I learnt a lot of new things about mangroves from Rick! He's doing an important study of Mandai mangroves and I was thrilled to have a chance to 'help' out yesterday.
Rick Leong's intriguing study, with the Applied Plant Ecology Lab at NUS, involves getting readings of the ground elevation in Mandai mangroves. To do this, we haul some pretty impressive looking equipment into the mud. Rick shows me how we set up the first set of these super precise equipment.
Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii). This globally rare seagrass is seen in large areas of Kranji and Mandai and is possibly an important habitat for baby horseshoe crabs.
Limau lelang (Merope angulata). Although quite scrawny, it already had both flowers and the typical angular fruit. This Critically Endangered plant is quite common in Mandai!
This trip with Rick is one of my recent trips to mangroves. There's no low spring tides in September, so it's a good time to catch up on my favourite mangroves as these are still accessible at neap low tides. One of my favourites, are the beautiful mangroves at Kranji.
Kacang-kacang (Aegicera corniculatum) was fruiting!
Bakau mata buaya (Bruguiera hainesii) was producing lots of propagules. Alas, many of them had been chewed up by crabs! The tree seems fine.
Gedabu (Sonneratia ovata) with big fat fruits. This is another Critically Endangered mangrove tree. There are still many at Kranji and also at Mandai.
Dungun (Heritiera littoralis)! This Endangered tree has pretty pink flowers but trees bear either male or female flowers. So perhaps this is why I have not, until now, seen the 'winged' fruit. This is probably a young fruit, which when ripe is said to turn brown or purplish.
Striped-nose halfbeaks (Zenarchopterus buffonis) and long Needlefish (Family Belonidae) are swimming very hard and staying close to the banks of the stream, to avoid being washed away by the strong current.
Dog-faced watersnake (Cerberus rynchops)!