Discussion on "The Seacil Artificial Reef" hosted by the Nature Society (Singapore) on 27 Jul.
It was well attended by many nature volunteers, marine scientists and others who were as passionate about Singapore's marine biodiversity as Charles Rowe is.
I've compiled some of my shots of his presentation in this slideshow. These shots do not include Charles Rowe's efforts to apply Seacils to other locations such as in the Caspian Sea, to involve the deaf in his underwater work and some other applications of Seacils.
Ivan and November also live tweeted the presentation. (#seacil).
I'll just highlight a few points that caught my attention.
I first wondered about this project in Oct 2007 when I came across large debris on Labrador that looked very similar to the diagrams of the Seacil Project in an article in the Straits Times. At that time, I had a few questions about the Project. I tried very hard but failed to engage Singapore Polytechnic on the issues. So it's great to finally find out some answers to these questions!
Were the large debris found on Labrador (and still found as of 13 Jul 2011) part of the Seacil Project? Yes they were. Charles Rowe explained why they were there. Here's my slideshow of the debris we have been seeing since 2007, in this flickr set.
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii). For more about Singapore's seagrasses, and the difference between seagrass and seaweeds.
Artificial Reef Revitalises Marine Life, that for the Seacil project at Sentosa, the team "introduced anemones and clown fish". From the presentation, it seems they did indeed release anemonefishes at the site. All the anemonefishes released seem to be the same size. Recently, we learnt during Dr Daphne Fautin's Sea Anemone Lecture that anemonefish naturally settle into a host anemone as a tiny fish. The natural situation of anemonefishes in an anemone is for a graduating size difference in fishes. I'm not sure that releasing adult fishes of equal size into an anemone is well advised. More about Singapore's anemonefishes.
Here's my blog posts in Oct 2007 and Nov 2007 asking questions about the project, with links to other blogs and posts asking similar questions. He and I agreed that if we had held this discussion in 2007, things might have turned out differently.
I must applaud Charles Rowe for stepping up to give this presentation. And to Nature Society (Singapore) for hosting it. I have learnt much from this. Some of my personal takeaways include:
- It is important to involve scientists, ecologists, biologists in any effort that may impact a shore. This will allow for protocols and methods that will be based on the latest scientific knowledge, and generate sound data that will allow us to learn from the project's successes, and its failure too.
- An Environmental Impact Assessment should be done beforehand, to determine and hopefully avoid or minimise any 'collateral damage'. I feel this is particularly important for conservation projects.
- Open dialogue with all stakeholders is ideal to help ensure major concerns are addressed and dealt with early.
See also Ivan's very comprehensive post about the issue which includes all the tweets made during the presentation.