18 June 2011

Muddy anemone madness in the mangroves!

Dr Daphne leads the Sea Anemone Workshop on another field trip. This time to the mangroves of Lim Chu Kang! After a thundery and wet start, the skies cleared for a lovely pale sunrise.
Do our mangroves have sea anemones? "We don't know!" Dr Daphne says. And that's what we're here to find out!

We spread out on the mudflats to find as many kinds of sea anemones as we can.
In no time at all, Dr Daphne and the Workshop find lots of anemones! The very VERY soft silty mud didn't deter everyone from learning more about them from Dr Daphne.
There are lots of these large anemones that we first saw during the Mega Marine Survey. Dr Daphne says they are NOT Bob the Blob. Since we need a new 'nickname', David suggests Bill. This anemone has bumps on the body column. Bill the Bumpy anemone seems like a good field name. Easy to remember when we haven't had enough coffee. And easy to yell out, as in "Here's BILL!"
Another Bill with its tentacles out. It sure looks like Bob the Blob if we don't see its body column. This is why it's important to take a closer look at sea anemones in order to properly sort out their identification.
There are also lots of these tiny anemones which are mostly stuck to living snails buried in the silt.
We soon reach the stream that runs through the end of the mangrove. We had a quick look for anemones here before heading out for the old jetty.
The legs of the jetty are thick with 'stockings' of encrusting organisms. Among them, are lots of tiny sea anemones!
There are bazillions of these tiny sea anemone with pretty stripes. These are Diadumene lineata, which Dr Daphne explains is among the world's most common sea anemones. On our Northern shores, they commonly settle on hard surfaces among barnacles shells.
But if we look carefully among them, we find OTHER tiny sea anemones. Dr Daphne has been puzzling over these ones with spots since she last saw them at Sungei Buloh.
I saw another kind with spots that have kind of joined together to form thick lines. I also saw some without any spots or lines. Dr Daphne will have to take a closer look at them to find out what they are! They might be new to Singapore or even new to science!
Soon it was time to go home. We have a quick wash up at the mangrove stream to get most of the mud off. Fortunately, Nicholas has brought lots of freshwater for a more thorough wash up at the roadside.
But just before we left the mangroves, Dr Daphne stops at a large stream and found the mangrove anemone with a 'flowery mouth'!
And nearby, I saw the branch tentacled anemone that I also saw at Kranji earlier this week.
Wow! We sure managed to see quite a few anemones on our short trip! Who knows what more we might find with a more thorough study.

Our mudflats are poorly studied and are the focus of the Mega Marine Survey. More about the Mega Marine Survey, and the online registration form to join.

Dr Daphne also shared that the very long sea anemone that we saw yesterday at Sisters island is Actinoporus elongatus! It seems similar to the one that 'got away' at Cyrene. Here's a photo of another similar anemone I took at Cyrene last year.
Unidentified sea anemone
I didn't join the Workshop today as they returned to St John's Island to continue their studies of our anemones with Dr Daphne. I'll rejoin them tomorrow, after I sneak out in the morning for our first trip to Terumbu Selegie, a submerged reef near Sisters Island.

See also James' blog post with more about Bumpy Bill the anemone and the workshop.

Do try to catch Dr Daphne's "Sea Anemone Lecture"on 21 Jun (Tue) 7pm. It's free and all are welcome to attend. She will speak on "Hidden treasures of biodiversity: flowers of the marine world (sea anemones)"

The Sea Anemone Workshop is jointly organised by the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and the Tropical Marine Science Institute in conjunction with the National Parks Board, National Biodiversity Centre and their Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey of Singapore.



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