Thursday, August 29, 2013

Diving for Treasure: Singapore Style - a video clip of the Southern Expedition

A video clip of the Southern Expedition is now online on the Shell YouTube channel.
It features some of the key activities at the Southern Expedition.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mega Marine Survey featured in Nature of a City

The Mega Marine Survey and the Southern Expedition (14:18 - 19:00) are featured in Nature of a City a Channel NewsAsia documentary. With Dr Tan Koh Siang speaking during a dredging survey.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Small stuff" at the Southern Expedition and why we should care

When asked why he was interested in bryozoans, Dr Kevin Tilbrook of the Queensland Museum joked: "Isn't everyone?"
Grace Chua has captured Dr Kevin's humour that many at the Southern Expedition appreciated (and miss). She also explored why we should care about small stuff that people often overlook, featuring some of the amazing animals encountered during the Mega Marine Survey expeditions.

Mega Marine Survey at the Festival of Biodiversity

The Festival was an awesome explosion of fun for volunteers of the marine community and fellow nature lovers.
President Tony Tan visited the Festival and we take the opportunity to share about the important aspects of our biodiversity. Heng Pei Yan managed to get a smile out of him by showing him how the dugong leaves a feeding trail in our seagrass meadows.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Southern Expedition in the news

A slideshow of some happenings at the Southern Expedition is featured in Today Online.
Photo from Don Wong Today Online 13 Jun 13
Much earlier, just after Minister Tan Chuan Jin's visit, there were also many media features about the Southern Expedition. Here's some highlights.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Video clip of "Copepods -- an introduction to the 'Insects of the Sea'" by Prof Rony Huys

Thanks to Andy Dinesh, here's a video clip of the awesome talk by Prof Rony Huys on one of the most numerous animals on the planet.
From his talk, we learnt that copepods are indeed sexy, delightful and endlessly fascinating animals.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Southern Expedition dive photos and stories by Debby Ng

Thanks to Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers for awesome dive photos and dive stories at the Southern Expedition!
Photo by Debby Ng.
In her post Surveying the Deep Debby shares: "Apart from getting to dive in areas that leisure divers do not frequent, it was a real eyeopener to be diving with a diverse group of scientists from around the world who have such varied interests and expertise!"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The last day of the Southern Expedition

Today we wind down the Expedition spending the entire day washing and washing, packing and packing.
Here's a last look at the people and happenings at Base Camp before the Expedition shuts down.

Last field trips on Day 17 of the Southern Expedition

This is the last day for field trips. A bitter-sweet time when we savour every moment at the Expedition.
Heng Pei Yan and I decide to hunt for shrimps at the lagoon next to the public jetty. It was a hot day, with the main city skyline and the greenery of Seringat-Kias on the horizon. There were also diving, dredging and mini-talks.

Molluscs, ascidians, stars and cucumbers: Mini-talks at the Southern Expedition

We finally get an understanding of some of our common ascidians. As well as some of our echinoderms, and learn about molluscs and marine life in Thailand. In the last of the mini-talks at the Southern Expedition.
As Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers says so well: "I've learned so much from #megamarine survey! Learned/saw new things & learned more about things I already knew some about! Enriched!"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

'Sulphur-eating' clams, shrimps and sea cucumbers: Mini-talks at the Southern Expedition

The highlight of the day are the mini-talks by experts at the Expedition. From 'sulphur-eating' clams, to wondrous shrimps and amazing sea cucumbers.
The series kicks off with a talk on "Chemosymbiotic bivalves" by Drs John Taylor and Emily Glover, The Natural History Museum, London UK.

Curious Critters from the Deep on Day 16 of the Southern Expedition

This cutie came up from the Deep Dredge today! It's not a sea anemone. It may be an ascidian. We are still not sure!
Today, the Dredge hit nearly 200m! We also had day and night dives, and the usual frenzied hunting on St. John's and nearby islands.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Phytoplankton, cnidarians and crinoids: Mini-talks at the Southern Expedition

One of the highlights of the Expedition is to hear from the experts during the all too-short talks at the end of the day.
For her talk on "Incredible Cnidarians", being the world authority on sea anemones, Prof Daphne Fautin, University of Kansas, USA of course started with these wonderful colourful animals. In his talk, Prof Charles Messing gave a quick and simple guide to some feather stars commonly seen in Singapore.

Deep Dredge on Day 15 of the Southern Expedition

As Prof Peter and Meryl Theng head off for the dredge, I lament that so far, we have not had good photos or stories from the dredge. So I'm very grateful to Meryl who tweeted live from the dredge!
There were also day and night dives, a quick grab of humungous black sea urchins, and Kate and I checked out a lagoon at high tide. The Expedition was also being filmed.

