28 October 2012

Stonefish and Owl at the Northern Expedition Day 14

The Northern Expedition takes us to very edges of Singapore! Today I join the team heading for Lim Chu Kang mangroves, which lies abruptly at the end of Lim Chu Kang Road.
Another team returned to Mandai mangroves, while the fishing folks are tackling Changi, and lots more happenings in the field and at Base Camp of the Mega Marine Survey.

Today was another quiet Sunday at the Expedition as we arrive with the daily consignment of ice to keep our specimens cool until they are preserved.
I hurry over to find out about the latest discoveries. Prof Daphne highlights how one of the 'spotty' sea anemones seems to have branched tentacles!
Rene shows us this feature on her microscope set up.
Very few volunteers have turned up for the day but we have fun sorting through some seagrasses I picked up the day before from Pasir Ris.
There's a lot of sediment to literally plough through. We find lots of worms also hermit crabs, strange bivalves and even a crab.
I finally get a chance to take a closer look at the fluffy stuff on seagrass blades on the Sorting Station microscope. Among the blobsare eggs!
Meanwhile, Pei Yan is busy at the Preservation Station.
After lunch, we head out for the mangroves. At Lim Chu Kang, almost immediately, Dr Daphne finds the 'spotty' anemones!
It's a hot hot day, but I had a great time sliding around in the soft cool mud away from the shady mangrove trees.
On the soft soft mud, I notice that many of the tiny Red berry snails hitchhike on one another. Despite the extra load, these tiny snails move around quite rapidly.
I also came across this handsome looking onch slug.
There were lots and lots of these onch slugs on the soft silty banks of the little stream.
They seem to crawl out of holes in the mud.
In the back mangroves I came across more Mangrove leaf slugs. It's hard to take a good photo with a camera covered in mud and wobbling in soft mud.
Here's a better photo of this slug collected by Marcus Ng yesterday from Mandai mangroves, taken by the professionals at the Expedition Photo Station.
Photo by Rene Ong on facebook
Today seems a birdy day in the mangroves. While crawling about the mud, I saw a raptor and strange large bird that doesn't look like a heron. I'm not very good with shorebirds.
When we gathered together at the end of the trip, Kwan Siong showed us his photo of a Buffy fish owl that he saw in the mangroves. Wow!
Meanwhile, there have been updates online about happenings elsewhere during the Expedition. Oh dear, yesterday, the propeller of our little boat was snagged by a rope and the team on this trip had to paddle back to shore.
Photo by Rene Ong on facebook.
It took many hands to untangle the rope from the propellor.
Photo by Thanh Son Nguyen on facebook.
There have also been other fascinating finds. Like this fish which was seen with this jellyfish. Amazing!
Photo by Thanh Son Nguyen on facebook.
Wah, a stonefish was found by the fisherman who is setting traps to help us collect samples. Eek.
Photo by Rene Ong on facebook.
Meanwhile, Dr Arthur has uploaded stunning photos of some of our finds. Like this crab that carries a sea anemone. The sea anemone creates the hard platform which the crab holds on to. We found several of these during dredge surveys during the Northern Expedition.
Photo by Arthur Anker on facebook.
Dr Prosanta Chakrabarty ‏@LSU_FISH recently tweeted this photo and comment: "We have representatives of over 200 fish species from Singapore now". Hurray!
Heng Pei Yan ‏@momo_peiyan who started tweeting just to post about the Expedition, also started joining us for field trips. Here's her photo of the trip to Nordin Beach. Keep up with all our tweets #MegaMarine.
I love this happy group photo of the main team during the Minister's visit. It reminds me the Expedition is too rapidly coming to a close! 
Photo by Thanh Son Nguyen on facebook.
We must make the best of the remaining days of the Expedition!

Today, TeamSeagrass is also monitoring at Chek Jawa. Sadly, I had to miss it, and thankfully Wei Ling and Nor Aishah have stepped up to lead this trip. They had a good trip and I'll post about it soon.

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