony Huys on copepods. They come in such a wonderful array of shapes.
Copepods are found in a vast variety of locations, from the Himalayas to the deep sea. They are found in association with all kinds of animals. Like these found between the teeth of a Tiger shark. Wow, more amazing than the copepods, I admire the person who looked for them there.
I had to leave early today during to limited boat transport and missed the end of the talk as well as the final farewell dinner for the participants. I'm sure we'll hear more about it from others who will have a great time there.

Tomorrow, more packing up before a final farewell. It has been an exciting if tiring time and I'm quite sad that the Expedition is coming to an end.

But the Mega Marine Survey will go on after this, with regular surveys elsewhere in Singapore. And there will be another massive Southern Expedition in the reefs and shores in Southern Singapore in May 2013. So lots more to look forward to!

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