6 Jun (Thu): The Wallace Lectures "Copepods -- an introduction to the 'Insects of the Sea'" by Prof Rony Huys

What are copepods? And why do they matter?
Come for this special talk by Prof Rony Huys to find out more. Prof Rony is here for the Southern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Video clip of "Lace Corals and Moss Animals" a talk by Dr Kevin J. Tilbrook

Thanks to Andy Dinesh, here's a video clip of the awesome talk by Dr Kevin Tilbrook.
Dr Kevin gives a lively and easy-to-understand introduction to bryozoans and also to taxonomy in general.

Fabulous Feather stars of Singapore

Feather stars are among the most abundant and flamboyantly colored creatures on Singapore's reefs and deeper rocky sea floor. Over 30 species have been recorded from Singapore’s waters!
A small selection of the many feather stars found
during a Deep Dredge on Day 3
Prof Charles G Messing of the Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University shares this and more about some special feather stars in Singapore.

Horrid things on Day 13 of the Southern Expedition

Hurray! The long missing Horrible elbow crab (Daldorfia horrida) has been found by Dr Lin Chiawei during the night dive today.
It is HUGE and indeed rather horrible. It is listed as 'Presumed Nationally Extinct' on the Singapore Red List, which probably means that it hasn't been seen here in 50 years. So it's great to know that it still exists in our waters!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Awesome Amphipods

Amphipods are tiny critters that often hide among debris on the high tide line on the sea shore. These small crustaceans are super abundant in world oceans and very diverse (more than 10,000 described species).
Dr Jim Lowry from the Australian Museum studies them. His project during the Southern Expedition is the first major survey of the group in Singapore waters.

Pea crab on Day 12 of the Southern Expedition

Today is our last intertidal trip for the Southern Expedition. Two teams surveyed Pulau Tekukor which is rarely visited and is not accessible to the public.
There were also dive surveys as well as a dredge. We found a lot of interesting critters as usual.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big Bryozoan on Day 11 of the Southern Expedition

The biggest achievement of the day (and perhaps the week) was getting everyone at the Expedition together for a group photo! (as Ivan Kwan noted in his tweet). Herding cats is probably easier.
Earlier on, the Expedition was dispersed over four locations and also did a deep dredge. With lots of interesting finds as usual.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five new Fast and Furious Ferrari shrimps at the Southern Expedition

Dr Shane Ahyong shares great news about the first discovery of five species of mantis shrimps from Singapore waters at the Southern Expedition! One of them, a coral reef mantis shrimp is probably new to science.
Photo by Dr Arthur Anker
What are mantis shrimps? And why are they the Ferraris of the Sea? Here's more about these intriguing creatures, shared by Dr Shane Ahyong of the Australian Museum.

Humungous cuttlefish on Day 10 of the Southern Expedition

A gianormous cuttlefish that is bigger than Jiaxin's foot was the highlight of the day!
Photo by Jiaxin.
Of course, there were also many other interesting finds as three teams surveyed Big Sisters, Raffles Lighthouse and Cyerene Reef. As well as a dredge survey.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reefy Day 9 at the Southern Expedition

Another predawn trip, this time to magical Raffles Lighthouse. On the horizon, Pulau Senang and the tiny Pulau Biola which lies in the restricted Life Firing Area.
Ominous dark clouds gathered as the team worked the rocky shore in the outgoing tide. But we had a great survey on this amazingly reefy shore.

1 Jun (Sat): The Wallace Lectures "Lace Corals and Moss Animals" by Dr Kevin J. Tilbrook

What are lace corals and moss animals? How many of these can we expect to find in Singapore?
Come for this special talk by Dr Kevin J. Tilbrook to find out more. Dr Kevin is a great speaker and is here for the Southern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey.

Monday, May 27, 2013

VIPs visit on Day 8 of the Southern Expedition

Minister Tan Chuan-Jin visits the Expedition today! We are thrilled. Here he is peering over Dr Joelle Lai's shoulder as she checks a Fan clam for commensals.
We are delighted to have so many enthusiastic VIPs, sponsors, media and friends to share our latest survey finds.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Starry Day 7 at the Southern Expedition

There are lots of Knobbly sea stars at Beting Bemban Besar! Another team at Terumbu Bemban finds lots of octopuses. While yet another team at Big Sisters finds more intertidal feather stars.
A frenzy of predawn trips with lots of interesting finds!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sponge explosion on Day 6 of the Southern Expedition

Huge sea fans and large sponges were collected today. Wow! Singapore has astonishing marine life and we wouldn't know it if we didn't go out and look.
 Well before dawn, the intertidal team had already completed the Expedition's first morning trip with lots of interesting finds.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nudilicious on Day 5 of the Southern Expedition

Nudibranchs galore! That's what I heard when I rejoined the Expedition in the evening.
My day ended well before sunrise, as I joined Prof Daphne in her anemone hunt at Seringat Kias.

