Sunday, June 2, 2013

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!

The other horrible thing that turned up in the day dive is the Hollow-cheek stonefish (Synanceia horrida). Prof Peter shows (off) how to hold a stonefish by the cheeks. Don't try this yourself!
Marcus Ng is sharing his wonderful photos of critters taken at the Expedition yesterday, including this really cute shrimp found on feather stars. We learn from Dr Sammy that this is a first record for Singapore. Check out Marcus' photos on his flickr or on the Mega Marine Survey flickr group.
Photo by Marcus Ng.
Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers has been diligently photographing and tweeting about the dive. Here she is taking a photo of a porcelain crab hiding in a special sea fan.
During the weekend, we get a strong turnout of volunteers! This is much needed as the day dive returns with lots of coral rubble to check through. They are so efficient that there is soon nothing to do. Because the dredge was cancelled today.
We didn't have to go very far to find more work. There's all kinds of marine life growing along the pontoons in the middle of the lagoon of Base Camp. The volunteers help to take samples of seaweeds off the pontoon. The pontoon is rather wobbly in the choppy water so it's a job for people who don't get seasick. And it helps to have long arms! Johnson Ong shared this and other photos of the volunteers having fun while they work hard.
Photo by Johnson Ong
Then it was time to sort through what we collected. It was quite fun!
I only found a few of the special sap-sucking slugs among the seaweeds. They look just like bits of seaweed! This is among the animals that were new records for Singapore during the Northern Expedition.
We also found tiny crabs, tiny worms, tiny 'pods' of all kinds, brittle stars and even bivalves. Also, a pot of ascidians and bryozoans.
Today several experts have left the Expedition: Dr Shane Ahyong, Dr Neil Bruce and Dr Fujita. It the beginning of the end! I try to capture more of the spirit and happenings at the Expedition before it's too late. At Base Camp we take mozzie wipeout seriously. As this notice reminds with graphic diagrams of what can happen if we fail to take every precaution.
It's tough to take a photo with one hand in a glove, but not impossible.
The Team before they leave for the day dive. One of the many tweets by Pei Yan all day.
Just before the night dive survey. What can we find?
Photo by Debby Ng

It's late at night and Jiaxin is still working hard, here taking photos of the stonefish.
As I arrived this morning, I bumped into Dr Kevin Tilbrook leaving to give his public talk, armed with lots of beautiful specimens of bryozoans of all kinds.
Later in the day, Dr Kevin returns bearing gifts! I heard he gave a great talk which was well attended. Andy Dinesh filmed the talk and will soon post it online so everyone who missed it can catch up with what happened.
Chay Hoon has a special birthday present for Prof Daphne. Handmade sea anemone earrings!
Here's a closer look at the earrings. They are anatomically correct representatives of the Pink-spotted bead anemone that Prof Daphne named after her husband!
Tomorrow, everyone at the Expedition gets a day off. So there won't be any blog posts!

But I will resume live updates on twitter as well as to facebook and the Mega Marine Survey facebook page on Monday. So also check out tweets by participants using the hashtag for the Survey  #MegaMarine. These are consolidated on the Mega Marine Survey blog.

Volunteer sign up for the Southern Expedition are already closed due to limited places and early logistical arrangements needed for participation.

But no worries, you CAN still join the Survey! Lots of surveys will continue after the Expedition, just at a less frenzied rate. There will be lots of other opportunities for volunteers to participate in dredging, field surveys as well as laboratory sessions. To join the Mega Marine Survey, register your interest in this formand you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities. Also check out the FAQs for more about the Survey.

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