Dr Dan Rittschof and students from Duke University are back for their annual trip to Singapore!
Duke University comes every year to do a module studying various aspects of environmental issues in Singapore. Dr Dan has been a strong advocate of Chek Jawa and is involved in among (many) others, projects such as Kok Sheng's study of Chek Jawa after the mass deaths in 2007. During the 2007 incident, there were mass deaths particularly among sea cucumbers, sea anemones and sea stars.
This is also my first intertidal visit to Chek Jawa after the heavy rainfall in late Jan 2011. Has marine life on Chek Jawa been affected by the flooding in Johor?
The tide wasn't very low today, but we still managed to explore a little of Chek Jawa.
purple branching sponge (Callyspongia sp.) that was washed ashore, with lots of cephalopod egg capsules among the branches. Here's Dr Dan taking a closer look at it.
Coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas) and Dr Dan shows us the special claspers that the male has (in blue circle) that is used to cling onto the back of the female.
Mud crab (Scylla sp.) and we seem to be stumble upon these large crabs on Chek Jawa recently. These crabs are usually found in mangroves, so it was odd to see this in the middle of the seagrass meadows. These crabs are commonly eaten as chilli crab. They are also released in religious ceremonies, sadly sometimes in inappropriate places. Such "animal liberation", meant to demonstrate kindness, can ironically be cruel to the animals.
Hairy sea hare (Bursatella leachii) is also found. Strangely, this was the only one seen. Usually, these sea hares are seen in large numbers when they are in 'season'. Among the other special sightings was a pretty little Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis). Unfortunately, we didn't manage to find any large patches of living Button snails (Umbonium vestiarum).
Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis), Ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.), Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps), Garlic bread sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) and Smooth sea cucumbers. We also saw many many Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta).
Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera)! And several Sand stars (Astropecten sp.).
Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) and they were unbleached. We also saw many happy peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia).
Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) near the boardwalk! There used to be countless Common sea stars on Chek Jawa. They practically disappeared after the mass deaths in 2007. So it's good to see them again.
Chek Jawa is home to some seagrasses rarely seen on our other shores. There were small patches of bright green Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) and the meadow of Smooth Ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) seemed fine.
seen dugong feeding trails in 2007!
about dugongs in Singapore and dugong sightings.