The Singapore Spider Crab -- found only in Singapore!

Rarely seen, with few specimens known to science, this special crab is only found in Singapore. Not seen for 100 years, the Southern Expedition has found another specimen of this elusive creature in Singapore waters!
Photo by Prof Peter Ng.
Prof Peter Ng says "Not only do we now report the crab after a century hiatus – we also here document its splendid colours for the first time – white, red, brown, pink and purple!" Here's more about this intriguing creature, shared by Prof Peter Ng.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Humungous critters and six-legged crab on Day 4 of the Southern Expedition

Humungous sea cucumbers were found during the day dive today! Thanks to Dr David and Dr Zeehan!
Also, I learnt more about a special six-legged crab that has been found for the first time in Singapore!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shock from the Deep, with otter on Day 3 of the Southern Expedition

Electric rays! These cute little fishes were among the finds during the Deep Dredge today! They were last recorded in 1964 and are different from the spotty electric ray that we have seen in shallow water.
AND lots more interesting finds during the dive survey too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where none have gone before on Day 2 of the Southern Expedition

Today, the Dredge Team surveyed the seabed at 100m! The deepest in Singapore ever surveyed! (So far)
 What did we find in the Singapore Deeps?

Monday, May 20, 2013

New donut nudi on Day 1 of the Southern Expedition

The Southern Expedition explodes on St John's Island with a boatload of humungous gear!
Fortunately, there's lots of enthusiastic folks to get everything sorted out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Preparing for the Southern Expedition

It's still days before the Southern Expedition starts and we are already finding cool marine critters!
Prof Peter Ng (in blue) tells us about this special crab that so far has only been found in Singapore. Dr Bertrand Richer de Forges conducted trial dredges with all kinds of interesting finds. And there's lots more that is being done to prepare for the Expedition! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Reflections of My time with Marine Life (Northern Expedition)

The enthusiastic students from River Valley High School were a bright spot at the Northern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey last year. Their questions and curiosity made the work more interesting and enjoyable for all.
Prof Daphne Fautin, world authority on sea anemones
sharing about these animals with the students.
Thaddea Chua shares their story in this article in My Green Space Issue 17 an NParks magazine.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Southern Expedition (20 May - 7 Jun 2013)

Last night, Dr Tan Koh Siang shared much anticipated details of the Southern Expedition!
Like the recently completed Northern Expedition, this event brings together 45 scientists from Singapore and around the world, for a frenzy of field trips including intertidal walks, diving, dredging and trawling! The Southern Expedition will be based at St. John's Island.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Seabed Survey (21 Mar 2013)

More treasures from the deep are unearthed by volunteers during another survey of the bottom of Singapore's sea! Like this pretty pebble crab with a sharp pointy butt.
Photo by Rene Ong
Thanks to Rene Ong, we get a glimpse of some of the animals found and the volunteers that make the survey possible.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seabed survey (13 Mar 2013)

More fascinating glimpses at life at the bottom of the sea in Singapore! During the seabed survey on 13 March conducted by the Mega Marine Survey.
Photo by Rene Ong
Thanks to Rene Ong, we get a glimpse of some of the animals found and the volunteers that make the survey possible.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Northern Expedition featured in Knowledge Enterprise

The Northern Expedition is featured in the latest issue of Knowledge Enterprise a publication of the National University of Singapore.
The beautifully illustrated article highlights the many scientists and volunteers involved in the effort.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Workshop on Bryozoans and Hydroids: 29 April- 4 May, 2013

Learn more about Singapore's fascinating bryozoans and hydroids at this Workshop! Ordinary people can join as day participants. Registration closes 19 April.
The workshop is organized by the Tropical Marine Science Institute and will be held at St John’s Island Marine Laboratory, Tropical Marine Science Institute.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Seabed Surveys (January 2013)

Singapore's seabed is NOT dead and lifeless! Here's some of the amazing marine life found during the surveys of the bottom of our seas in January conducted by the Mega Marine Survey.
Photos by Rene Ong.
Thanks to Rene Ong, we get a glimpse of some of the animals found and the volunteers that make the survey possible.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Northern Expedition featured in The New Paper

The Northern Expedition is featured in The New Paper! Dr Tan Koh Siang of the Tropical Marine Science Institute and leader of the Expedition shared more about the finds made.
He said: "We are certainly excited about the specimens we have collected since quite a few are either new records for Singapore, or are 're-discovered' after many decades. "Some may eventually prove to be new science.

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