21 October 2012

Surprises in sea anemones and wood at the Northern Expedition Day 7

Some sea anemones started to 'give birth' to tiny baby sea anemones! Prof Daphne Fautin hurried over to the Sorting Station to tell the volunteers to see this special event for themselves.
We also came across surprises in dead wood, on a quiet but productive Sunday morning at the Northern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey.

Prof Daphne explains that a few kinds of sea anemones brood their young within the body cavity. These tiny baby anemones float about and may even end up in the hollow tentacles. Among these special sea anemone are these Banded bead anemones (Anthopleura handi) which are common on our shores. Some of those we collected last night started to expel tiny baby anemones through the mouth. Some babies were so small they didn't even have fully developed tentacles yet. Some other species of sea anemones that brood their young may even expel their babies through holes at the tips of their tentacles! We learn and see so much when Prof Daphne is around.

We were supposed to have 16 volunteers today, but only two turned up. Here's Chay Hoon getting Daniel and San San settled into the Expedition.
It's early Sunday morning and the volunteers are already hard at work sorting.
Daniel and San San tackle the tricky job of sorting through dead wood. They find all kinds of interesting critters in even a small piece of dead wood. From worms, crabs, brittle stars to sponges and more.
The most amazing find in the piece of wood was a fish! It was still alive!
My first job was sorting through worms. Yen-Ling prepares for me some magic 'Special Worm Juice' that will relax the worms so they are easier to separate and pick out.
Bee Yan our mangrove crab expert is at the Sorting Station helping to deal with all kinds of interesting crabs that she and the field trip caught the night before.
Here's some of the amazing crabs which are being iced in preparation for photography and preservation. Our mangrove crabs are so colourful.
Yen Ling and Andy are busy at the Preservation Station. With lots and lots of containers and chemicals.
Pei Yan is still hard at work sorting worms through the microscope.
I also had a try at sorting worms through the microscope. They are very small!
Many of us who go home every day bring along coffee and snacks when we come into Base Camp for those who stayed overnight and worked hard all night. As a result, there is now a mini-canteen at the Sorting Station which is threatening to swamp the database desk.
It started to rain very heavily just before lunch. Yen-Ling quickly covers all the sensitive equipment at the outdoor Sorting Station.
As we were leaving, we saw this humungous thing moving westward, possibly towards either Pasir Gudang Port in Johor or Sembawang Shipyards in Singapore. Dr. Bertrand Richer de Forges told me its used for dredging. Wow.
Evening field trips have been cancelled today so I got a chance for a much needed break. Tomorrow, another week of fascinating activities continue.

Both Pei Yan and I started to seriously tweet #MegaMarine since Ivan has left for an overseas trip. Thankfully, Ivan is also retweeting our efforts. Also thanks for others who posted about the many other activities that happened over the weekend.

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