21 October 2012

Otters (again) and strange sea creatures at the Northern Expedition Day 6

A pair of otters were spotted today by Koh Kwan Siong right next to our sorting station at Outward Bound Singapore! Our third otter sighting in a week of the Northern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey.
Also, more strange sea anemones, a surprise jellyfish catch and other finds on the first weekend of the Expedition.

Today is Saturday so we had lots of volunteers to help with sorting. Taitti, newly converted Bivalve Supporter is hard at work sorting out the tiny creatures that are found among the tiny bivalves that were dredged up. Yes, we are STILL sorting them out a day later.
Here's some of the tiny creatures that are found in the countless little bivalves.
The bulk of the tiny bivalves will be returned to the sea bed as we only need a few for record. Goodbye eye-straining little ones!
After all that bivalve sorting, some of the volunteers ask Rene Ong to show us what the sorted creatures look like under the microscope. Oh, is that an anemone? Prof Daphne Fautin steps up quickly to have a closer look. Alas, it wasn't one.
Here's a closer look at those intriguing tusk shells.
Rene also shows us a close up of tiny eggs with baby squid inside them. Wow!
Another team decides it's much more fun to sort through algae.
Heng Pei Yan is sick and tired of sorting tiny clams after doing it non-stop the day before. So today, she is sorting worms through a microscope.
Here's some of the amazing worms she sorted out.
Besides sorting, we also need to carefully break apart old dead corals to get at crabs and other critters that live inside.
Other volunteers help with pressing plants and seaweeds which have to be nicely arranged first.
Dr Daphne shows me this special sea anemone that has been dredged up. It makes a kind of 'shell' out of chitin, the same substance that insect exoskeleton is made of. It seems, a kind of crab holds the 'shell' on top of itself.
Another special anemone that Prof Daphne found is this mangrove anemone with tiny spots. It is possibly something entirely new to science.
As the afternoon crew arrives, we spot a jellyfish just off the pontoon. Nicholas Yap rushes in to catch it, with support from Marcus Ng.
Here's a closer look at the large jellyfish. When Rene was photographing it, she spotted a tiny fish living in the jellyfish!
The low tide is late this evening, and some of us can't wait to start surveying. So we simply survey the shores at OBS.
After an early dinner, we head out for our field trips, waving goodbye to the team who are surveying the shores near OBS. One team headed out to survey Changi Creek and another Pasir Ris.
It was dark by the time we started work at Changi Creek, with the fish folks seine netting the stream.
It started to rain, the mossies were quite fierce and the mud super soft. But the team soldiered on.
My most astonishing find today was a nudibranch at Changi Creek!
Next week, there will be exciting talks by the experts in the evening. I'm certainly looking forward to it!
Click on image for larger view
Tomorrow, another full day at the Expedition!

Posts by others of Day 6

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