15 October 2012

The Northern Expedition begins!

The Northern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey starts today!
A rather large contingent of core participants depart from Punggol and head off for Outward Bound Singapore at Pulau Ubin, where the Expedition will be based.

Siong Kiat came from his home nearby on his bicycle! There's lots of other gear to bring along as well as most of the scientific crew are staying over at Pulau Ubin.
The visiting scientists have arrived at Pulau Ubin earlier. It was great to meet up with familiar faces like Prof Daphne Fautin who has been visiting Singapore regularly to hunt for our sea anemones. As well as many new friends. Dr Tan Koh Siang does a quick briefing before everyone heads out for their accommodations.
Then it's time for a lovely lunch!
Before the next briefing, we have a look at some of awesome creatures that we hope to find during the Expedition. Dr Daisuke Uyeno shows us some beautiful parasitic copepods that he studies. These are found on nudibranchs, fishes and lots more. Dr Helen Larsen aka the Goby Goddess, and Dr Arthur Ankar look on.
Arthur is the expert on shrimps and he shows me more icky orange parasites. Biodiversity is not just big creatures but also the very many small ones that live on the bigger ones. Then there are really tiny ones that live on the small ones!
Prof Peter Ng shows me the newly discovered and very prickly crab that he wants to give the species name 'ouch' but apparently this is not considered serious enough. It does look rather nasty to handle. Hopefully, we can find some rare crabs during the Expedition, and who knows, perhaps some new ones too!
Then it was time for a more thorough briefing and for everyone to introduce themselves. Lots of local experts have been mobilised to make this Expedition possible!
The core team from TMSI and NParks have been working very hard, for days earlier. To pack and transport all the equipment and supplies that will be needed. There's more work ahead to set up everything so that we can start working on our marine life!
Here's the snazzy photographic station, with important tools like toothbrushes. These will be used to carefully clean the specimens of dirt so that they can look their best when their portrait is taken. There will also be stations to extract tissues for preservation by the Cyropreservation team. While more stations will be set up to sort all our finds.
Details for the programme ahead for the next three weeks are up on the board, with maps of all the different places will be visiting.
This is exciting! Our first dredging work and field trips will start tomorrow. I can't wait!

More about the Mega Marine Survey and how ordinary people can join. While it's too late to join the Expedition, the Survey goes on year round and you can join us for these activities.

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